I hope you’re keeping well – since the outbreak of COVID-19 we’ve been getting in touch to help you access the range of support we’ve developed during this crisis. Today my update focuses on funding and support and the contact we’ve had with employers over the past few weeks.
A fortnight ago we announced advance attendance grant payments for apprentices. As of yesterday (6 April) we’ve received 1,800 applications, with £975,000 paid out to employers so far and more on the way – you can apply here.
Having listened to industry feedback, we are extending our Advance Grant support to Higher Level Apprenticeships. Advanced Grant is now available for apprentices in their final year of a higher level apprenticeship. This means we are supporting employers with apprentices who are close to achieving their apprenticeship or a key level within it (key level is unique to Scotland). This is designed to maximize the opportunity for these learners to qualify and ensure we retain as many vital skills for industry as possible. You can apply here.
Apprenticeships officers have contacted more than 10,000 apprentices and their employers in England, Scotland and Wales, to make them aware of support available. While many of these apprentices have been furloughed during lockdown, thankfully to date less than 1% of those contacted have been made redundant.
In the past few weeks our partnerships team has contacted more than 1,000 employers to provide support and have helped many access help from Government and local agencies. The team has received feedback helping us respond to emerging needs. They have also assisted many companies to claim grant which has resulted in an additional £1.1million in funding being paid to employers this week, with more being processed.
We’ve also been directing you to the latest updates on our response to COVID-19 which are posted on the Urgent Messages page of the CITB website. This page has so far received 36,000 views, directly resulting in employers contacting us to access advice and support.
Feedback from industry saw us provide greater flexibility to the expanded Skills and Training Fund which will allocate £10million to micro and small businesses to allow investment in skills and training and an additional £4million for medium-sized companies. Any companies that have a live Skills and Training Fund project, but due to current circumstances need to change the content of the planned programme, should contact us at firstname.lastname@example.org
We have also suspended issuing levy bills for at least three months and are monitoring the current situation while discussing matters regularly with Government. A number of staff members will be furloughed where possible without impacting frontline services for employers.
CITB’s COVID-19 updates page is being refreshed daily and includes information on a range of subjects, including Grants, Funding and the NCC.
You can also read the range of support measures made available to UK businesses and employees by the UK Government.