Bishop of Winchester asks about impact of COVID-19 on apprenticeship schemes

On 4th June 2020 Lord McConnell of Glenscorrodale asked the Government “what action they will take to close any educational gaps arising from the school closures due to the COVID-19 pandemic.” The Bishop of Winchester, Rt Red Tim Dakin, asked a follow-up question on apprenticeships.

The Lord Bishop of Winchester: My Lords, I want to highlight another example of educational institution closures affecting the educational attainment of young people, particularly those aged 16 to 19. I refer to the report published recently by the Sutton Trust highlighting the impact of lockdown, with 36% of apprentices having been furloughed and 61% of apprenticeship providers saying that their apprentices had lost out on work and learning. What assessment have the Government made of the impact on apprentices unable to continue on-the-job training, particularly those from more disadvantaged backgrounds? What additional support will Her Majesty’s Government offer to these individuals?

Baroness Berridge: My Lords, it is not possible at the moment to assess the full impact of coronavirus on the apprenticeship scheme, but significant flexibility has been introduced so that any training can be delivered online. If, in accordance with PHE guidance, apprentices can return to work, there is flexibility to allow them to have that training in the workplace. From 15 June, training providers have been asked to provide some face-to-face training to 16 to 19 year-olds if possible, and there has been a comprehensive package of financial support for independent training providers. We are aware of the issues facing the sector and realise that entry for young people into work is a particularly acute issue for them in these situations.