Ben James

Break in Learning 'evidence'


Has anyone had an auditor ever ask for evidence of a learner's medical condition if they've been on a break in learning for a prolonged period of time (e.g. a year)?

I was always under the impression that a learner could effectively be on a break for as long as they like (qualification expiration notwithstanding), providing it was mutually agreed with the employer, and that they weren't really under any obligation to provide medical records or substantiation? We'd obviously maintain contact with the apprentice to ensure we know if/when they're coming back, but do we need to be collecting something more?! 


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I mean, nothing more than perhaps a bit of narrative? Feels like a whole pile of GDPR reasons why we *shouldn't* put more than "is off long-term sick" but absolutely not actual medical records or anything...

Is this a real auditor or a minion? Might be another case of the long-established tradition of the sector teaching junior auditors what their job is...

Martin West

While I agree with Steve, the auditor would be looking for evidence to support the funding rules requirement

The apprentice may take a break in learning where they plan to return to the same apprenticeship programme. The decision to take a break in learning, the reason for the break and its expected duration must be agreed with the employer. This could include medical treatment, parental leave or leave for other personal reasons.

For a medical reason (Illness) they would expect you to know the reason and when the employer expects them to return to work and their Apprenticeship as a year is an exceptional long time to be on a BIL for a medical reason.


Ben James

Thank you gents.

For all of our BILs we ensure we capture the information you mentioned Martin, either via email or via our BIL form. In this particular case the learner has some pretty significant health issues which his employer has confirmed/explained to us both at the outset and whenever we reach out to enquire as to whether he is still planning on returning (which we'd done recently as hard close is approaching). 

I must admit it took me aback a little, and I confirmed with the Service Desk who suggested they didn't know of any provision which required we collect further substantiation past what you mentioned Martin.. but as with most queries, I prefer to get a consensus on here too.