Apprentice FAQs

COVID 19: Temporary Precautionary Measures Announced by Government on 27 November

You will have seen over the weekend that new temporary and precautionary measures are in place in the UK with effect from 4am on Tuesday 30th November. These are:

All international arrivals must take a Day 2 PCR test and self-isolate until they receive a negative result.
All contacts of suspected COVID cases of the new variant Omicron must self-isolate, regardless of their vaccination status. This will become relevant if you are contacted by NHS Test and Trace.
Face coverings will be made compulsory in shops and on public transport. All hospitality settings will be exempt.
You will also have seen that the vaccine remains the UK’s paramount line of defence and as a College we continue to fully encourage you all to take the vaccine and the boosters at the appropriate time.

Whilst we are aware that schools are currently being advised directly in respect of the reintroduction of mask wearing, as we have always done in order to remain cautious and entirely safe as a College population we will monitor the advice from the government and DfE closely in specific respect to FE Colleges in order to make decisions that have everyone’s health and safety at their heart.

You will by now be aware that yesterday, the Prime Minister confirmed that there will be a delay in proceeding to Step 4 of the roadmap that was announced earlier in the year in respect of the government’s response to Covid 19.

In light of this, the Department for Education have provided confirmation that the systems of control in place from 17th May 2021 therefore are to remain until any further announcements are made.  The current status will remain until at least the 19th July.

As has been the case throughout the pandemic, we will proceed with caution and if plans do not meet the appropriate guidance protocols, we will take the path that minimises risk in order to keep our internal community safe and well.

Whilst the vaccination programme continues to progress, and many of our staff have now been vaccinated fully, it remains nevertheless important that we continue to be aware of our own responsibilities to stop the spread of the virus.  The latest guidance can be found at:

https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-stop-the-spread-of-coronavirus-covid-19

You may be aware that as part of the government’s announced roadmap out of lockdown, on Monday 17 May further restrictions will be relaxed and the guidance to us as a College has also been updated as a result.

As a college we have decided not to rush into changing policy at short notice and so we are requesting that students, staff and visitors continue to wear a face covering while on site.

As we have always advertised, it remains so important for the health and safety of students, staff and visitors that we continue with the social distancing, regular handwashing and the wearing of a face covering, so that we help stop the spread of the Coronavirus.  https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-stop-the-spread-of-coronavirus-covid-19/how-to-stop-the-spread-of-coronavirus-covid-19

We will of course monitor the situation and keep you informed of any changes.

In addition, we must all ensure that we continue to carry out our lateral flow tests twice weekly, of students and staff, and record the results through the NHS Test and Trace App, and to CoronavirusFAQ@telfordcollege.ac.uk

All our vital safety measures will remain in place for Summer Term which starts on Monday, April 19.

Above all, this means you must not attend campus if you have any COVID-19 symptoms: which include a high temperature, a new or continuous cough, and a change to your sense of taste or smell.

Below is an update on our arrangements and what you need to know for Summer Term.

NOTE If you have any queries about your own situation, please contact your tutor or call 01952 642200

You must wear face coverings in buildings at all times on college site, unless you are exempt.

You must remain in your zones whenever possible, wash your hands regularly, use the hand sanitiser provided, which can be topped up at reception and you should not gather in corridors.  

Regular testing remains important for keeping everyone safe.

We’re impressed with the take-up of Lateral Flow tests so far, but we need to ensure that we continue with the home tests.

You should test yourself twice a week using Home Testing kits which you were given prior to the Easter break, additional ones are available from Tutor.

Please complete a home test on the Sunday evening prior to returning to college on the Monday

You must report your results – by law – at: https://www.gov.uk/report-covid19-result

You must also report your results to CoronavirusFAQ@telfordcollege.ac.uk

If you test positive while taking a lateral flow test at home, you must get a polymer chain reaction (PCR) test to confirm the result. A PCR test is a standard COVID-19 test, which you can order at: https://www.gov.uk/get-coronavirus-test or alternatively you can book a test at a local symptomatic test centre.

