As part of HIT Training’s commitment to all our employer partners, we’ve developed our training programmes to continue to support learners, whilst remaining compliant with statutory requirements. We’re fully equipped to continue delivering high-quality, interactive training to our apprentices on a one-to-one basis online - giving you one less thing to worry about during these difficult times.
Starting and continuing an apprenticeship
Rest assured, there’s nothing preventing your new and existing apprentices from advancing with their apprenticeship - even if you’ve had to furlough your staff.
New apprentices are able to begin their training with us, even if they’ve been furloughed. At HIT Training, we have an online application process to make sign-ups easy and contact-free. Please get in touch with your Relationship Manager or local team if you’d like more information about signing up a new apprentice.
Current apprentices who’ve been furloughed can continue working towards their apprenticeship, as long as they continue to hold a contract of employment, apprenticeship agreement, and commitment statement. There is no need to apply for a break in learning. We’ll work with you to evaluate each apprentice’s position to make sure they’re in a position to continue with their studies.
If you would like more information about furloughing an apprentice, please read the Government’s guidance, here: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme.
National Minimum Wage
If furloughed apprentices are being paid 80% of their normal pay as part of the Government’s Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, employers must ensure they receive at least the apprenticeship minimum wage (where applicable) for time they spend studying for their apprenticeship. The current rate is £3.90 per hour, increasing to £4.15 per hour from 6th April 2020. This may mean you need to top up your apprentices’ wages.
Apprentices who are under the age of 19, or who are in the first year of their apprenticeship, are subject to a different minimum wage to other staff. The table below is taken from the government website and shows the current minimum wage rates:
The ESFA have informed HIT that the requirement to pay the minimum wage for apprentices who are continuing their apprenticeship studies whilst furloughed only applies to those hours when the apprentice is working on their apprenticeship.
Let's look at some examples:
Mary is 30 years old and in the first year of her Team Leader apprenticeship. Her normal pay is £8.72 per hour, so her effective furloughed rate is £6.98. As her furloughed pay rate is already above the minimum wage for an apprentice in the first year of an apprenticeship there is no requirement to top up her salary for her study hours.
Will is 18 and working towards a Commis Chef apprenticeship. Will's normal pay is £6.45 per hour, so his effective furloughed rate is £5.16. As his furloughed pay rate is already above the minimum wage for an apprentice aged eighteen there is no requirement to top up her salary for her study hours.
Fran is 21 and in the first year of her Hospitality Team Member apprenticeship. Her normal pay is £4.15 per hour, so her effective furloughed rate is £3.32. As her furloughed pay rate is less than the minimum wage for an apprentice in the first year of an apprenticeship her salary should be topped up to £4.15 for her study hours. In this instance you (the employer) should agree the number of hours a week that Fran will work on her apprenticeship whilst furloughed and pay an additional 83p per hour for those hours.
Delivering your apprenticeship training
Our Training Consultants are working hard to continue offering your apprentices the same high quality, one-to-one support they’re used to. We’ve developed a suite of interactive, online workshops which are available across all of our apprenticeship programmes - including workshops from our award-winning Chef, Hospitality, and Management Academies.
Apprenticeship programmes can continue outside of the workplace by encouraging apprentices to engage with remote learning opportunities relevant to their apprenticeship. This will help apprentices progress towards completion. At HIT Training, we have a comprehensive range of high quality, remote, learning resources which is tailored to each apprentice to support them throughout their entire apprenticeship. Where the apprentice needs specific support we will continue to focus this, for example improving their Functional Skills knowledge.
Any apprentices who have been furloughed can continue their off-the-job training. The time an apprentice spends participating in off-the-job training must be recorded for any apprenticeship who started their apprenticeship after 1 August 2019. HIT Training gathers this information directly from your apprentice via our online E-Track system.
The minimum duration of an apprenticeship must still be followed during this unprecedented time. We’ll continue to work towards our apprentices’ planned end date of their programme or its components, such as maths and English, but there is the flexibility to exceed these planned end dates if necessary.
Additional learning support
The Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) rules for learning support remain unchanged. Where an apprentice has a need for additional learning support, and where this can be delivered remotely, it can and should continue. HIT Training will continue to evidence and provide extra assistance to all of our learners who need additional learning support.
The ESFA Funding Rules allow for any apprentices who have been made redundant to continue with their apprenticeship programme without being employed under a new apprenticeship agreement. The level of ESFA funding will depend on how far into the apprenticeship an apprentice has reached.
If an apprentice is made redundant within six months of the final day of the practical period stated in their apprenticeship agreement, HIT Training will continue delivering their apprenticeship training as long as the remaining elements and end-point assessment can be successfully delivered. The ESFA will fund 100% of the remaining costs of the price negotiated up to the maximum funding band.
Apprentices who are made redundant with more than six months before their final day may also continue their apprenticeship training with HIT Training. In this situation, we’ll continue to deliver their training for up to 12 weeks, while the apprentice finds a new employer.
As part of our package of support, HIT Training helps all apprentices who are made redundant to search for a new employer.
Breaks in learning
The ‘break in learning’ rules from the ESFA are largely unchanged. This rule allows an apprentice to pause their apprenticeship and return to it at a later date, rather than having to permanently leave their programme.
The need to report a break in learning only applies to apprentices that can’t continue their programme for a period of more than four weeks. A break in learning may be the best course of action if gateway and/or end-point-assessment are delayed due to current Coronavirus measures. To simplify this process, breaks can now be initiated by HIT Training or the apprentice’s employer, where previously only the apprentice could trigger a break in learning.
For breaks in learning that were initiated during March 2020, employers cannot pause or stop payment to their training provider if training had been delivered (wholly or partly) in March. If a break in learning is initiated after 1st April 2020, employers should pause, not stop, the apprenticeship via the Apprenticeship Service. This ensures the apprenticeship can be resumed in future.
Reserving apprenticeship funding
Employers who do not pay the apprenticeship levy (companies with a payroll of less than £3m) remain able to reserve their apprenticeship funding via the Apprenticeship Service. This allows employers to reserve funding for an apprenticeship in advance of recruitment or an offer of an apprenticeship being made to an existing employee. You will still be required to turn this commitment into a reservation once you’ve confirmed your training provider and apprentice.