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ESFA: Business Update – Issue 60 (August 2020)

Business update is the Education and Skills Funding Agency’s monthly round-up of apprenticeship information and news for businesses.

In this edition of Business Update, our round-up of business-critical news and information from the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA):

  1. Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices launches
  2. Apprenticeship service new employer agreement
  3. Chancellor Plan for Jobs launched on 1 August
  4. COVID-19 guidance

Please share Business Update with your colleagues who might like to register for web alerts. This will notify them by email when we add new editions of Business Update to GOV.UK.

To access support, you can search for apprenticeships on GOV.UK or call 08000 150 600. To find out more about how employers are using apprenticeships to benefit their business, visit our Hire an Apprentice page and our YouTube channel.

1. Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices launches

High-quality apprenticeships will have an important role to play in creating employment opportunities post-Covid-19, and in supporting employers to access the skilled workforce they need to bounce back and succeed. Training providers have a critical role to play in supporting redundant apprentices to help them to find a new employer and support them through to completion.

To further support apprentices who have been made redundant, or who are at risk of redundancy, we introduced the Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices (ReSSA) on 1 August 2020.

ReSSA will provide clear, accessible advice and guidance to individuals on the impact of redundancy, their options and next steps. We will also help redundant apprentices to identify new apprenticeship and employment opportunities, and, where they are eligible, complete their current apprenticeship.

The service is made up of three main elements:

  • providing apprentices with advice and guidance on the impact of redundancy
  • signposting apprentices to local and national support services
  • an apprenticeship vacancy sharing service to make redundant apprentices aware of new opportunities

If you are an employer who would like to recruit a redundant apprentice or offer new apprenticeship opportunities, visit GOV.UK or call 08000 150 600 to find out more.

If you’ve made your apprentice redundant or may have to make them redundant in the future, please encourage your apprentices to use the service to get free advice, access local and national support, and find new opportunities. Apprentices should visit GOV.UK or call 0800 150 400 to speak to an adviser.

Read more on GOV.UK.

2. Apprenticeship service new employer agreement

In January 2020 we published a new employer legal agreement. We confirmed in early March that any employer registered with the apprenticeship service, that accepted a previous version of the agreement, and had not yet accepted the new agreement, would soon need to do so.

We are now asking all employers to accept the new agreement, to ensure that employers accessing funding through the apprenticeship service will be doing so under the same standard terms and conditions. Accepting the agreement will allow employers to access funding for new apprenticeship starts, as well as ensuring continued access to full functionality in the apprenticeship service

If your organisation needs to sign the new legal agreement, it will be made available to you through the apprenticeship service from 20 August 2020 in the ‘Organisation and Agreements’ section of your account; only an Account Owner who has authority to do so on behalf of their organisation, should accept the agreement.

Existing users (employers) who do not accept the new agreement will still be able to view any current apprenticeships registered on the apprenticeship service, and funding will still flow from their levy account to pay for training. However, they will be unable to make changes, advertise vacancies or record new starts until they accept the new agreement (the current agreement will continue to cover existing approved apprentices until either the apprenticeship finishes, or the new agreement is accepted).

Employers that want to read the new agreement before it is made available to them on 20 August 2020 can read it on GOV.UK.

For further information visit GOV.UK.

3. Chancellors Plan for Jobs incentive package from 1 August

The Chancellor’s Plan for Jobs announcement in July included a range of incentives that are available to employers recruiting apprentices, including those that have previously been made redundant. Incentives include:

  • a new payment of £2,000 to employers in England for each new apprentice employers hire, aged under 25, and a £1,500 payment for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, from 1st August 2020 to 31st January 2021, for new recruits. These payments are in addition to the existing £1,000 payment for new 16-18 year-old apprentices, and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.
  • an additional £111 million this year for traineeships in England, to triple participation in traineeships. Government will fund employers who provide trainees with work experience at a rate of £1,000 per trainee and expand eligibility for traineeships to those with Level 3 qualifications and below.
  • an additional £32 million funding over the next two years for the National Careers Service so that 269,000 more people in England can receive personalised advice on training and work.
  • A Job Retention Bonus – a one-off payment of £1,000 to UK employers for every furloughed employee who remains continuously employed through to the end of January 2021.

Incentives payments can be claimed by employers from September and will be paid in January 2021. Find out more by visiting GOV.UK.

4. COVID-19 guidance

Apprenticeships guidance is being updated today, 5 August 2020, to include more information on the Redundancy Support Services for Apprentices.

A reminder that guidance, for apprentices, employers, training providers, end-point assessment organisations and external quality assurance providers during Covid-19, is available on GOV.UK whilst guidance and support for businesses is also available.

The Business Support Helpline number in England is: freephone 0800 998 1098.

The helpline provides free, impartial business support and signposting services to businesses in England – which currently includes business advice on COVID-19.

You can also find free support, advice and sources of finance through your local growth hub or speak to an advisor on webchat about support for your business.

DfE coronavirus helpline: 0800 046 8687


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