Updates on coronavirus (COVID-19): Get the latest information on the response to the outbreak, including guidance for individuals, training providers and employers.

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COVID-19 FAQs for Graduate Apprentices

We've pulled together some of the most common questions about the impact of COVID-19 on Graduate Apprenticeships.

General

How do I contact my careers adviser?

Although your local careers centre is currently closed in line with the government COVID-19 advice, you can still get careers advice.  


Careers advisers are available over the phone or online. If you want to speak to your school careers adviser, you can call your local centre and ask for them by name.  


Call your local careers centre or visit myworldofwork.co.uk

How do I find out if my apprenticeship is affected by the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic? 

We understand that many apprentices are feeling unsettled at the moment and you’ll be worried about not being able to attend work or training.   


We advise contacting your employer or learning provider (college, university or training centre). They’ll let you know of any changes to the delivery of your apprenticeship and academic study.   


They’ll also have information about any learning or work you can access online or remotely and how you can use this time to continue to progress through your apprenticeship.

Work

If I need to self-isolate, what will happen to my apprenticeship?

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone that does, then you can’t leave your home. This is called self-isolation. You should apply for an isolation note on the NHS website to give to your employer.


Apprenticeships are designed to be responsive to changes to your circumstances such as a period of illness. Please talk to your employer and learning provider about the best way to continue your apprenticeship.


Options might include e-learning, breaks in learning or rescheduling of planned assessment activity.


Discuss this with your employer and learning provider as soon as you can. The appropriate steps need to be agreed based on you, your employer and learning provider’s situation.

Someone in my household has COVID-19 symptoms. Can I still go to work?

No, you must self-isolate for 14 days if someone in your household has COVID-19 symptoms. You should notify your employer and learning provider as soon as possible. You’ll also need to apply for an isolation note on the NHS website to give to your employer.

I’m an apprentice and don’t feel comfortable going to work. What are my options?

We understand you might feel you don’t want to go into work during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The government has provided a list of businesses that must close during the COVID-19 pandemic. If your workplace is still open, the advice is that you can travel to your essential workplace if it’s not possible to work from home.


Speak to your employer about your concerns. They should take steps to protect everyone and where possible, allow you to work from home.


You might be able to take the time off as a holiday or unpaid leave, but this may not be approved by your employer.


If you refuse to attend work without a valid reason, it could result in disciplinary action.


If someone in your household is high-risk and you are still travelling to work, then you should follow the government guidance of living with someone who is classed as vulnerable or high-risk.

I’m an apprentice. My work is not classed as essential, but my employer still wants me to come to work. What are my options?

We understand you might feel they don’t want to go into work during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The government has provided a list of businesses that must close during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you’re workplace is still open, the advice is you can travel to your essential workplace if it’s not possible to work from home.


Speak to your employer about your concerns. They should take steps to protect everyone and when possible, allow you to work from home.


If someone in your household is high-risk and you are still travelling to work, then you should follow the government guidance of living with someone who is classed as vulnerable or high-risk.

Can my employer make me change my role to a business critical role and what happens if it’s not related to my apprenticeship?

Your employer may need you to undertake a business-critical role at this time.


It should hopefully be a short-term requirement after which, you can then carry on with your apprenticeship role.


Any work you do in the business-critical role might also provide learning and evidence towards your apprenticeship.


You should discuss the change of role with your provider.

Training

Can I continue my apprenticeship training while I am furloughed?

The latest guidance from HMRC confirms apprentices can be furloughed in the same way as other employees, and can continue to train whilst furloughed.


However, there are conditions relating to your circumstances and the national minimum wage 


Where training is undertaken by furloughed workers, at the request of their employer, workers are entitled to be paid at least the National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage for this time. In most cases, the furlough payment of 80% of a worker’s wage, up to the value of £2,500, will provide sufficient monies to cover these training hours.


However, where the furlough payment does not meet the appropriate minimum wage for the time spent training, employers will need to pay the additional wages. 


Additional information can be found on the UK Government website.

I need to take care of a family member during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Can I continue my apprenticeship academic study at home?

This may be possible depending on your apprenticeship and whether online learning is available from your university or college. Please contact your learning provider to discuss your options.


If someone in your household has COVID-19 then you need to stay home and self-isolate for 14 days. You will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay.


Make sure to tell your employer and learning provider as soon as possible if you can’t come to work. You should let them know the reason and how long you expect to be off for.

