We are determined to keep our apprentices engaged with their learning and keep funding flowing for as long as possible so we can continue to support all apprentices, their employers and our academy partners and fully prepare everyone for when lockdown ends and we can start to return to normal. Here is a review of the arrangements we have put in place so far.
In line with schools and colleges, apprenticeship training providers were directed to stop learners attending training classes from close of business on Friday 20 March. Hair salons and barber shops and many other shops and businesses were closed from the following Monday. However, the UK government introduced the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, and this applies to all employees including apprentices. Therefore, even though apprentices are working or attending their academy, (and provided their employer keeps them in employment), we are encouraged by the government to continue to deliver teaching and learning to our ESFA funded apprentices via on-line systems.
All our Cheynes Training academies and those of our academy partners are set up for delivering online training. We are confident we can continue to do this for the next three months so, provided learners remain employed under the furlough system, we are optimistic that up to four hours of online training can be delivered which allows funding to be drawn down at close to normal levels.
We have asked our Regional Training Advisors to continue their monitoring activities in order to meet the minimum requirements for gathering evidence to show compliance with ESFA funding rules. This means completing progress reviews via telephone and completing internal qualification assurance in order to sign-off learners. This will considerably reduce their workload, which we are very conscious of.
The Cheynes Training head office team have now moved to home-based working. All IT systems that drive our workload are cloud-based so the team can do much of their work as normal but from home rather than the office. We are holding regular on-line team meetings and we keep in touch by ‘phone, text, email and through our Huddle online portal.
All of our procedures have been finalised in the knowledge that the situation may change, depending on government policy. To date, we have received very little guidance from ESFA (Education and Skills Funding Agency) or from the UK government (other than being told to stop delivering direct training). We are monitoring all relevant government websites and we are in constant touch with our advisors to ensure we keep up-to-speed with the changes taking place.
We will continually monitor the level of funding we are receiving and the cost of achieving this funding; should the situation change, and costs start to overtake funding, we may be forced to review our operations. However, we do not expect this to be the case and we will do whatever is needed to keep everyone informed.
For questions about training and coronavirus, please email firstname.lastname@example.org