Our team at Damar has been working extremely hard, developing a new bespoke programme to support apprentices though the crisis. Called “Working Differently”, the eight-week programme has now launched and covers four main topics:
- Resilience and wellbeing: to develop apprentices’ ability to cope through the crisis and be equipped to recover well and thrive once it is over.
- Time management: to provide the tools and techniques to cope with a new world of shift patterns, demands on time and working from home.
- Communication: to give apprentices the skills and behaviours to ensure effective communication with colleagues and clients who are working remotely.
- Problem solving: to allow apprentices to deal with challenges and difficulties under circumstances none of us have ever faced previously.
The pre-work for the programme is now live for all apprentices on our virtual learning environment, Damar OpenLearning.
Are reviews and midpoint assessments continuing as usual?
Not at the moment. The Working Differently programme is bridging programme designed to support apprentices through the crisis. It complements your training plan and so the work you complete will benefit your apprenticeship. You will find programme details on your OneFile account (make sure to take a look in the “announcements” and “tasks” sections).
Working Differently has a review at the end of the programme.
I have a visit booked with my trainer. Will it be going ahead?
No. In common with many organisations, we have had to furlough some of our team as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Working Differently is a bridging programme designed to support apprentices during this period. It is being delivered by a senior team of subject-specialist programme managers and experienced training managers.
Will my apprenticeship take longer because of the Coronavirus crisis?
Not necessarily. Flexibility is a feature of all apprenticeships and, in many cases, we will be able to reorder remaining content when the crisis is over so that you complete on time. Delays in exams and end-point assessments will result in some programmes continuing for a little longer than planned, particularly for apprentices close to the end of their programmes.
Once things return to normal, we will review training plans and reschedule content (including remaining mid-point assessments) where necessary.
I am almost at the end of my apprenticeship framework or am doing an apprenticeship standard and have been through the “gateway” before end-point assessment (EPA). What should I do?
We have a small team that will be working on a more individual basis with those at the end of their apprenticeship to help them complete and they will be in touch with you soon. If your trainer asked you upload completed work to OneFile please do this. We are working closely with the end-point assessment organisations (EPAOs) to ensure that delays to EPA are minimised. At present however, some EPAOs are not able to deliver all elements of EPA and so some delays are inevitable.
Even if you have completed the learning required for your apprenticeship, Working Differently is a resource that you can use over the coming weeks.
I have only just started my apprenticeship, how does Working Differently fit in with my programme?
Working Differently is for all Damar apprentices, including those who have only been enrolled very recently. Your training plan will be adjusted to include Working Differently although this should not mean that your apprenticeship takes any longer than originally planned.
I am submitting client care or legal research as part of my CILEx qualification. What should I do?
These two units have not been affected and your work will be marked and submitted to CILEx as planned for the June submission window. We will contact all students taking these units w/c 14th April to remind you of the timetable. Completed assignments should be submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please reflect on your learning through the journal in OneFile once submitted.
I am working on functional skills and my trainer isn’t available?
Some functional skills content is embedded in Working Differently. For those apprentices who need to take functional skills exams, we will contact you once we know when the awarding organisations are able to deliver exams. In the interim, you can continue with any work that you have been set and also benefit from the resources on Damar OpenLearning and your BKSB account.
I am working on my project/ portfolio build for my end-point assessment, what should I do?
You are nearing the end of your apprenticeship and a member of our EPA support team will be in touch.
I am still working on existing tasks from my trainer, do I carry on with these?
If you have had work set, carry on with this if you are able to. Although we will not be able to provide individual feedback for now the work will still contribute towards your apprenticeship.
I have handed in assignments to my tutor. When will I get feedback?
Where apprentices have submitted formal pieces of work that needs to be marked, this will take place. Please bear with us though as it will take a bit longer than usual. To ensure that we do not miss anything please would you email email@example.com. if you have submitted an assignment to be marked, mentioning the assignment name and submission date.
I am due to go through gateway soon, will this now be delayed?
Not necessarily. If you think you have completed all the work required pre-gateway, please email firstname.lastname@example.org. Gateway meetings can take place remotely and, once you are though gateway, you can begin to prepare for EPA.
My exam has been postponed, what should I do?
We will be in touch when the awarding bodies are able to hold exams again. Until then, keep your knowledge fresh by revisiting the resources that you have been directed to on Damar OpenLearning, OneFile and (in some cases) the awarding bodies’ own websites.
I have tried to contact my trainer and have had no response?
The out of office reply from your trainer has details of who to contact if you have any questions that are not covered in these FAQs or in the Working Differently overview. Copies of relevant updates are also in your OneFile account.
I have been furloughed. Can I continue with my apprenticeship?
Absolutely. The government guidance is states clearly that apprentices who have been furloughed can carry on with their apprenticeships. There is more information here.
I have been made redundant. Can I continue with my apprenticeship?
Yes, all apprentices can continue for at least 12 weeks following redundancy and our team will provide support with job hunting. If you have been made redundant and have not already been in touch with us, please email email@example.com .
I have a welfare issue. Who do I contact?
Ensuring that apprentices feel safe, secure and supported is a key priority of ours, particularly during these challenging times. If you have a welfare or safeguarding concern please contact our safeguarding team at firstname.lastname@example.org. During normal office hours you can also reach us on 0161 480 8171.
Other contacts at Damar
For questions relating to apprentice welfare, our safeguarding team: email@example.com
For questions relating to IT/online access, our digital content team: firstname.lastname@example.org
For questions relating to the Apprenticeship Levy and payments, our contracts team: email@example.com
You can also reach us on the main office number: 0161 480 8171.