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Monday 11th May 2020 – Covid-19 Client Update

Monday 11th May 2020 – Client Update

Dear Valued Client

Further to the most recent update from the Government yesterday evening.  Measures remain strictly in place for many of us and we wanted to keep you up to date with how we are operating.

ASAT Ltd remain committed to all its clients and learners during Covid – 19.  We are continuously reviewing our working procedures in line with Government requirements.  Our head office remains closed with our office based team getting used to a new way of working from home and continue to provide an excellent customer support network and are still dealing with the day to day operations of our company.

Our field-based team are also working from home and are maintaining an excellent standard of learning to all apprentices and learners.

There has been a high volume of information for businesses and individuals in recent weeks, but we wanted to provide you with some helpful information that you may find useful and to update you on ASAT Ltd.’s continuing services.

We hope you are keeping safe and well during this time.  If you need anything, or have any queries, please do not hesitate to contact us.

It is business as usual for the ASAT Ltd team, we are still enrolling new learners, advertising vacancies for existing clients and still receiving enquiries from new clients, we have applicants still applying for advertised vacancies and continue to provide these services during Covid-19.  We are aware the priority for many businesses is not recruiting staff currently, however, if you have any vacancies you wish to advertise or any member of staff you would like to discuss regarding enrolling on a qualification, please do get in touch and we can support you with this process.

ASAT Ltd  are continuing to deliver apprentice and learner training, we have a fully operational delivery team using an on-line learning platform (e-portfolio), to ensure progression, learning and teaching is still being undertaken.  Many of you, our valued clients, have been extremely supportive with encouraging learners to continue with their qualifications and we wanted to thank you for your support. 

This is an excellent opportunity for learners to advance through their qualifications, also to have focused time to revise for mandatory exams.  Our plan is to ensure learners continue to gain knowledge towards their qualifications during this time, so no learner falls behind and to ensure timely achievements are still obtainable.  This does require full commitment from each learner, which to date we have had an excellent response and demonstrates the level of commitment each of our learners has towards their qualifications.

When delivery returns to normal, the e – portfolio system will continue to be used, alongside face to face visits.  Many learners have mandatory exams that currently cannot take place, this is due to regulating bodies limiting invigilation of on-line exams.  We have been informed these cannot be undertaken remotely at this current time. 

In addition, many learners require mandatory observations in practice, that currently cannot be carried out.

Both exams and observations are still required, and these will be a priority when we are able to resume face to face appointments.

The regulating bodies are constantly updating us with measures they are adapting due to Covid-19 and should any of these measures surrounding exams and observations change, we will inform you as soon as possible and work with you and the learners to move forward with these.

We continue to evaluate our delivery in line with governing body requirements, and review constantly our support for learners during this time. 

The team are here to support you and all learners as much as possible, these are difficult times that we all face together, so if we can be of any help please contact us.

DIGITAL SUPPORT FOR LEARNERS

The link below is information on a campaign designed to support those who don’t have access to the Internet and are digitally excluded during COVID-19.  This may be useful to any learner that does not have access to a laptop/tablet etc.  Please pass this on to anyone it may be of use to. 

https://futuredotnow.uk

GOVERNMENT ANNOUNCES “BOUNCE BACK” LOANS STARTING 4th MAY

The Government has announced a new 100% Government backed loan scheme for small businesses.

Small businesses will benefit from a new fast-track finance scheme providing loans with a 100% government-backed guarantee for lenders, the Chancellor announced yesterday.

Rishi Sunak said the new Bounce Back Loans scheme, which will provide loans of up to £50,000, would help bolster the existing package of support available to the smallest businesses affected by the coronavirus pandemic.

  • Businesses will be able to borrow between £2,000 and £50,000 and access the cash within days.
  • Loans will be interest free for the first 12 months, and businesses can apply online through a short and simple form.
  • Loan terms will be up to 6 years.
  • No repayments will be due during the first 12 months.

The scheme will launch for applications on Monday 4 May. Businesses will be able to access these loans through a network of accredited lenders.

