COVID 19 Apprenticeships Survey - Findings

11 Sep 2020

Results from PCS Learning identifies areas where department must improve support for apprentices.

The findings from the recent survey of apprentices by PCS Learning have produced some interesting results particularly in relation to equality and diversity, communication issues and the quality of training, in some instances leaving apprentices without the support they need.

The survey was open to all apprentices, in all government departments and across all four nations. A total of 796 apprentices participated in the 59 question survey, covering multiple aspects of the apprenticeship experience, especially in relation to the impact of the pandemic on their apprenticeship.

Responses were received from those studying from Level 3 (A Level equivalent) to Level 6 (degree with hons equivalent).

Almost 1 in 4 respondents said they are not getting the minimum 20% off-the-job training with some even unsure as to what this was. If apprentices are not receiving the minimum 20% of-the-job training – or are uncertain what this is – they should speak to their branch representatives.

Nearly three quarters had not paused their apprenticeship but 16.7% stated they were unsure. However over a third of these stated they were unable to continue with their apprenticeship or continue to the same extent.

Those working from home, 77.3%, did not always find this conducive to being able to work on their apprenticeship. Reasons included: not sure on the right track/doing it right, lack of motivation, lack of frontline experience evidence, busy with work, difficult to do from home due to family distraction, difficult to put learning into practice when not in the workplace, delay getting information from provider about changes due to Covid, process slowed down.

Over half were unsure whether their end date had changed due to Covid-19.

PCS Learning project is currently developing an apprenticeship package that can be used at apprentice inductions together with guidance for reps on how to support apprentices.

The network of PCS representatives or union learning representatives at branch level in the Home Office were crucial in the successful campaign which led to the removal of the Apprenticeship Grade and salary for externally recruited apprentices.

The focus of the information the branch network representatives need to collect and report to the Group lead - and the support they will provide to apprentices will change. Briefings for representatives in the Group will be prepared in line with the work of the PCS Learning project.

Information will be circulated as soon as the materials are available.   

On the back of these survey results we will be contacting the Home Office to discuss the support they are providing to Apprentices and what further actions can be taken to ensure all apprentices in the Home Office are getting a minimum of 20% off-the-job training; are being supported while working from home and to make sure every apprentice is aware if their end date has changed or not due to Covid-19.  

Apprentices should speak to their branch union learning rep or workplace reps if they are experiencing problems with their apprenticeship.

Further survey details are available onlne.

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