COVID-19: Learner - Furlough Information


Firstly, I would like to say that I hope you and your loved ones are safe and healthy.

We are facing some troubling times and realise that there is a lot that is happening which has upset the natural order which we have all become accustomed to. There is new information being published which is confusing for a lot of us and we would like to give you some clarity on this.

What does “furlough” mean?

Furlough leave has been created as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. It allows employees to remain on their employer’s payroll as it is a form of authorised absence with a minimum duration of 3 weeks.

Can I continue my apprenticeship programme if I have been furloughed?

In short, the answer is yes, according to recent Government Guidelines. An apprenticeship comes under the umbrella of training and, providing that said training doesn’t generate revenue for your organisation, you can be furloughed and continue your programme.

If you are requested to complete any online training courses whilst you are furloughed, you must be paid the National Minimum Wage for the time spent training even if it is more than the 80% of their wages which will be subsidised. Effectively, if an apprentice is furloughed, as long as their minimum wage is maintained then they can legitimately still continue with their apprenticeship.

For example:

National Minimum Wage for an apprentice = £3.90 per hour
Example of weekly wages = £225 per week
80% covered by furlough = £180 per week
£180 p/w @ 40 hours = £4.50 per hour and there will be no reason for their wages to be topped up.

I have been put on furlough and don’t have to work.

Even though you are unable to work, the guidance states that you are still able to continue with your apprenticeship and should take this opportunity to do so without the distractions of work. You should use this time to go back over units which you have already completed, revise any areas which you may need to develop as well as accessing resources for your functional skills, if applicable.

Why should I continue my learning?

When commencing your apprenticeship, you signed a contract with Aspire to Learn as well as your employer to complete the programme. Whilst the circumstances are unexpected, your employer should still be supporting you with your programme even if you are furloughed. It is important that you are supported by your employer and assessor to ensure that your training is not impacted and you are able to stay on track with your learning.

It is important for you and your employer that you maintain your training as this will keep you ready for work when things return to normal. Further benefits include showing that you are loyal to your programme and your employer who took the time to interview you, recognised your potential and has invested in your future. You should take this opportunity to repay them for their time and dedication to your learning.

What are we doing to help?

As a training provider, Aspire to Learn are finding as many ways as we can to ensure that you are still being given the training you were promised. Through modern technology, we are able to conduct remote sessions using a variety of apps. We are communicating through email and making sure that we are available to assist you when needed. We are aiming for there to be minimal disruption to your learning and aim to focus on the goals which you need to achieve to be successful. We are exploring all potential avenues to ensure that you can complete on time and are liaising with awarding bodies and End Point Assessment Organisations to look into how this can be achieved.

All of us at Aspire to Learn are dedicated to ensuring there are minimal disruptions to your learning and are making sure that we are able to assist you as much as possible during these trying times. We are available to speak to, during normal office hours, for anything you may need.

For more detailed information regarding the furlough scheme, please click here.

06 Apr 2020