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COVID 19 – Employer/Apprentice Information

We understand that the COVID-19 outbreak is going to disrupt business, at Buxton & Leek College we remain committed to the employers who work with us and have compiled a list of useful links and information below.

Page updated; 18th March 2020

We are currently operating normally with enhanced hygiene measures. Staff and Students with underlying health conditions or classed as vulnerable under the Governments definition that put them at higher risk have been asked to work from home.

Useful links

The Government has announced £330 billion package of support for businesses. The full details of the package can be found here:

Government COVID-19 Support for businesses

The logistics of how businesses access the support is to be finalised and updates will follow in the coming days. It includes:

  • Rebate of 2 weeks Statutory Sick Pay for small and medium sized businesses
  • Business rates holiday for retail, hospitality and leisure businesses
  • Grants and/or loans such as small business rate relief, business interruption loan and the HMRC ‘time to pay’ scheme

ACAS have clear and practical information about self-isolation, sick pay, social distancing, flexible working, working from home and closing your business:

https://www.acas.org.uk/coronavirus

The British Chamber of Commerce have a dedicated page with official guidance, support available from the UK Government for businesses and crisis management plans collated:

https://www.britishchambers.org.uk/page/preparing-and-responding-to-coronavirus

The East Midlands Chamber of Commerce also has downloadable guides such as an Interim homeworking policy and a useful coronavirus planning document:

https://www.emc-dnl.co.uk/news/2020/02/24/coronavirus-planning-ahead/

The Stoke on Trent and Staffordshire Growth Hub have also collated information relating to help for businesses and include phone numbers for HMRC, the Staffordshire Business Helpline and the National Business Support Helpline (note that these numbers are likely to be busy):

https://www.stokestaffslep.org.uk/covid-19-business-continuity-advice/

Current Apprentice Employers

We are committed to supporting businesses as much as possible. As an apprentice is an employee you will need follow UK employment law and guidelines. Please ensure trading circumstances are communicated clearly to all staff, use group messaging services or emails, don’t rely on others to ‘pass the message’ on.

Following a review if you need to reduce apprentice hours this should be in line with business protocol and similar members of staff. Please inform us of changes as soon as possible.

If you are forced to closed via Government mandate, please inform us as soon as possible. Please ensure you continue to follow guidelines regarding pay and leave, we will also need to know an estimated date of re-opening so that we can record the break in learning (more info below).

If you are forced to closed due to lack of trade, please let us know as soon as possible. Please ensure you continue to follow guidelines regarding pay and leave, we will also need to know an estimated date of re-opening so that we can record the break in learning (more info below).

In all cases information should be communicated to feapprenticeships@blc.ac.uk

This email is monitored by the apprenticeships team who may be working off-campus, if you require a call back please ensure to include a phone number. 

Apprentice break in learning

In order to support businesses during the disruption which may be experienced due to COVID-19 recommendations have been released from the Department for Education:

  1. Apprentices who are ready for assessment but cannot be assessed will be allowed to take a break in learning
  2. Apprentices who experience gaps in training in the workplace or off-the-job can classify the time as a break in learning.
  3. Usually a break in learning is apprentice led however, if the employer is following Government advice, they may utilise a break in learning for their apprentice so that the apprenticeship can continue when appropriate.

In all cases the normal breaks in learning process should be followed and therefore the Department for Education only needs to be notified if the break exceeds 4 weeks but, please always keep Buxton & Leek College informed .

Further to the above the Institute for Apprenticeships has released the following statement.

The Institute understands the unique challenge that Covid-19 presents to the delivery of apprenticeships and that its impact is widespread.  We are working closely with the Department for Education to develop a comprehensive and complete set of measures that permit professional discretion so that individuals are protected and disruption is minimised, whilst safeguarding the quality of apprenticeships, should it not be possible to extend the length of an apprenticeship.  We anticipate providing detailed guidance this week.  

https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/about/news-events/coronavirus-apprenticeship-update/

In all cases information should be communicated to feapprenticeships@blc.ac.uk

This email is monitored by the apprenticeships team who may be working off-campus, if you require a call back please ensure to include a phone number. 

Information for Apprentices

You are an employee and have a duty of care towards your colleagues to ensure you follow the advice given by the Government and Public Health England. Information about sick pay should be detailed in your contract of employment or employee handbook. As an apprentice you are subject to the same guidelines which can be found here:

COVID-19 Guidance for employees

The latest advice on slowing the spread of COVID-19 and what to do if you feel ill can be found here:

Public Health Guidance

Please be assured that we are committed to ensuring you can complete your apprenticeship, your employer will inform us of changes to trading circumstances, such as closing their business. However, if you need to self-isolate please make sure you tell your employer and inform the college as soon as possible by calling 0800 074 0099 or completing the absence form here: https://www.blc.ac.uk/absence-form/

Please clearly state the reason for your absence such as:

  • I am showings symptoms and now self-isolating
  • I am self-isolating following contact with a confirmed case of COVID-19
  • I am at high risk due to pre-existing health conditions

An illness or situation meaning you cannot attend college not related to COVID-19 should be reported in the same way.

If you are concerned that your employer is not following Government guidelines and/or employment law please contact your assessor or email your concerns to feappretniceships@blc.ac.uk and we will respond as soon as possible.

For updates relating to teaching, attending campus and continuing with your studies from home please see our news page or follow us on Facebook or Twitter, you can also contact your assessor.