Skills and Employment Updates – 13 August 2020

Banner with Skills Launchpad logo and the text Skills and Employment Updates

Exams Results

Government announce triple lock for students ahead of A-level and GCSE results

“A new ‘triple lock’ process will give young people added security as they receive their grades this year, the Education Secretary has announced.

Students could accept their calculated grade, appeal to receive a valid mock result, or sit autumn exams to ensure the achievements of young people are recognised.

Ofqual has been asked to determine how and when valid mock results can be used to calculate grades.

All outcomes will hold the same value for universities, colleges and employers, building on the significant number of students who will still progress as a result of their calculated grades. Similar arrangements will apply to vocational and technical qualifications.

The move comes as the Government also announces an extensive support package for all schools, colleges and further education providers to run a full exam series in the autumn. “

Read the full announcement from the government

Support for people receiving exam results

National Careers Service

The National Careers Service can help you decide on your post 16 and 18 options.

To speak to a careers adviser about your exam results call 0800 100 900, open 8am to 10pm, 7 days a week.

CSW Group

CSW Group have qualified Career Development Consultants available to talk to you if you are unsure about your next steps or need help and support with any of the following:

      • Up to date information on Higher Education and local & national Post 16 education options
      • Advice and Guidance about employment opportunities
      • Signposting to other support and services.

From Thursday 13th August until the end of August our experienced advisers will be available to take your calls between 10am – 6pm or respond to on-line queries – contact us on 0800 97 55 111 to take the new path to your future.

Ofqual Resources

The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) regulates qualifications, examinations and assessments in England.


Government guidance

Responsibility for autumn exams

A guide for schools and colleges on who should enter students for autumn exams. It also explains the support DfE is giving for sites, invigilators and exam fees.

Updated guidance setting out the support that DfE is providing for autumn exams through the DfE Exam Support Service.

First published 22 May 2020 – Updated 12 August 2020

Apprenticeship News


Support phone line – Redundancy Support Service

A new online and telephone support service for apprentices who have lost their jobs during the Covid-19 outbreak has been launched.

“To support apprentices who have been made redundant or think they might be in the future, we’ve launched the Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices. You can call 0800 015 0400 to get free advice, find new opportunities, and access local and national support services offering financial, health and wellbeing, legal and careers advice.

You can also read our guidance for apprentices affected by redundancy. There’s advice for finding alternative employment, plus information about financial support and talking to someone about how you’re coping.
To search and apply for apprenticeship opportunities, head over to Find an apprenticeship.”

Vacancy sharing service – Redundancy Support Service –  for apprentices looking for new opportunities

“Some employers are hiring apprentices who have been made redundant during the pandemic. Where this is possible, you could continue to earn while learning valuable skills, setting you up for a range of exciting career options.

If you’ve been made redundant or think you might be made redundant in the future, you should contact your training provider. They may be able to offer support in finding new employment and completing your apprenticeship training.

You can also use our new vacancy sharing service to find employers who are interested in hiring redundant apprentices. Once you’ve signed up, we’ll share regular updates to let you know which employers have opportunities available in your area.

Find another apprenticeship


Find an apprentice who has already been made redundant

The coronavirus pandemic has caused some organisations to make redundancies, leaving experienced, work-ready apprentices without an employer. That’s why we’ve launched the Redundancy Support Service for Apprentices, giving them advice and help finding new opportunities.

Read more about the scheme

Find Apprentices

Employer incentives

As part of the Government’s Plan for Jobs, employers are being offered £2,000 for each new apprentice aged under 25 they hire, and £1,500 for each new apprentice they hire aged 25 and over, up to the 31st January 2021. This includes taking on an apprentice who has been made redundant.

The new cash incentives for employers are in addition to the existing £1,000 payment for new 16-18 year-old apprentices, and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan.

You can apply for the new incentive from 1 September 2020

More information

How to apply

Government guidance and statistics

Apprenticeships and traineeships: July 2020

Apprenticeship service data as at June 2020, and apprenticeship starts to May 2020, with separate June 2020 starts covering the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.

Published 30 July 2020

UK nationals in the EEA and Switzerland: access to apprenticeships

Access to apprenticeships, for UK nationals coming to England from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway (EEA) or Switzerland.

Published 11 August 2020

New skills service launched to help the people of Plymouth

We welcome Skills Launchpad Plymouth to the Launchpad family

With so much uncertainty surrounding grades, jobs and employment at the moment, it is understandable that this could be causing some anxiety or confusion for teenagers and their parents. Ahead of the exam results due to be released this week, Plymouth City Council, working in city-wide partnership and in close alignment with DWP, have set up ‘Skills Launchpad Plymouth’ as a new virtual FREE one-stop-shop skills service which aims to help local people stay informed to equip themselves with the skills and confidence that they will need to play a part in the city’s future, targeting support for young people through the new Youth Hub and supporting those who are facing redundancy through the new Adult Hub. The intention is to help local people to build the skills that local employers need both today and in the future to fill the jobs.

