Breaking news! Breaking news! Breaking news!
At lunchtime on Saturday 4th April the government released further clarification on furloughing apprentices here, with some key points:
- Apprentices can be furloughed in the same way as other employees and they can continue to train whilst furloughed. However, you must pay your Apprentices at least the Apprenticeship Minimum Wage, National Living Wage or National Minimum Wage (AMW/NLW/NMW) as appropriate for all the time they spend training. This means you must cover any shortfall between the amount you can claim for their wages through this scheme and their appropriate minimum wage.”
- Employees can be furloughed multiple times, but each separate instance must be for a minimum period of 3 consecutive weeks”.
- If your employee has more than one employer they can be furloughed for each job. Each job is separate, and the cap applies to each employer individually. Employees can be furloughed in one job and receive a furloughed payment but continue working for another employer and receive their normal wages.
- ‘The last 2 or 3 weeks have seen many organisations go through a hectic process of transforming their day-to-day operations to cope with remote working. Attention is now turning back to the progress of trainees and the opportunities they have to make some good headway in their studies.
- The ESFA and AELP have confirmed that although students who are furloughed cannot work for their employer they can continue to study, sit exams, work on their portfolios and document any ‘Off the Job’ learning.
- The AELP also confirmed that is possible to enrol an employee as an apprentice while they are furloughed.
- For ACCA and CIMA students, we will be offering an online session aimed at helping them to complete their PER requirement.
In the past couple of weeks, CIMA have shared some exciting news about how they plan to handle examinations during the COVID-19 pandemic. During today’s webinar, Leyton Ramskill and Trevor Robertson from CIMA talked us through these plans in more detail.
- From next month, CIMA will be offering Case Study and OT Paper examinations using remote proctoring via Pearson Vue
- End Point Assessments will also be available to take remotely at level 4 and 7.
- The format of CIMA exams will remain the same as normal with exam security as rigorous as it is currently.
- Pre-seen material will be provided as usual for the case study exams at each level.
- It is possible, depending on the volume of students, that all candidates will sit their exam on the same day and at the same time. In this instance, it is likely, that only one variant of exam and pre-seen materials will be used.
- Dates for Case Study exams may need to move but will still take place in May. First Intuition will review the timing of our courses for the Case Study and Core Papers, so that students can prepare for the new dates.
- On the 7th of April CIMA will be sharing as much information as possible about how these remote examinations will work. This may include details on exam security, exam bookings and exam dates but some information may need to be confirmed at a later date.
- CIMA have put plans into place for Operational and Professional Level exams. They will be looking at the Certificate Level next.
- Software for remote proctoring will need to be downloaded in advance onto a student’s computer or laptop to avoid firewall issues. It will then check photo ID, and perform a scan of the room. The software is equipped with alerts for unusual noise and detects programmes and functions that may compromise the security of the exam.
- They will review remote proctoring in the longer term to evaluate how it can be taken forward after the COVID-19 pandemic has subsided.
CIMA general advice
- CIMA’s advice to students is to continue with their studies and exam preparation.
- There is information for students and employers available their website CIMA FAQ’s
- CIMA also have advice on their website which includes webinars and Facebook Live sessions for businesses
Update on other qualifications
- The AAT are seeing levels of enquiry remain stable at this time with many new students looking to make use of the coming weeks to start their qualification.
- The April synoptic window has been cancelled. We are encouraging the AAT to add extra synoptic windows later in the year, especially at level 4.
- There is a trend towards students studying 2-3 papers at the same time in preparation for when assessments It is likely that many students will then try to quickly pass multiple assessments in a short space of time.
- The June exam sitting has been cancelled in the UK. Students will need to rebook for the September sitting as this won’t happen automatically.
- The ACCA are evaluating remote proctoring for the September exam sitting. They are also reviewing capacity at exam centres based on expected, increased demand. September 2020 may well be the biggest exam sitting in ACCA history.
- Any students who could not sit their exams in June and who would be affected by the seven-year rule that requires all Professional papers to be completed in this time will benefit from an extension up to the September exam sitting.
- The September exam sitting is now available to book. We would advise students to act quickly due to the expected increase in demand.
- Fees for ACCA examinations were due to increase but will now be kept the same for September.
- The June Professional Level exam sitting has been cancelled and the July Advanced Level sitting has been postponed until August (expected to be w/c 24th August).
- Students who have had an exam cancelled will need to rebook as this will not happen automatically.
- The ICAEW are close to being able to offer a remote exam sitting for the Certificate Level. They are awaiting regulator approval.
- The ICAEW have confirmed that they still require students to log 450 hours of practical work experience during their training period. They have confirmed that students who are furloughed can have up to 12 weeks of furlough time without the need to break, suspend or extend their training agreement, as long as they still meet the 450-day requirement.
- If an exam has been moved, students will be able to sit their final exam after the training period has been completed.
To review the update from our previous webinar with employers, please click here.
You may also find this article useful.