APPRENTICE ENGAGEMENT - 2023/2024
This procedure applies to all UEA apprentices and covers what you can expect if UEA has concerns about your absence from classes, missed coursework submission or other indications that you are not engaging satisfactorily with your apprenticeship.
The University recognises that the reasons for a lack of engagement will vary greatly from student to student and the exact details of how the University works with you to address this will be informed by each apprentices’ particular circumstances.
It also covers what you can expect if there are issues which may be affecting your own safety or where your behaviour may be impacting on the welfare of other students and staff.
It covers what steps UEA will put in place to help you to improve your engagement.
This document should be read in conjunction with General Regulation 13, Engagement, which sets out the engagement regulations you must abide by.
There are other documents which you may wish to refer to. In particular your Apprenticeship Training Plan and the Student Partnership Agreement which provides an overview of UEA's and students’ mutual responsibilities and obligations in establishing an outstanding and vibrant community of learning.
If you have any queries about this procedure please contact your Academic Adviser, your LTS Hub, Student Services or the SU Advice Centre.
The University of East Anglia (UEA) recognises that studying at university can, at times, be difficult and stressful. The University will endeavour to support you at those times when personal difficulties hinder your ability to engage with your studies and university life.
All areas of UEA have a part to play in creating and maintaining a culture which promotes positive mental health and wellbeing and supports your learning and teaching to help you to succeed in your studies and enrich your university experience.
UEA has a diverse, inclusive and compassionate community among staff and students, one which supports you to disclose difficulties, and provides you with support, advice and guidance tailored to your needs. In signposting and working with key services, UEA is committed to providing you with consistent support, helping to ensure that no student feels left behind.
Working in partnership with the Students' Union, UEA is committed to regularly evaluating its procedures to ensure that student wellbeing is a priority and ensuring that staff have the appropriate training for their roles.
The extent of your engagement with university life will depend on your individual circumstances; however, all apprentices are expected to behave in a way which does not prevent you or others in the wider community from participating in academic and social pursuits in a safe and legal manner.
You are expected to read emails sent to you by the University within 48 hours and to action any requests contained in the emails, provided that you are in a position to do so.
You are expected to engage with your academic study by:
- Attending and participating in all teaching events and activities required as part of your course
- Participating in all assessments, formative and summative, including preparation, submission and reflection on any assessment feedback;
- Attending meetings arranged with your Apprenticeship Adviser
- Preparing for and attending progress review meetings (scheduled approximately every twelve weeks) with your Apprenticeship Adviser and Employer Mentor and completing all required documentation. If you cannot attend a progress review meeting it should be rearranged within two weeks
- Record attendance using the method outlined at induction by your School of Study.
- Completing any Off the Job learning logs as required for your programme of study and submitting these monthly.
If you are unable to attend a timetabled teaching event, either in person or online, you must inform UEA via the online absence reporting system; guidance is available.
If you have an absence that means that you will not engage with your apprenticeship in any given calendar month or more or you need to be absent from your studies or employment for any calendar month or more you must apply for a Break in Learning via eVision, where you may be asked to provide supporting evidence for the break. The length of your break will be added to the end of your planned end date to ensure you have time to complete your apprenticeship. The break needs to be agreed by your employer and the university. Upon returning to study, you will need to meet with your Advisor. A break in learning may result in a change of cohort to align the delivery of the remaining programme. During any break in learning you must not attend any teaching events, submit work or participate in a progress review.
If you have an extenuating circumstance, such as a personal difficulty or health problem, which has a significantly negative impact on your capacity to perform in any assessment, you should follow the Extenuating Circumstances (Taught Programmes) Policy and Regulations so that a remedy or adjustment can be put in place.
If you are enrolled on a programme of study that may lead to admission to a regulated profession overseen by a Professional, Statutory or Regulatory body, not engaging with your course may be considered under General Regulation 14, Professional misconduct and/or unsuitability/fitness to practice and Disciplinary Procedures Part F paragraph 5.
UEA monitors your engagement with your studies so that any engagement difficulties can be identified and you can be supported as quickly as possible. It will monitor engagement through a combination of:
- Your attendance at teaching events relevant to your course
- Your assessment submissions
- Your marks achieved in your assessments.
