Coronavirus Information Hub
7 January 2021
Please be assured that we are doing everything we can to support all our partners and your learners/apprentices in these difficult times. We are in frequent contact with our regulators and we are being as flexible as we can to keep things moving.
Here’s what you need to know:
1. Vocational qualifications
As we continue to receive guidance from our regulators, we will keep you up to date of any changes on our COVID-19 Updates page.
This section has the latest information on:
- Access to Higher Education
- Counselling (includes information on the planned adaptions for the 2021 exam series)
- Games, Animation and VX
- Vocational Technical Qualifications
- Summer results process
- Results appeals process
- Results complaints process
- Youth work
- Extended Extraordinary Regulatory Framework (EERF): Handbook updates
Request for Covid-19 contingency policies
To ensure that learners and AIM staff are safe when exams are taking place, we are asking all centres to provide us with a copy of their Covid-19 contingency procedures along with a full risk assessment in relation to AIM qualifications and learners. If that is covered in a full organisational policy, please send the full policy. These documents will help us to understand how exams are being conducted to ensure compliance with the VTQ COVID Extraordinary Regulatory framework. All policies will be kept in the AIM centres file.
We will need to receive these policies before we can allow the examination schedules to go ahead. Unfortunately, if we haven’t received this information, examination schedules will be cancelled so learners will be unable to sit the exam.
New exams schedule
- A full schedule of examinations can be found on our external assessment schedule page.
- Whilst many centres are able to use remote proctoring this isn’t always possible, for example, where there are additional requirements such as compulsory human interaction, which make remote moderation impossible. In these cases we are unable to accept exam bookings as these cannot be spot checked.
- Thank you for keeping us up to date with your plans. The more we know about your situation, the better we can plan. Please continue to inform us of:
- booked assessments, times and venues for suspension of booking
- continuation of assessments.
Qualification reveiw dates extended
We have taken the decision to extend the review dates for several our qualifications. Some of the affected qualifications had a review date of 31/07/2020, others were due to be reviewed in the next academic year. All have been extended by two years. We are currently in the process of updating our documentation, but this may take a while to do. A full list of the affected qualifications can be found here (pdf)
Counselling and youth work qualifications
Real work environment observations
There are some qualifications where observation of practice is a requirement, along with the completion of activities in a real work environment. This may not be possible for some learners now, or in the coming weeks.
To mitigate this, AIM is permitting the following adaptations to our usual assessment processes:
- We offer advice to all delivery centres about rescheduling their programmes so that any assessment that requires face to face practice be end-loaded, in the hope that there is freer access to working environments in the coming months.
- We encourage all delivery centres to adapt their resources to offer digitally where possible, using creative assessment tools to ensure that people are still able to complete their programmes of learning. For example, observations using video conferencing may be possible.
External Verification of VTQs (including EV Roadshows)
We now have dedicated Vocational Technical Qualifications pages which we update regularly with new processes plus the latest information from our regulators.
- Ofqual released a tool which allows users to identify their qualification and the agreed mitigation and confirmed the outcomes of the consultation. This allows us to move forward in arranging certification of your learners. This update and the tool can be found here
- When searching for your qualifications, please ensure that you have the correct qualification number (QAN) as there are some qualifications with the same name.
We are not currently planning any face to face EV visits or roadshows for 2021 but all centres can access unlimited remote EV activity during this time. To book your EV activity please email email@example.com with your centre name, eRAC numbers and qualification titles and the approximate date you anticipate being ready for EV and we will allocate you to an EV for sampling.
Our awarding processes is continuing during this period with the awarding of ecertificates except for excetional/urgent cases. If you need formal proof of achievement for a learner, please email us at firstname.lastname@example.org and we can email confirmation to you.
Hard copy certificates
We are now in a position to print hard copy certificates for urgent requests only. Please contact the enquiries team and we will arrange a convenient date/time for you to receive them. Whilst we will do our best to meet these deadlines, please bear in mind that any changes to government guidelines on office working will impact how quickly we can get certificates produced and sent out to you. We are also approaching our busiest time so we may not be able to process all requests to specific dates. If we think there might be a problem we will contact you to agree a new delivery date.
Before posting certificates, we will ask you to confirm that the delivery location is able to receive them. We will also send you a courtesy email to advise when Royal Mail have collected the certificates from us and they are on their way to you.
Service level agreement
We are pleased to say that during lockdown we have been able to maintain our high service levels. Whilst we hope this will continue we are heading into one of our busiest periods. Throughout August we will be printing certificates for our Access to Higher Education and ESOL learners so please bear with us if we take a little longer than normal to respond to your enquiries or if your certificates are a little later than you expected
You still have access to your learner’s achievement evidence in the form of electronic certification. All e-certificates can be downloaded via an administrators account on our quartz portal. See our FAQ page for details.
E-certificates have a unique QR code that can be scanned and verified.
We will be keeping records of all awards which have been processed and resume certification production as soon as we are able.
3. AIM Assessment
Funding support for apprentices who have been made redundant and Functional Skills
The Department for Education has published an updated version of their apprenticeship delivery guidance, which includes information about the extension of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme, the national restrictions guidance, the package of support available for those who have been made redundant on or after 15 October, and functional skills.
The guidance outlines how apprentices who are due to take their EPA on or before 31 March 2021 can be passed through gateway to sit their EPA without the need to attempt their level 2 functional skills English and maths assessment. They will need to hold a level 1 functional skills in English and/or maths in order to complete their apprenticeship. The temporary suspension applies to both apprenticeship standards and frameworks.
Apprentices undertaking a level 3 or higher apprenticeship are still required to hold or achieve an approved level 2 functional skills English and maths qualification before they can successfully complete their apprenticeship. However, this should not be a barrier to completing their EPA. They can take the functional skills qualification alongside or after their EPA.
We have implemented a number of changes to help employers and training providers minimise disruption to apprentices about to go through Gateway. We have adjusted our assessments for the following standards so that these can now be undertaken remotely.
- Advertising and Media Executive
- Broadcast Production Assistant
- Junior Content Producer
- Public Relations and Communications Assistant
- VFX: Assistant Technical Director
- VFX: Junior 2D artist
Full details of the changes can be found on our webpage (EPA Remote Assessment)
Department for Education
- The Department for Education have established a Coronavirus Helpline: 0800 046 8687
- Adjustments to funding arrangements will be the subject of direction from the ESFA www.gov.uk/government/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-apprenticeship-programme-response Queries should be sent directly to the Institute: email@example.com To help them identify and prioritise your query please use the following title in the subject box: EPA_Covid 19 [your Organisation name]
The Institute for Apprenticeships
The Institute for Apprenticeships has updated their COVID-19 web page featuring guidance around apprenticeship assessment and external quality assurance, frequently asked questions and signposting to the right people to deal with enquiries.
The Institute has announced that all end-point assessment (EPA) flexibilities put in place due to coronavirus (COVID-19) will be extended until the end of the year. They have also introduced a temporary flexibility to allow apprenticeship certificates to be sent to an alternative address. Read more about it on their website.
Please keep in touch
Following government advice, all AIM staff continue to work remotely. We remain operational and will continue to support all our centres and partners.
To speak to a member of our helpdesk, please call one of our dedicated centre support team on one of the following numbers.
Lines are open: 9am to 5pm Mon -Thur, and 9am to 4.30pm Friday.
Call: 01332 341822
Your call will be answered by a member of our customer exerience team
End-point assessment queries
Call: 01332 224654
Your call will be answered by a member of our EPA delivery team