Helping Shape Your Future

Since 1986

Helping Shape Your Future

Since 1986

Corona Virus Update

With the impact of coronavirus being felt by businesses across the UK, at NWCS we know that many of you are concerned about how your business, staff and apprentices will be affected. During these uncertain times and although our training centre is closed we are still delivering services remotely at this time and here to support and help you through this difficult period. To help you find key information for your business, on this page we have set out some of the available information in one place:

  • A summary of the latest financial and budget announcements
  • Information for small businesses on staffing and working from home
  • Links to other useful resources
  • FAQs for our employers and learners
  • Coronavirus (COVID-19): early years and childcare closures
  • Contact details if you need to get in touch


N.B. We will regularly update this page with new information and for the most up to date news please go to the UK Government website.

Latest information for employers and learners

Government support

The government is launching a series of new measures to support businesses during these difficult times. We are currently looking into how we can help employers benefit from these measures and will provide updates on here when we have further news.

Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme 

This scheme allows businesses to apply for a loan of up to £5 million through a registered lender, and the government will cover up to 80% of any of the lenders’ losses. Under the scheme the first 12 months of the loan is interest free, as the government will cover your interest payments.


Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme 

If you’re struggling to pay wages, rather than laying off employees (employees must have been included in your February payroll), you can instead ‘furlough’ them (put them on a leave of absence) and claim back 80% of their wage costs, up to a cap of £2,500 per worker per month. You can backdate to March 1st and the scheme will run for 3 months initially, although it will be extended if needed. It is open to all UK employers.

This was updated on 15.04.2020: – An important change to the scheme relating to employee eligibility:
You can claim for employees that were employed as of 19 March 2020 and were on your PAYE payroll on or before that date; this means that you will have made an RTI submission notifying us of payment of that employee on or before 19 March 2020.

Employees that were employed as of 28 February 2020 and on payroll (i.e. notified to us on an RTI submission on or before 28 February) and were made redundant or stopped working for you after that, and prior to 19 March 2020, can also qualify for the scheme if you re-employ them and put them on furlough.

More information on this can be found on GOV.UK.


Statutory sick pay refunds

If you have fewer than 250 employees, the government will pay the first 14 days of statutory sick pay.

Cash grants to small businesses

The UK’s smallest businesses will also be able to claim a £10,000 cash grant. Small businesses that pay little or no business rates and are eligible for small business rate relief (SBBR) or rural rate relief will be contacted by their local authority. You do not need to apply.

Business rates holidays and cash grants for retail, hospitality and leisure

The government is introducing a business rates holiday in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year for businesses in these industries. If your property has a rateable value of £15,000, you will also receive a cash grant of £10,000. If it’s between £15,000 and £51,000, you’re entitled to a cash grant of £25,000. Our understanding is that, your local authority will let you know if you’re eligible for these grants, so there’s no need to apply.

Coronavirus (COVID-19): early years and childcare closures

This guidance covers Ofsted-registered childcare providers for children of all ages, including childminders, nurseries and wraparound childcare and clubs (before- and after- school and holiday care). This guidance does not cover nannies or au pairs, as they work in the child/children’s family home. More here at the .Gov site.


Business rates holiday for nurseries

The government is introducing a business rates holiday in England for the 2020 to 2021 tax year for nurseries. This will apply to the next council tax bill in April 2020. Again, our understanding is that you do not need to apply.


VAT deferral

VAT payments are being deferred from 20th March 2020 until 30th June 2020, so you don’t need to make VAT payments during this period. This applies to all UK businesses. We understand this is an automatic offer and no application is required, but always suggest businesses check with local offices online.


Income tax deferral for the self-employed

For Tax Self-Assessment, payments due on 31st July 2020 have now been deferred until 31st January 2021. We understand this is an automatic offer and no application is required, but always suggest businesses check with local offices online.​

Claim a grant through the coronavirus (COVID-19) Self-employment Income Support Scheme

Use this scheme if you’re self-employed or a member of a partnership and have lost income due to coronavirus. You can find more information here.

Dedicated helpline for tax affairs regarding coronavirus

A dedicated helpline (0800 0159 559) has been created to support self-employed individuals and businesses in financial distress or with outstanding tax liabilities. Businesses may be able to arrange a bespoke Time to Pay arrangement if they’re concerned about not being able to pay their tax on time due to coronavirus.


What steps has NWCS taken to ensure the continuation of services to customers?

All of our team are now working remotely and we are working daily to further develop the diversity and flexibility of teaching programmes and visiting our learners remotely.

I have an apprentice with NWCS. If my business is affected by coronavirus, what help are you able to offer?

We know that many of you will be worried about your business, finances and retention of staff at the moment. If your business has been affected by coronavirus, there are a range of potential options above and we will add to this list as information becomes available. We want to support all customers as best we can and are committed to treating all learners as supportively and equally as possible under the circumstances. ​

Are you still offering apprentice starts to businesses and candidates?

Technically yes. This may look and feel different if you are an existing client of NWCS. We are interviewing candidates who want to work and learn remotely. As always, we will assess each application individually, although it may take longer than normal to provide candidates with a decision at this time. If you are an employer and you are employing someone who would be considered a key worker under the Governments definition then again yes we can support this.

I have an exam scheduled. Will I still be able to sit it?

In some cases yes. We have liaised with our awarding organisations on this matter and have agreed certain circumstances and protocols to enable some examinations and to progress your learning and achievement.

I’m an Apprentice and my employer has laid me off or made me redundant. Will I still be able to complete my Apprenticeship?

See ‘DfE Guidance States’: below and please call us immediately on 0151 521 5888 if you are in a situation of this nature. We are liaising with Government on this matter daily to secure the future of apprenticeships.

DfE Guidance states: 

  • DfE is encouraging training providers to deliver training to apprentices remotely and via e-learning as far as is practicable.

  • Where apprentices are furloughed (granted leave of absence) or placed on unpaid leave, or where the nature of their employment changes and no longer supports their apprenticeship, the apprentice, employer and training provider should consider whether a break in learning would be appropriate.

  • Training can continue for furloughed apprentices.

  • Furloughed apprentices will receive 80% of their wages from the Government, but they cannot undertake any work while they are on furlough.

  • If you are furloughed you can volunteer or train, provided that this does not involve the manufacture or creation of an item or part thereof that can yield revenuer the company, the provision of services to the company, or the provision of any service that can yield revenue for the company. Firms can require workers to undertake training from home, provided it meets the above.

  • Where apprentices are made redundant, the DfE’s ambition is to find them alternative employment and continue their apprenticeship as quickly as possible within 12 weeks.

  • National Living Wage/national Minimum Wage

  • Individuals are only entitled to the national Living Wage (NLW)/National Minimum Wage (NMW) for the hours they are working. Therefore, furloughed workers, who are networking must be paid the lower of 80% of their salary or £2,500 even if, based on their usual working hours, this would be below the NLW/NMW.