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.
Why is my usual account manager/trainer not available?
We have had to reconfigure our business in such a way that we are able to both support our customers now and have the resources to support organisations and apprentices when the crisis is over. As with many employers, that has meant furloughing staff.
When will live workshops and classroom sessions resume?
Some of our programmes (CILEx, conveyancing and AAT) have exam dates that are fixed by the relevant awarding body and we deliver a programme of study leading up to the exams. Because these exams are now suspended as a result of the crisis, we have also suspended our live workshop delivery although apprentices can still access materials on Damar OpenLearning. When the awarding bodies are able to confirm with more certainty when exams will be held, we will re-start supported study towards these exams.
Who should I contact at Damar during this period?
There are some departmental contact details at the foot of this email but you can also contact:
- For training related questions: Our director of people and performance, Diane Flynn, or either of our divisional training managers: Lee Clements (legal sector and national delivery) or Nicola Fletcher (North-West based employers).
- For account management/support questions: Our commercial partnerships director, Robin Lindsay, Katrina Shawcross (business development manager) or Delma Lawrence (account manager).
I have had to furlough apprentices, what should I do?
Furloughed apprentices can continue with their apprenticeship and out Working Differently programme has been designed with them in mind. If an apprentice has been furloughed, please do let us know by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org when the furlough period begins and when it ends.
I have had to make an apprentice redundant, what should I do?
If you are a Levy-paying employer, please do not “stop” the apprentice on the Apprenticeship Service. First, contact our contracts team (email@example.com) with a copy of the redundancy notice. We will register this and will then confirm when you can “stop” the apprentice. We are able to continue supporting redundant apprentices for at least 12 weeks, both with their studies and with job hunting. There is no cost to the former employer for this service.
My apprentice is working from home, what should I do?
You do not need to take any action if your apprentice is working from home other than encourage them to engage in Working Differently.
My apprentice is too busy at work to study, what should I do?
If your apprentice is a front-line worker, they may not have time to study at the moment. If this period is shorter than a month, there is no action to take. If it is longer than a month, please contact firstname.lastname@example.org and we will help you to register a formal break in learning. If you are a Levy-payer, we will ask you to “pause” your apprentice on the Apprenticeship Service from the date we register the break. Apprentices on a break in learning should not be “stopped” on the Apprenticeship Service.
I have had to make my apprentice’s supervisor redundant, what should I do?
If there is a change in supervisor, please email email@example.com to let us know. We will then update the details of the new supervisor on OneFile and in our central database.
Can employers continue to recruit new apprentices during the outbreak?
Absolutely. We are approaching the school and college leaver season and our recruitment team is working hard to support employers and candidates looking to start apprenticeships. Despite the economic impact of COVID-19 we are keen that the “class of 2020” does not miss out on apprenticeship opportunities.
Can existing employees wanting to start their apprenticeship be enrolled?
Yes. Our enrolment paperwork is already completed online. The launch visit, when we finalise the detailed programme planning and induction, can take place remotely. For most students the training plan will be adjusted to include Working Differently at the outset.
Are there any programmes that you are not offering currently?
Yes, we are no longer enrolling new apprentices onto the Conveyancing Technician or Licensed Conveyancer apprenticeships. Nor are we enrolling new commercial students to the Level 4 or Level 6 Conveyancing Diploma (CLC) programmes.
Existing students will be able to continue with their programmes.
I am concerned about an apprentice’s welfare, 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.