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 Modern Apprentices

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

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?

Yes, the latest guidance from HMRC confirms apprentices can be furloughed in the same way as other employees, and can continue to train whilst furloughed. You should speak to your training provider to get more advice and guidance.  


 


 

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 college, university or training centre. 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 worried I won’t be able to finish my apprenticeship and get my qualification. What should I do? 

We are working with SQA and other awarding bodies to support their guidance for apprentices and learning providers to ensure that the effects of disruption are minimised and that, wherever possible, apprentices and learners are not negatively impacted in the long term. 
 
SQA are posting frequent updates for learnerson their website.  


We will update with further information specific to apprenticeships as soon as this is available.  
 
In the meantime, Modern Apprentices should follow the guidance provided by their learning provider e.g. college or training centre, along with the advice of their employer. 

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 may be able to complete your learning online/ digitally. This should be discussed with your learning provider and employer to see if this option is available to you. 
 
Where apprentices are unable to participate in learning online/ digitally or by other methods in line with the assessment strategy, they will be able to resume their learning once back in the workplace. 

Pay

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

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



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

In this situation, you would take a break from your apprenticeship and resume when you return to work. Please contact your learning provider to let them know of any changes – including when you stop working and when you return to work.  


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. It’s up to your employer whether they choose to use this scheme or not. More information on furlough is available in the question above. 

Support

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

If you have been made redundant, please notify your training provider as soon as possible so that we can put support in place and implement the redundancy processes.   


There are a number of support measures available:  


PACEThe Scottish Government’s Partnership for Continuing Employment (PACE) is a well-established service to support individuals and employers dealing with redundancy.To find out more, please visit the PACE website redundancyscotland.co.ukor call 0800 917 8000.   


Adopt an Apprentice - We also provide support through the Adopt an Apprentice scheme, which can helpfind new employment for apprentices with other employers that are able to support.  


Career Information, Advice and Guidance - SDS CIAG colleagues continue to offer the SDS all-age career guidance service during the pandemic. Individuals can contact their local SDS team or visit myworldofwork.co.uk.   


Job Hub - SDS has launched a new My World of Work Job Hub which connects employers and individuals with immediately available vacancies during the pandemic.  


Online Learning Portal - SDS has introduced an Online Learning Portal in response to COVID-19, connecting people with thousands of free-to-access online learning materials. Working closely with learning providers, additional resources will be added in the coming weeks and months.  

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 

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.

Can I start a Modern Apprenticeship if I am on furlough?

No, employees on furlough cannot start a Modern Apprenticeship. However if you're already a Modern Apprentice then you can continue learning elements with your provider that don’t require you to work.

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