Industry shifts apprenticeship training online amid Covid-19 disruption

Industry shifts apprenticeship training online amid Covid-19 disruption

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, 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.

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“Just this week, we had a member of staff commence her Level 3 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.

“Professional development and supporting people into careers in the personal finance profession sits at the heart of everything we do. 

“We are proud of the success of all those who have trained and qualified via our own PFS-Aspire apprenticeship programme as well as through our programmes across the sector.”

Neil Moles, chief executive of financial advice firm Progeny, welcomed the fact that apprenticeships were being actively promoted despite 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.

“Financial advisers perform an invaluable role in society. Anything that threatens the numbers of new recruits into our profession is concerning.

“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.”  

However, apprenticeship programmes which 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 the coronavirus 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.