The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education has launched an online survey to find out what impact coronavirus has had on recruitment and what more they can do to support employers.

Apprentice employers are being asked to forecast how their recruitment over the summer will compare to the same time last year and for “key messages” that should be “heard by the institute.”

The survey also asks when employers will “next have an apprenticeship start” and whether there is “anything preventing your organisation from starting apprentices”.

The research comes after skills minister Gillian Keegan said in April that her “biggest worry” during the Covid-19 pandemic is the “recruitment of new apprentices”.

She acknowledged that “potentially businesses and others are not going to have this top of mind right now” but was concerned about “how to keep the whole pipeline going with all this uncertainty”.

On Friday, the DfE published statistics that showed the immediate impact of Covid-19 on apprenticeship starts. From 23 March, when lockdown started, to the end of April, a total of 13,020 apprenticeship starts had been reported so far – half of the 26,330 reported for the same period at the same point last year.

The IfATE’s survey goes on to ask employers for the “key message you would like to be heard by the institute”. One message that is bound to be popular with some is a call for an extension to apprenticeship frameworks, after the Department for Education confimed last month that the 31 July 2020 cut-off date for starts is still going ahead despite sector-wide concern.

Robert Nitsch, the IfATE’s chief operating officer, said: “We are really keen to hear from you about anything further you think the Institute should know.

“We will also be running this survey again in future to make sure we are listening to your changing needs.”

The closing date for the survey is 15 June and can be found here.

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