No. 1637 | The Voice of Financial Advisers

Apprenticeships continue despite Covid-19 troubles

by Amy Austin

Adviser networks and industry bodies have pledged to continue encouraging trainees to join apprenticeship programmes despite the coronavirus pandemic. Tenet said its network was

still making use of apprenticeships wherever possible, but has moved to remote learning to allow training to continue while the country is in lockdown. Keely Craig (pictured), group

finance director at Tenet, said: “We are absolutely still making use of apprenticeships as much as possible at Tenet and are still actively encouraging our people to participate in programmes. “Just this week, we had a member of staff commence her level three Financial Services Administrator apprenticeship via a remote induction, so it absolutely can still be done from a practical perspective, in spite of the current lockdown.” The Personal Finance Society

has also moved to focus on virtual training in order to minimise the impact on trainees who are mid-way through their programmes. It is also signing up new recruits, to encourage more individuals to join the industry at a time when their services are needed more than ever. Keith Richards, chief

executive of the PFS, said: “The detrimental effect of the Covid- 19 situation on apprenticeship schemes, providers and trainees is a key area of focus for the PFS during this challenging time. “We are proud of the success

of all those who have trained and qualified via our own PFS- Aspire apprenticeship programme.” Neil Moles, chief executive

officer of Progeny, welcomed the fact that apprenticeships were being actively promoted despite

This would result in a ‘break in learning’, meaning no funds can be withdrawn from the apprenticeship levy account. “Our providers have said,

contrary to apprenticeships being on the brink of collapse, they are actually seeing more work going into them, as people have more time to focus on these at the present time.”

Financial support The DFE said where the Covid- 19 outbreak results in loss of income due to ceased or reduced delivery of training, training providers should apply for financial support announced by the Treasury for businesses, including the government’s Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme. A DFE spokesperson said:

the current climate, saying the profession needed new recruits. Mr Moles said: “It’s

important as a profession that we’re always mindful of nurturing and investing in the next generation of advisers. “With the average age of a

financial adviser in the UK today being somewhere in their mid-fifties, and rising, it’s vital we are doing everything we can to ensure a pipeline of fresh talent for tomorrow.”

Evolve or miss out However, apprenticeship programmes that are unable to be moved online could face disruption as training providers lose their funding. According to guidance from

the Department for Education on providing apprenticeships during this crisis, training providers will continue to receive funding for training

they have delivered and can evidence. But providers will not receive

payments for learners who are on breaks in learning. If there is a break in learning

for more than four weeks, the payment of funding to the training provider will be suspended for the duration of the break in learning. Ms Craig said: “The feedback

we have had from our own providers is that funding is only being withheld where companies are stopping their apprentices completing apprenticeship work remotely.

“It’s vital we are doing everything we can to ensure a pipeline of fresh

“We are continuing to fund apprenticeship providers for training they are delivering, and will make payments in April for that delivery as scheduled. We have also published guidance for apprentices, employers and training providers about online learning, additional flexibilities around breaks in learning and how and when end-point assessments can be conducted.” Last week, the Association of Employment and Learning Providers surveyed its members, which includes 279 training providers and 12 colleges, to see how they expect coronavirus to impact their funding. It found that due to the lack of funding, 49 providers may have to close, while 79 will pause business for the foreseeable future and 154 will downsize. Due to this, the AELP said

52,000 young people will lose their apprenticeship across a range of industries. Mr Richards said: “We will do

all we can to support partner organisations.”

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APRIL 09 2020

NEWS P1-16





Adviser warns to be vigilant

An adviser has warned people to be especially vigilant to avoid being taken in by fraud. Joanna Leyden, director of

Monument Financial, said it was “really sad” scammers were using the current coronavirus situation to exploit people. She said: “The difference at

the moment is that due to stress and anxiety, we are all much more vulnerable than usual. “I would urge people to remember to be especially vigilant. Don’t click on links sent in text messages or emails and never give personal details unless you’re 100 per cent sure of who you’re speaking to.” Her comments came as

Action Aid reported an alarming rise in the number of scams set up specifically to exploit people in lockdown as a result of the Covid-19 crisis. Ms Leyden also urged worried clients to always get in touch with their financial adviser or another trusted professional and ask their advice regarding the situation. Read our investigative report

on victims’ experiences on page five of this issue. IT

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