Jon Taylor, Cabinet Member for Education, Skills and Transformation said: “Our Skills Launchpad is a one-stop-shop for all who are considering their next move. It’s not just their futures we have been thinking about. We know that for many people high levels of anxiety and stress has really taken their toll in recent months. That’s why we also really keen to provide support for mental health too. Our Skills Launchpad is a virtual, safe space where young people can go to receive advice and support that is right for them. It shows the great opportunities available in the city, links young people to advisers and advice, helps you find mental health support if necessary and brings together impartial careers advice with job and apprenticeship offers along with better understanding of further study and training options. It may be that the right job requires skills that young people don’t yet have so a key part of the hub is making sure that the training and qualifications needed are clearly visible and can be accessed. Focused specifically on Plymouth, this has been a fantastic partnership effort with all partners bringing everything together for the first time to support the schools, the employers and the people in and around Plymouth as we deal with the economic impact of Covid-19.”

Skills Launchpad Plymouth will be continuously developed as the go-to place for local skills support, providing orientation and up to date real-time labour market intelligence so that local people can stay informed about the real employment opportunities today and in the future.

The service will also offer comprehensive impartial information, advice and guidance, in order to match opportunities to pathways into education, training, apprenticeships, employment, work experience, volunteering and self-employment.

Heart of the South West Careers Hub Opportunities

Further to the news that the HotSW Careers Hub secured further core funding from The Careers & Enterprise Company together with match funding from @HeartoftheSouthWestLEP and Devon County CouncilSomerset County CouncilPlymouth City CouncilTDA Exeter City Council to extend and expand the current service.

From September 2020, the HotSW Careers Hub will support all state funded secondary schools, including SEND and PRUs, and FE colleges across Devon, Plymouth, Somerset and Torbay, within one Hub community of practice model.  As result of this exciting expansion we are now recruiting.  Please see below link to 4 posts on Devonjobs website:

Devon and Plymouth Chambers of Commerce Introductory Membership Offer

The Heart of the South West has welcomed the new introductory membership being offered by Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce.

Responding to the impact of the coronavirus pandemic on the economy, the Chamber is inviting businesses to be part of Devon & Plymouth Chamber of Commerce for three months, completely free of charge.

Companies can take advantage of the introductory membership offer by registering at:

Support for working families affected by coronavirus (COVID-19) - Tax free childcare

Working parents or carers who are eligible for Tax-Free Childcare or 30 hours free childcare but have temporarily fallen below the minimum income requirement as a result of the pandemic will continue to receive financial support until 31 October 2020.

Major overhaul of technical education announced

Measures to boost the quality and take-up of higher technical education to help plug skill gaps, level up opportunities and support the UK’s economic recovery have been announced by Education Secretary Gavin Williamson.

A major review last year revealed that higher technical education – technical qualifications like Higher National Certificates and Higher National Diplomas that sit between A Level and degrees – can unlock the skills employers need and lead to highly skilled, well paid jobs. Despite this, not enough people are studying them which is leading to skills shortages in sectors like construction, manufacturing and digital.

Read the full announcement

Boost higher level tech in the Heart of the South West information with robot image

Manufacturing and Engineering employers, training providers and other key stakeholders are invited to participate in a project exploring ways to boost demand for higher-level technical education.

 Be part of the study:

    • Participate in a 1:1 telephone or online interview – around 30-40 minutes at a time to
    • suit you.
    • Join the Learning and Work Institutes online workshop on Tuesday 25 August (90 minute session)
    • Join the Learning and Work Institutes online workshop in September (date TBC)

Technology in Schools - COVID 19

Guidance for local authorities, academy trusts and schools on managing Department for Education (DfE) devices provided for children, families and young adults most in need.

Published 7 August 2020

How schools can access digital devices for children requiring access to remote education due to shielding or local coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions.

Published 7 August 2020

Guidance for local authorities, academy trusts and schools on devices and support available to provide remote education and access to children’s social care.

Updated 7 August 2020 (First Published 19 April 2020)

Government Guidance and publications new releases

Ofqual confirms changes to GCSEs, AS and A levels next year, following consultation; and publishes new proposals for adjustments to VTQs.

Published 3 August 2020

A summary of attendance in education settings from Monday 23 March to Friday 17 July and early years settings from Thursday 16 April to Thursday 30 July.

Published: 4 August 2020

Access to higher education and 19+ further education, for UK nationals coming to England from the EU, Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway (EEA) or Switzerland. Includes changes from the start of the 2021 to 2022 academic year.

Published: 11 August 2020

What local authorities will need to do during the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak from the start of the autumn term.

Published: 11 August 2020

The conditions under which ESFA will pay the Centres for Excellence in Maths grant funding in the 2020 to 2021 financial year.

Published: 11 August 2020

Government Guidance and publications update

Funding guidance for early years initial teacher training (EYITT) providers for 2019 to 2020.

Updated 6 August 2020 – Updated guide to set out that trainees must also demonstrate they meet the degree standard before 30 November 2020.

Postgraduate teaching apprenticeship funding manual for initial teacher training (ITT) places for schools and ITT providers.

Updated 6 August 2020 – Updated the 2020 to 2021 manual to set out that trainees must also demonstrate they meet the degree standard before 30 November 2020.

Levels of permanent and fixed-period exclusions by school type, including information on reasons for exclusions and exclusion review panels.

Published 30 July 2020