- Completion of Off the Job Learning Logs
- Attendance at Progress Review Meetings
This monitoring will be carried out by relevant people from your School, Student Services Faculty Embedded Team and the Learning and Teaching Service.
In addition to potential lack of engagement identified through the routine monitoring detailed above, a member of staff will meet with you if:
- The extent and severity of extenuating circumstances you have reported suggest that you need additional support
- A member of staff or other concerned individual raises their concerns about you.
Whilst any stage of the engagement process is being completed you may be placed on a forced Break in Learning and interruption from your apprenticeship if your lack of engagement has put you in breach of Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) Apprenticeship funding rules. You and your employer will be informed of the reason for any break in learning.
If UEA has concerns about your potential lack of engagement and the possible implications on you and your studies, you will be contacted by the Faculty Embedded Administrators to remind you of where you can access support to help with your engagement. As an apprentice your employer will also receive a copy of this communication. If it appears that this does not resolve your engagement, a meeting will be arranged, as described below. These steps are to help you and if you are invited to a meeting you must attend, either remotely e.g. via Microsoft Teams, or in person. At these meetings:
- Staff will discuss with you why UEA is concerned about you
- You will have the opportunity to talk about any problems you are having which are affecting your engagement
- Together, we will discuss what actions you can follow to improve your engagement
- A brief summary of actions will be recorded on eVision and will be available for you to view on the 'Adviser Meeting' section of your student information. This information will also be shared with your employer.
- If there are serious concerns about your wellbeing and the potential impact on yourself and/or others, there may be an immediate need to discuss your situation in an 'Ability to Engage' Panel meeting.
If your attendance and engagement has not improved following initial contact from the Faculty Embedded Administrator, you will be invited to meet with someone from your School such as your Academic/Apprenticeship Adviser or the School Engagement Officer.
- This is your opportunity to discuss issues affecting your engagement with your studies and what steps you and UEA can put in place to support you. To ensure we can give you the help you need, you will need to tell us what is preventing your engagement
- You will be reminded of the academic, learning and teaching support available
- You will be reminded of the requirements of engagement on your course and the potential impact of not keeping up to date with course content and submissions
- If a welfare concern is identified as the reason, you will be referred to a Welfare Engagement Meeting
- We will agree actions to improve your attendance and catch up with missed work
- A summary of actions will be recorded on e:Vision through the Adviser Meeting Task and shared with your employer
If you do not attend the meeting, without a good reason for your absence, you will be referred to your Head of School for consideration of further action and a copy of this referral sent to the UEA Apprenticeships Team. A Head of School meeting outcome may involve referral to Senate Student Discipline Committee (SSDC) under general regulation 13.
Where a welfare concern has been identified, the Faculty Embedded Team will consider what course of action to take to best support you. This may be a meeting with you to discuss your engagement and welfare concerns and possible solutions. You will meet with Wellbeing Adviser, and if appropriate other people may be asked to attend, such as your Academic Adviser, Senior Adviser, a member of LTS, or your relative. They will discuss with you in more detail the issues affecting your welfare and wellbeing, and possible actions to help and support you, and improve your engagement.
The Welfare Engagement meeting should cover:
- Presenting concern
- How long it has been going on
- How it is affecting your academic studies
- How it is affecting your daily life
- What you have tried so far to address the concern and has there been any success
- How motivated does you feel to address the concern
- What your understanding is of the potential impact on your studies and daily life if you do not address it
- Assessment of risk and safety plan if required
- Discussion and presentation of actions/interventions with you.
It is important that you participate and engage with the process; if you think it would be helpful you can bring a friend along or ask to speak to a member of staff privately. If you do not participate in the process you may be in breach of University regulations which results in a disciplinary process which could require your withdrawal from your course and the University.
Following the discussions, we will agree the most appropriate outcome for your situation. This might be an Action Plan or some time away from your studies:
An Engagement Action Plan designed to address any welfare or wellbeing issues
- This will be shared with you and with those staff at UEA and your employer responsible for your student record and for supporting you.
- If you have any queries or concerns about your Engagement Plan you should contact the person you met with, or a member of Student Services, to discuss your concerns and agree a way forward.
