The Covid-19 pandemic has been tough for everyone in England, not least apprentices who are no doubt concerned about the future of their hard-earned roles
Thankfully, there are now resources and tools available that you can use to get back into work if you’ve been made redundant as a result of the impact of Covid-19.
As an apprentice who was engaged in training while on an apprenticeship, you can find a new employer and still have the cost of the remainder of your training covered. The tricky part is if your new employer is unrelated to your apprenticeship.
You are within six months of the final day of training: 100% of the remaining costs of your training will be covered, whether or not your new employer is related to your apprenticeship.
You are between six months and 12 months of the final day of training: 100% of the remaining costs of your training will be covered, for a maximum of 12 weeks, whether or not your new employer is related to your apprenticeship. If you cannot find a new employer within 12 weeks, you can withdraw from your training programme but still return to the same apprenticeship at a later date, without the need to satisfy the 12-month minimum duration rule
You are more than 12 months away from the final day of training: 100% of the remaining costs of your training will be covered for a maximum of 12 weeks, if you find a new employer where you can complete your apprenticeship, whether or not that employer is related to your apprenticeship. If you are unable to find a new employer within 12 weeks, you’ll need to withdraw from the programme. If you return at a later date to the same apprenticeship, you’ll need to satisfy the 12-month minimum duration rule.
Apprentices looking for a new employer but still training can claim Universal Credit, as long as they are aged 18 or over, looking for work, and continuing their studies.
If you are aged 18 or over, training at level 3 or below and plan to claim prior to 1 September 2020 following your 19th birthday, your eligibility for Universal Credit will be based on how long you train for, and whether you meet the appropriate eligibility criteria.
If you are aged 18 or over and training full-time (more than 12 hours a week), they you can make a claim if any of the following apply:
- You live with your partner and they’re eligible for Universal Credit
- You are responsible for a child, either as a single person or as a couple
- You are disabled and entitled to Disability Living Allowance (DLA) or Personal Independence Payment (PIP) and have limited capability for work
- You are in further education, are 21 or under and do not have parental support, for example, you’re estranged from your parents and you’re not under local authority care
If you do not meet the criteria above but are studying more than 12 hours a week, then you cannot claim Universal Credit in your own right. However, your parents are able to claim the child element of Universal Credit (if eligible) and Child Benefit instead, up until (but not including) 1 September following your 19th birthday.
If you do not meet the criteria above and are studying 12 hours a week or less, then you can claim Universal Credit in your own right if aged 18 or over. If you are under the age of 18, have no entitlement and your parents would not be able to claim the child element of Universal Credit or Child Benefit.
In most cases you must be 18 or over to claim Universal Credit, but there are some exceptions that allow a 16- or 17-year-old to apply.
If you are under the age of 18, you still may be eligible to claim Universal Credit in your own right if you are training at level 3 or below and you:
- Have limited capability for work or have medical evidence and are waiting for a Work Capability Assessment
- Are caring for a severely disabled person
- Are responsible for a child
- Are in a couple with responsibility for at least one child and your partner is eligible for Universal Credit
- Are pregnant and it’s 11 weeks or less before your expected week of childbirth
- Have had a child in the last 15 weeks
- Do not have parental support, for example, you’re estranged from your parents and you’re not under local authority care
The Department for Education has set up the Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices, which aims to support apprentices who have been made redundant or who feel they are at risk of redundancy due to Covid-19.
If you need help, you can call 08000 150 400 to speak to a dedicated adviser and start planning your next steps. Advisers can share lots of useful information and help you access local and national services that provide financial, legal, health and wellbeing support, and help you find a new job.
Register with the vacancy sharing service to find employers that are interested in hiring apprentices like you. Once you’ve signed up, you’ll receive regular updates about which employers have job opportunities available in your area.
There are also a lot of things that you can do to boost your chances of getting a new apprenticeship during the Covid-19 pandemic, or to keep learning and training while you’re looking:
- Think about your skills and interests and how you might apply them to an apprenticeship
- Do some research and find out what is on offer as a potential career choice
- Get to work on your CV and covering letter, so that you’re prepared to apply when the right apprenticeship comes along
- There are also lots of online training options out there to keep you busy and learning. A good example is Google Digital Garage, with lots of free courses aimed at developing digital skills