To ask Her Majesty's Government what estimate they have made of the number of apprentices who have been unable to complete their courses as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic; and what support they plan to provide to such apprentices in response.
29 April 2021
We are committed to supporting apprentices to safely continue with, and complete, their programmes during the COVID-19 outbreak. Provisional figures show that from August 2020 to January 2021, 59,400 apprentices achieved their apprenticeship (frameworks and standards).
We do not hold data on the number of apprentices who have been unable to complete their programme due to the impact of COVID-19. Our data collection system does not capture COVID-19 as a reason for a break in learning or withdrawal, and in many cases there will be a range of reasons for apprentices not completing their apprenticeship.
Since 8 March 2021, all apprentices have been able to return to on-site training and assessment.
In recognition of the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak, we introduced a number of flexibilities in March 2020 to ensure that apprenticeships could continue where possible. This included flexibilities to off-the-job training to support remote learning, supporting remote assessment where practicable, and making it possible for furloughed apprentices to continue their apprenticeships and undertake end-point assessments. All assessment flexibilities and discretions put in place due to COVID-19 are extended until at least 31 August 2021. For apprentices who have experienced disruption to their training due to COVID-19 employers can extend the planned duration of the apprenticeship to accommodate this.
We are also supporting apprentices who have been made redundant through our Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices, which includes a vacancy sharing scheme to help redundant apprentices find new apprenticeship opportunities with employers. In addition, we have amended legislation to enable more apprentices to complete their apprenticeship in the event of redundancy.
We continue to work closely with the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, Ofqual and other organisations to mitigate the disruption to assessment, training and employment as a result of COVID-19.