Action on COVID-19 (coronavirus)

The outbreak of coronavirus has now become a public health concern around the world and the health and wellbeing of apprentices training at the MTC is of paramount importance to us.

As with any health concern, we at MTC want to make sure we are taking appropriate actions and reducing the possibility of exposure.

In line with Government advice, we have taken the decision to close the Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre. The training centre will remain closed to all apprentices, employers and members of the public until further notice. We will continue to work with you as UK Government provides further updates and their implications.

Our delivery team have been planning for the possible closure in recent weeks and have provided apprentices with a range of activities to complete whilst we remain closed.

All apprentices have access to our E-Learning courses; have been set Knowledge Questions to support their unit completion and have been tasked with regularly emailing work to their trainers/assessors to keep progressing in their apprenticeship. They will have regular touch points throughout the week with us and training schedule will be rearranged to provide minimal disruption.

We will be able to support apprentices throughout any period of isolation, and the Department for Education has issued guidance that will permit a break in learning, further information below. You should note the additional provisions of point 3, as they may apply as part of any business continuity plan you have in place.

ā€œIn order to support the sector during any disruption which may be experienced due to Covid-19 these are the initial recommendations from the Department for Education:

  1. Apprentices who are ready for assessment ā€“ i.e. who reach gateway and cannot be assessed due to assessor illness or Covid-19 related measures, will be allowed to have a break in learning. This should protect funding and completion of apprenticeships and should be reflected in the July completion rules. The normal breaks in learning process should be followed and therefore we only need notifying once a break in learning has exceeded 4 weeks. A break in learning must occur before the learner is recorded as completed. Apprentices can go on a break in learning between completing the learning activity (learning actual end date) and the assessment, but there would be no requirement to record in this in the ILR as it will not have an effect on funding.
  2. Apprentices who experience gaps in training due to Covid-19 related illness in the workplace or off the job can classify this period as a break in learning. The normal breaks in learning process should be followed and therefore we only need notifying once a break in learning has exceeded 4 weeks.
  3. Usually breaks in learning are only permitted where they are learner driven, however we are aware that there may be occasion where an employer who is following government advice may take action that results in an apprenticeship have to be paused. In these occasions a break in learning can be used where there will be a break of longer than 4 weeks. The normal breaks in learning process should be followed.
  4. In order to maintain the integrity of high quality assessment of apprenticeships we are going to monitor the situation and will issue further advice and modifications relating to specific assessment methods if necessary.
  5. We advise adhering to the current escalation process of raising EPA (end-point assessment) issues through EQAPs (external quality assurance providers) in the first instance.

There is a need for everyone (employer, provider, EPAO, Apprentice) to take a reasonable and balanced approach in these situations and to recognise that the health and wellbeing of individuals is a higher priority than performance measures. We know that good communications between each of these parties is important to the successful delivery of EPA anyway. So, in these circumstances that communication becomes even more important. The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) will shortly be publishing guidance for this area in response to potential disruption from Covid-19.ā€

If you have any questions in the meantime, please feel free to get in touch with us.

We would like to thank our employers and apprentices for their cooperation in this matter and look forward to re-opening the training centre at the earliest opportunity.

Kind Regards

David Hughes MBE CEng FIET

Managing Director

Advanced Manufacturing Training Centre (AMTC)