Naturally, the basic guidance also still applies.  The government guidance link on how to stop the spread of coronavirus is attached below:
https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/how-to-stop-the-spread-of-coronavirus-covid-19/how-to-stop-the-spread-of-coronavirus-covid-19

  • Wash your hands regularly, and for a longer time than you ordinarily would
  • Ensure you maintain the appropriate social distance
  • Wear a face covering
  • Self-isolate if you have Covid 19 symptoms or a positive Covid 19 test result

Wearing of Masks
To ensure there is no confusion over the wearing of masks up until Easter, in line with Government advice, and our own internal decisions and risk assessments, please see clarification below:

• It is mandatory for staff and students to wear a mask in all communal areas and corridors. In the Haybridge and Rendezvous, masks can be removed for eating and drinking.
• In classrooms, it is mandatory for students to wear a mask, unless they have a medical exemption. For staff teaching in classrooms, masks should be worn, unless social distancing can be maintained – so, if remaining within the 2-meter exclusion zone at the front, the mask can then be removed, or a face shield can be worn, although under current Government guidance they are not considered a protective measure, so should not be worn as an alternative to a face mask. On moving around the classroom to teach more effectively, masks should be worn again.
• In practical workshops, it is mandatory for staff and students to wear masks at all times, unless medically exempt. As with classrooms, staff can only remove their masks for teaching purposes if they can maintain the social distancing parameter of 2 meters. Face shields are not advised.
• For sporting and physical activities, it is permitted for students to remove masks for the duration.

These measures will remain in place until Easter at the earliest, and will then be reviewed in light of any change in stance by the Government. If anyone has any concerns, or needs to discuss further, please contact Dave Candlin who is happy to advise.

Apprenticeship provision

Classroom based lessons will re-commence on site from the 8th March, in order of priority of assessment requirements, apprentices, assessors and employers will be contacted directly to advise.

Employer based assessments will continue to be risk-assessed, and on-site visits will continue to be planned in accordance with these risk assessments.

Assessor reviews with apprentices will continue remotely.

Functional Skills lessons for apprentices will also continue to be delivered remotely and will be reviewed before Easter.

This is unknown. We will be guided by the advice of the Government, and its team of experts.

We will contact students when we know more about how grades will be calculated.

Your employer’s human resources department should be able to give you more details. However, apprentices will continue to be supported through a range of technical resources including Smart Assessor and Microsoft Teams, in addition to telephone and email. Managers, mentors and apprentices will continue to receive our ongoing support.

Please email engage@telfordcollege.ac.uk with questions.

Awarding organisations are working with colleges and training providers to ensure we can still complete EPA’s using remote technology where possible. Some EPA’s do require a face to face assessment, where it is not possible to change this to a remote option we will work with apprentices and employers to book the EPA as soon as possible under the required Covid-19 health and safety guidelines.

You will not need to wait for your Functional Skills certificate to be issued before you are put forward for your EPA, as soon as your assessor confirms they have the required evidence to support your predicted grade, they will then work with you and your employer to book your EPA.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education has announced that all end point assessment flexibilities put in place due to the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak will be extended. We have also introduced a temporary flexibility to allow apprenticeship certificates to be sent to an alternative address if the employers office is closed.

Further details on these changes can be found in the guidance on providing apprenticeships during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

You can still apply for live vacancies on our website https://www.telfordcollege.ac.uk/apprenticeship-vacancies  and join our talent pool by completing the form on the apprenticeships page of our website. Interviews with employers are being carried out using a variety of online applications such as Microsoft Teams, Skype and Facetime.

Please email Apprenticeships@telfordcollege.ac.uk for more support.

Yes, your assessor will continue to support you with the knowledge, skills and behaviours required as part of your apprenticeship, if you have to complete Functional Skills in Maths and English this can also be supported whilst you are working from home. The time you spend working on your apprenticeship (apart from your Functional Skills) can also be recorded towards your 20% OTJT.

Not at all, this opportunity for you to develop new skills within a different role will further support your knowledge, skills and behaviours. This time can be recorded towards your 20% OTJT. Your assessor will still be able to contact you and support you with regular meetings. Our assessment team can work flexibly around you, please speak to your assessor if you need to arrange flexible times to meet online to discuss your progress.

Our student services team is on hand to provide support and advice, please contact engage@telfordcollege.ac.uk and 01952 642452

Yes, you need to ensure your employer is paying you the national minimum wage for an apprentice. If your employer is topping up the additional 20% then this won’t be an issue.

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/claim-for-wage-costs-through-the-coronavirus-job-retention-scheme

If you have been made redundant you need to contact your assessor or the apprenticeship team straight away so that we can support you. We will support you to find new apprenticeship or transfer to new employer. Redundancy advice can be found here. 

If you have less than 6 months remaining of your apprenticeship, you can continue your apprenticeship training without being employed, the team can discuss these options with you as it will depend on you having the required evidence in place for you to sit your End Point Assessment.