Your engagement will continue to be monitored and if it does not improve you will be contacted for a review.
Consideration and application to interrupt your studies if your difficulties are such that some time away from the university would be helpful.
Referral to an Ability to Engage Meeting.
If you are not engaging and there are no health or other mitigating circumstance to explain your non-engagement, your case would be referred to your Head of School for potential disciplinary action in accordance with General Regulation 13. This may involve referral to the Senate Student Discipline Committee and your withdrawal from UEA. Information about this is available in the University Disciplinary and Investigative Procedures and Powers, Part F: Senate Student Discipline Committee, Paragraph 5.
If you do not attend the Meeting without good reason your case would be referred to your Head of School for potential disciplinary action in accordance with General Regulation 13.
If there are serious concerns about your wellbeing and its potential impact on yourself and/or others, there may be an immediate need to discuss your situation in an ‘Ability to Engage’ Panel meeting. This can happen at any point in the engagement process. The aim of the meeting is to have a constructive discussion about what is best for you in your present circumstances.
It has an outcome of either enforced interruption to study or referral to a Welfare Engagement Meeting; students will not be referred to any discipline procedures associated with non-engagement as a result of this Ability to Engage meeting.
The Panel Meeting
You will be informed of the meeting arrangements and who will be on the Panel at least 5 working days in advance of the meeting; normally it is the Director of Student Services acting as Chair, the Head of Student Services (Wellbeing), and your Head of School, with secretarial support. If you think it would be helpful you can bring a friend or SU Adviser along to the meeting.
The Panel members will discuss their concerns with you and may ask you further questions and will give you the opportunity to inform the Panel of anything you want them to take into consideration. The Panel will meet on their own after meeting with you, to consider which outcome would be most appropriate for you in the circumstances.
- Where the Panel regards the continuation of your studies to pose a significant risk to yourself and/or others or it considers that your ability to engage is sufficiently undermined by your current circumstances it will enforce a mandatory period of interruption. The interruption period would be no longer than 12 months in the first instance, but your return would be dependent on you being fit to return to your studies so may be extended
- Where the Panel is satisfied that your ability to engage is not impaired to such a degree that a mandatory interruption is appropriate, the case shall be referred to a Welfare Engagement Meeting, and that meeting will be held with you as soon as possible and within 10 working days. That meeting will determine how best you can be supported in continuing your studies and what ongoing monitoring may be required to ensure that your ability to engage is kept under review for as long as the relevant concerns persist.
You will be notified of the Panel’s decision in writing within 5 working days of the date of the meeting.
As a follow up to the Panel’s decision to enforce a period of interruption, the School should discuss the implications for the student’s academic programme with the LTS Hub and Apprenticeship team. Together, the School, LTS and Apprenticeship teams will decide on which modules you will study on your return, and any regulation implications, and inform you as soon as possible, ideally at the same time as the Decision Letter.
Return to Study following an interruption
You may return to study following a period of required interruption provided that UEA is satisfied that the issues giving rise to the interruption have been satisfactorily addressed. This will involve a review of your case and current circumstances before your return, and will be subject to satisfactory occupational health clearance. If you have evidence to support your return earlier than the date stipulated by the Panel, this will be considered.
Your return may be subject to academic conditions for return such as the need to repeat some or all of the course of study and a Welfare Engagement Meeting on your return to agree an Engagement Action Plan for your continued support.
Apprentices return to study will also be subject to the apprentice still meeting all ESFA funding rules.
Any interruption and return is subject to limitation set out in UEA regulations regarding length of study (length of course plus two years).
Appealing the Outcome of the Ability to Engage PanelYou have a right to a second opinion regarding the Panel’s outcome. Your case would be reviewed by the University Physician at your request if you disagreed with the outcome.
You may seek independent advice on this process via the Students’ Union’s advice service, who are an impartial team of trained and experienced advisers. The service provides free and confidential advice and representation on a range of issues relating to student life, including all university procedures, housing, consumer and employment rights, money, and welfare issues. The students’ union is completely independent of the University, and therefore is without conflict of interest. You can find the contact details for the students’ union’s advice service on their website.