Qualification

I'm an Graduate Apprentice. Will I be able to complete my qualification?

If your university has amended their assessment strategy to accommodate any changes to learners working conditions, then you should be able to continue with your qualification in the short term.  


You should discuss this with your learning provider in the first instance and follow guidance provided by them. 

I’m not able to complete my apprenticeship because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Will I be able to complete it at a later date?

Depending on your apprenticeship and learning provider, you might be able to complete your learning in a different way such as online. This should be discussed with your employer and learning provider.  


If you can’t access your learning through different methods such as online, then you might be about to resume your learning once you’re back in the workplace.  

I need to take care of a family member during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak. Can I continue my apprenticeship academic study at home?

This may be possible depending on your apprenticeship and whether online learning is available from your university or college. Please contact your learning provider to discuss your options. 


If someone in your household has COVID-19 then you need to stay home and self-isolate for 14 days. You will be entitled to Statutory Sick Pay.


Make sure to tell your employer and learning provider as soon as possible if you can’t come to work. You should let them know the reason and how long you expect to be off for.

Pay

If I need to self-isolate, will I get paid?

You’ll receive Statutory Sick Pay if you need to self-isolate because:



  • You have COVID-19

  • You have symptoms such as a persistent cough and temperature

  • Someone in your household has COVID-19 symptoms

  • You or someone in your household has been told to self-isolate by a doctor or NHS 111


If you have symptoms, you must self-isolate for 7 days. If someone in your household has COVID-19 then you need to stay home and self-isolate for 14 days.


Make sure to tell your employer and learning provider as soon as possible if you can’t come to work. Apply for an isolation note on the NHS website to give to your employer. You should let them know the reason and how long you expect to be off for.


Some employers might offer more than Statutory Sick Pay and this detail will be in your contract.

My workplace or training is closed because of the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic. Will I still get paid?

An apprenticeship is a job with training. So even if you can’t go to university or college, but can travel to work, then you’ll be paid in line with the details of your employment contract.


When you’re unable to work, we suggest speaking to your employer about their policies on pay. The government is providing a support to employers to help them retain and pay wages of employees including apprentices during the coming months. This is the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme.


If your employer intends to access the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, they’ll discuss with you being classified as a furloughed worker. This would mean that you are kept on your employer’s payroll, rather than being laid off.


To qualify for this scheme, you should not undertake work for them while you are furloughed. This will allow your employer to claim a grant of up to 80% of your wage for all employment costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.


You’ll remain employed while furloughed. Your employer could choose to fund the difference between this payment and your salary, but they don’t have to.


Get your furlough agreement in writing. It should state the date when furlough starts, when it will be reviewed and how you’ll keep in contact with your employer.


If your salary is reduced as a result of these changes, you might be eligible for support through the welfare system, including Universal Credit.

My employer is asking me to take a period of unpaid leave. What happens to my apprenticeship during this time?

When you’re no longer able to work but have not been made redundant, you can take a break from your apprenticeship and resume when you return to work. Please let your learning provider know.


Once you’re back at work, you can resume your apprenticeship and your learning provider can help too.


If you were put on unpaid leave on or after 28 February 2020, you're eligible to be ‘furloughed’ as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. This would mean that you are kept on your employer’s payroll, rather than being laid off. It’s up to your employer whether they choose to use the scheme or not.


To qualify, you should not undertake work for them while you are furloughed. This will allow your employer to claim a grant of up to 80% of your wage for all employment costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per month.


You’ll remain employed while furloughed. Your employer could choose to fund the differences between this payment and your salary, but they don’t have to.


Get your furlough agreement in writing. It should state the date when furlough starts, when it will be reviewed and how you’ll keep in contact with your employer.


If your salary is reduced as a result of these changes, you might be eligible for support through the welfare system, including Universal Credit.


The ACAS website also has useful information on your right as an employee.

Support

I’m an apprentice and have been made redundant. What do I do?

If you’ve been made redundant due to the COVID-19 pandemic, we’re here to help. We understand this is an unsettling time for many and we want to support you where we can.


For more information, support and guidance, you should contact the Scottish Government’s Partnership for Continuing Employer (PACE) service. It’s well-established to support individuals facing redundancy. Visit the PACE website or call 0800 817 8000 for more information.


You should also contact your learning provider who can support you in finding another employer.

I am feeling stressed or anxious, where can I find support?

