A survey into the impact of COVID-19 on apprenticeship employers has provided invaluable insight into the uptake of remote learning and recruitment concerns of smaller employers.

There were 350 responses to the survey run by the Institute across three-weeks from 1 to 22 June 2020.

Our report out today, into the findings, showed that 60% of respondents with existing apprentices had said that training was still happening as distance learning.

Overall, the number of apprenticeships is likely to be lower in the coming year; 71% of respondents currently employing apprentices estimated the number of apprentices starting with them would decrease between April and September this year, compared to the same timeframe in 2019.

Respondents from large businesses had more certainty about the next year, with 76% believing they would recruit an apprentice before May 2021.

But only 44% from small or medium sized enterprises (SMEs) said they would recruit an apprentice in the same timeframe.

Under 30% of respondents said the majority of their apprentices were on furlough. This was higher for respondents from some sectors, including construction, leisure and travel, manufacturing, retail and engineering, with 66%, 58%, 45%, and 39%, and 34% of respondents saying a majority of their apprentices had been furloughed.

Rob Nitsch, Chief Operating Officer for the Institute, said: “This survey has provided a valuable snapshot view of how apprentices employers have been affected by the pandemic, which will inform our approach and our advice to the Department for Education.
“The move to distance learning and the progress apprentices have continued to make in challenging circumstances is reassuring and welcome.  We will continue to work with our network of thousands of large and smaller employers to support the on-going delivery of apprenticeships across all sectors of the economy – for the benefit of young people and business.”

The Institute has supported the major shift during lockdown and beyond towards more high-quality remote learning and assessment through flexibilities agreed with employer groups on how more than 100 apprenticeships are delivered.

With workplaces now starting to reopen, the Institute reassured the sector last month that there were no imminent plans to drop the temporary measures before the turn of the year.

The Institute plans to conduct a further survey in September that will focus on furloughed apprentices and provide a further update on employers’ apprentice recruitment plans.

You can view the report on our website.


Notes for editors:

Findings from the Pulse Survey are unweighted and should be treated with caution when used to assess the impact of COVID-19 across the economy. Each response was given the same weight regardless of size, sector, and the number of apprentices they have.