The government will work with lenders to ensure loans delivered through this scheme are advanced as quickly as possible and agree a low standardised level of interest for the remaining period of the loan:

ELIGIBILITY

You can apply for a loan if your business:

  • is based in the UK
  • has been negatively affected by coronavirus
  • was not an ‘undertaking in difficulty’ on 31 December 2019.

WHO CANNOT APPLY

The following businesses are not eligible to apply:

  • banks, insurers and reinsurers (but not insurance brokers)
  • public-sector bodies
  • further-education establishments if they are grant-funded
  • state-funded primary and secondary schools
  • if you are already claiming under the Coronavirus Business Interruption Loan Scheme (CBILS).

More information about the scheme will be published shortly.

Further details see: https://www.gov.uk/guidance/apply-for-a-coronavirus-bounce-back-loan

NEW GUARANTEE ON DEATH IN SERVICE BENEFITS FOR FRONTLINE HEALTH AND CARE STAFF DURING PANDEMIC

New life assurance scheme launched for eligible frontline health and care workers during the coronavirus pandemic.

The families of health and care workers on the frontline in England will benefit from a life assurance scheme during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

  • Families of eligible workers who die from coronavirus in the course of their frontline essential work will receive a £60,000 payment
  • Scheme will cover frontline NHS staff and social care workers in England
  • Funding will also be provided to devolved administrations to support similar schemes in Scotland, Wales and Northern Ireland

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/news/

FIND OUT IF YOUR BUSINESS IS ELIGIBLE TO RECEIVE GOVERNMENT SUPPORT

You may be eligible for loans, tax relief and cash grants. Use the business support finder to see what support is available for you and your business.

See: https://www.gov.uk/business-coronavirus-support-finder

FRAUD AND CYBER CRIME

Fraud and cyber crime are on the increase during this time.

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications

The Government has issued advice and guidance on how to protect yourself and your business from fraud and cybercrime.

The guidance suggests protecting yourself by:

Stop

Taking a moment to stop and think before parting with your money or information could keep you safe.

Challenge

Consider if it could be fake – it is ok to reject, refuse or ignore any requests – only criminals will try to rush or panic you.

The police, or your bank, will never ask you to withdraw money or transfer it to a different account – they will also never ask you to reveal your full banking password or PIN.

Do not click on links or attachments in unexpected or suspicious texts or emails.

Confirm requests are genuine by using a known number or email address to contact organisations directly.

Protect

Contact your bank immediately if you think you have fallen for a scam and report it to Action Fraud. 

To keep yourself secure online, ensure you are using the latest software, apps and operating systems on your phones, tablets and laptops – update these regularly or set your devices to automatically update so you do not have to worry.

Visit Take Five for more advice on how to protect yourself from fraud and Cyber Aware for advice on how to keep yourself secure online – https://takefive-stopfraud.org.uk/

How to protect your business

The guidance suggests:

Stop

If you receive a request to make an urgent payment, change supplier bank details, or provide financial information, take a moment to stop and think.

Challenge

It could be a fake – verify all payments and supplier details directly with the company on a known phone number or in person first.

Protect

Contact your business’s bank immediately if you think you have been scammed and report it to Action Fraud.

National Cyber Security Centre

The National Cyber Security Centre also has advice on how to keep your business secure online: https://www.ncsc.gov.uk/

  • Self-employed and sole traders: advice to protect your business and the technology you rely on
  • Small and medium-sized organisations: advice for businesses, charities, clubs and schools with up to 250 employees – you are likely to fall into this category if you do not have a dedicated team internally to manage your cyber security
  • Large organisations: security advice for businesses, charities and critical national infrastructure with more than 250 employees – you are likely to have a dedicated team managing your cyber security.

ENGLAND – GRANT FUNDING LOCAL AUTHORITY PAYMENTS TO SMALL AND MEDIUM BUSINESSES

The Government has released a spreadsheet outlining the total amount of money that each local authority in England has received from central government and distributed to SMEs to date

This covers 2 coronavirus grant schemes:

  • Small Business Grants Fund (SBGF) scheme
  • Retail, Hospitality and Leisure Business Grants Fund (RHLGF)

See: https://www.gov.uk/government/publications/

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