For resources and advice on looking after your mental well-being, please see Well-being Support.


You may also be experiencing personal issues such as bereavement, addiction or domestic abuse.  You can find information on a wide range of topics, including the support available to you if you have been affected by any of the issues, at BBC Action Line.

Where can I find out whether I qualify for school or childcare for my child as a ‘key worker’?

The Scottish Government is offering clear guidance to employers on what staff are considered key workers. 

I need to spend more time caring for my children or family members during lockdown, where can I find support?

Many working parents are trying to juggle work and childcare, advice on how to manage this situation can be found at Flexibility Works


Balancing work and childcare can be demanding and exhausting, so it’s important that you look after your well-being during this time.  For information and resources to help, please see Well-being Support.  If you are struggling, it’s best to speak to your employer as soon as possible to see if you can find a suitable compromise which works for you both.


Information on time off to look after dependants can be found on the ACAS website. 


Advice for unpaid carers, including information on funding and support available to you, can be found on the Scottish Government website.

I think I have been discriminated against by my employer, what can I do?

Information on your rights at work, including discrimination, can be found on My World of Work.

Vacancies

Can I still apply for vacancies on apprenticeships.scot during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes, you can still apply for any vacancies that are available on our site. Some employers are still recruiting and uploading jobs to apprenticeships.scot.  


HR professionals and recruitment advisers will more than likely be working from home following the government’s COVID-19 guidance. So, your vacancy application may take longer than usual to process.  


Due to the government’s advice on staying at home and physical distancing, you will likely be required to interview for the apprenticeship over the phone or a video call. Please get in touch with the employer you're interested in working with. Keep in mind it might take them a while to reply under the current circumstances. 

I applied for an apprenticeship vacancy before or during the COVID-19 pandemic. What do I do now?

HR professionals and recruitment advisers will more than likely be working from home following the government’s COVID-19 guidance. So, your vacancy application may take longer than usual to process.


The employer has your details from your application, so they’ll still be able to contact you through phone, text or email.


If a considerable amount of time has passed since the closing date and you have not heard from the employer, there’s nothing wrong with sending a polite enquiry. But please allow a longer time for replies from the employer you contact.

I have an interview for an apprenticeship. Will it still go ahead?

If you’ve reached the interview stage, it’s very likely there will a change to normal procedure. As the government has advised us all to practice physical distancing, then some employers may have plans in place for online interviews and recruitment. Please get in touch with the employer you’re scheduled to interview with for more information.


If the employer is still scheduling face-to-face interviews, you shouldn't be afraid to request a video interview to make sure you follow the government's stay at home advice. You should give the employer plenty of notice around this request and make sure you have the necessary equipment for the video call. Please keep in mind the employer does not have to grant your request.


Others may postpone recruitment or defer the interview to a later date. You should ask the employer if you will have to reapply or if your initial application will be valid. 


If your interview is cancelled, then you could express your interest in the role, explain you understand the circumstances and state your availability to be contacted at a later date if things change.

I was recently successful after applying for an apprenticeship. What happens now?

Employers are still recruiting during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you were recently successful in your apprenticeship application but have still to start the role, you should contact your new employer as soon as possible.


They’ll provide information about your induction and the next steps you should take to begin your apprenticeship. You should also contact your learning provider to understand if and how you will access training remotely.

Annual leave

My work is closed temporarily due to COVID-19. Do I need to use my holiday allowance?

Employers do have the right to tell you when to take your annual leave if they need to. For example, if your workplace closes for a week, they can tell everyone to use their holiday entitlement.


If they decide to do this, they must give you twice as many days before the amount they are asking you to take. For example, if they close for 5 days, your employer must give you at least 10 days' notice.


However, the government expect non-essential businesses to be disrupted for a longer period than a week. So, it is highly unlikely using your holiday allowance will be a long-term solution.

I can’t use my holiday allowance because of COVID-19. Will I lose these days?

During the COVID-19 pandemic, you might be unable to use your annual leave. The government introduced a temporary new law to deal with coronavirus disruption. You can now carry over up to 4 weeks’ paid holiday over a 2-year period due to the COVID-19 pandemic.


For example:



  • If you’re self-isolating or are too sick to take holidays before the end of the leave year

  • You’ve been sent home if there’s no work and the workplace has closed (‘put on furlough’)

  • You’ve had to continue to work and could not take holiday leave