Coronavirus (COVID-19): guidance for apprentices

Guidance and temporary measures for apprentices and higher level apprentices, in response to the impact of the coronavirus (COVID-19).

Advice for apprentices

As an apprentice, you may be concerned about how the coronavirus pandemic impacts on your health and future career. 

To protect everyone, all face-to-face education and training has been suspended.

The Department for the Economy (DfE) is working closely with training contractors to develop the support measures needed for apprenticeships to continue.

Your training contractor will advice you how you can continue your learning. If you need to contact them, you can find them at:

If you have an urgent query and are unable to contact your training contractor, email Apprenticeships@economy-ni.gov.uk.

Qualifications and Examinations

DfE have commissioned CCEA Regulation to work closely with the awarding organisations and other regulators to make sure, where possible, that learners taking vocational qualifications are not disadvantaged by the suspension of scheduled exams/ assessments.

Continued learning

As a result of the coronavirus (COVID-19) crisis, all face-to-face apprenticeship training has been suspended.

In the meantime, your training contractor/ Further Education college/ university will, where possible, continue training in a different way, including facilitation of online learning, learning portfolio building work and rescheduling planned assessment activity for a later date.

If you have been furloughed, under the terms of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, you can still continue your training.

However, any continuation of ApprenticeshipsNI and Higher Level Apprenticeship directed training during the furlough period, must be with the agreement of your training contractor/ Further Education college/ university and employer, taking into consideration HMRC advice on pay.

Normal apprenticeship training will be reinstated in line with government guidelines.

Interruption to employment

Furloughed apprentices

You may, as an apprentice, have been furloughed under the terms of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This scheme aims to keep you on the payroll and avoid redundancy and laying off without pay.

If your employer asks you to go on furlough and you refuse you may be at risk of redundancy or termination of employment, depending on the circumstances of your employer. However, this must be in line with normal redundancy rules and protections.

Support for apprentices made redundant

If you were made redundant, or stopped working on or after 28 February 2020, you can be re-employed and put on furlough (temporary leave of absence). You should discuss this option with your employer.

If you are made redundant your training contractor must remove you from the apprenticeship programme. You can be rejoined at the earliest possible opportunity.

Advice and support if you have been made redundant is available:

If you’re aged 16-17 and are an apprentice who has been made redundant, you may be able to continue the knowledge-based qualification with your training contractor as part of the Training for Success Programme (TFS). This should be discussed with your training contractor.

Looking for another job

Support is available to apprentices who are made redundant, including help to source another employer to continue your apprenticeship or alternative employment within a different sector/ career path.

The Careers Service can help you in match your skills and experience to those opportunities currently in demand.

You can get information on job vacancies from your local Jobs and Benefits office throughout Northern Ireland and JobCentre Online.

Rejoining the apprenticeship programme

If you were already on the programme and left as a result of coronavirus (COVID-19) redundancy, you can rejoin to complete the rest of your apprenticeship once an employer has committed to your apprenticeship.

You and your employer must speak to a training contractor to arrange your rejoin and your ‘off-the-job’ training. Further information is available at:

Financial support and benefits

If you are made redundant, you may be eligible for financial support during the COVID-19 outbreak. Further information is available at:

Further help

Further help and guidance about the apprenticeship programme, contact DfE Apprenticeship Delivery and Performance Branch at:

Useful links

Share this page

What do you want to do?
What is your question about?
Do you want a reply?
Your email address
To reply to you, we need your email address
Your feedback

We will not reply to your feedback.  Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

This feedback form is for issues with the nidirect website only.

You can use it to report a problem or suggest an improvement to a webpage.

If you have a question about a government service or policy, you should contact the relevant government organisation directly as we don’t have access to information about you held by government departments.

You must be aged 13 years or older - if you’re younger, ask someone with parental responsibility to send the feedback for you.

The nidirect privacy notice applies to any information you send on this feedback form.

Don't include any personal or financial information, for example National Insurance, credit card numbers, or phone numbers.

Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.
Plain text only, 750 characters maximum.

What to do next

Comments or queries about angling can be emailed to anglingcorrespondence@daera-ni.gov.uk 

What to do next

If you have a comment or query about benefits, you will need to contact the government department or agency which handles that benefit.  Contacts for common benefits are listed below.

Carer's Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912
Email 
dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Discretionary support / Short-term benefit advance

Call 0800 587 2750 
Email 
customerservice.unit@communities-ni.gov.uk

Disability Living Allowance

Call 0800 587 0912 
Email dcs.incomingpostteamdhc2@nissa.gsi.gov.uk

Employment and Support Allowance

Call 0800 587 1377

Jobseeker’s Allowance

Contact your local Jobs & Benefits office

Personal Independence Payment

Call 0800 587 0932

If your query is about another benefit, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

Comments or queries about the Blue Badge scheme can be emailed to bluebadges@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk or you can also call 0300 200 7818.

What to do next

For queries or advice about careers, contact the Careers Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Child Maintenance, contact the Child Maintenance Service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about claiming compensation due to a road problem, contact DFI Roads claim unit.

What to do next

For queries or advice about criminal record checks, email ani@accessni.gov.uk

What to do next

Application and payment queries can be emailed to ema_ni@slc.co.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about employment rights, contact the Labour Relations Agency.

What to do next

For queries or advice about birth, death, marriage and civil partnership certificates and research, contact the General Register Office Northern Ireland (GRONI) by email gro_nisra@finance-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries about:

If your query is about another topic, select ‘Other’ from the drop-down menu above.

What to do next

For queries or advice about passports, contact HM Passport Office.

What to do next

For queries or advice about Penalty Charge Notices (PCNs), including parking tickets and bus lane PCNs, email dcu@infrastructure-ni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about pensions, contact the Northern Ireland Pension Centre.

What to do next

If you wish to report a problem with a road or street you can do so online in this section.

If you wish to check on a problem or fault you have already reported, contact DfI Roads.

What to do next

For queries or advice about historical, social or cultural records relating to Northern Ireland, use the Public Record Office of Northern Ireland (PRONI) enquiry service.

What to do next

For queries or advice about rates, email LPSCustomerTeam@lpsni.gov.uk

What to do next

For queries or advice about  60+ and Senior Citizen SmartPasses (which can be used to get concessionary travel on public transport), contact Smartpass - Translink.