As I’ve mentioned in quite a few of my recent blogs, these are strange times that we currently find ourselves in! There are few businesses out there unaffected by the current Coronavirus situation – over 9 million workers in the UK are expected to be furloughed under the Government’s Job Retention Scheme [1] and over 140,000 companies applying for the scheme on the 20th April 2020, the day it went ‘live’[2].  Many people are understandably concerned about the impact that the current crisis will have on their long-term job prospects, as there is a chance that some businesses will not be able to survive in their current form post-COVID19, and that redundancies will have to be made.  Though it’s a challenging time to focus on anything – let alone important thoughts about the future in terms of jobs and income – it might be worth considering whether now is a convenient and appropriate time to invest in some personal and professional development training to prepare yourself for whatever the future brings, particularly if you find yourself with a little bit more time on your hands than usual if you’ve been furloughed.

If you have been furloughed, have you considered doing some VA-specific training?

If you’ve got administrative skills, marketing knowledge, or digital know-how that could be used to support a business virtually, you’ve already got skills that could be transferable to a freelance business support role should you need to re-think your career over the coming months.  As a result, why not use this time to further develop those skills, as well as learning more about the practicalities of running your own business.

Personal and professional development work is permitted if you have been furloughed – the only caveat is that if your employer has asked you specifically to complete job-focused training:

“Furloughed employees can engage in training, as long as in undertaking the training the employee does not provide services to, or generate revenue for, or on behalf of their organisation or a linked or associated organisation. Furloughed employees should be encouraged to undertake training… Where training is undertaken by furloughed employees, at the request of their employer, they are entitled to be paid at least their appropriate national minimum wage for this time.” 


Further developing your existing skillset (or learning new skills) will not only prove beneficial to your existing employer when you return to work but will also be incredibly useful should you choose to launch your own freelance business delivering remote business support in the future.

What do you need to start a VA business?

Of course, starting a business is a bit more than finding something that you’re great at and then delivering it to customers – there are a number of steps that it’s important to consider that you might not be familiar with if you’ve never run your own business.  You’ll need contracts, insurance (professional indemnity, public liability and cyber insurance, etc.), a network of peers and potential customers, not to mention some marketing know how! It’s times like this when an all-round business course, like APVA’s VA Fastrack programme, is most valuable. Even if you aren’t ready to start up your own freelance business quite yet, by the end of our CPD accredited course (and with the support of monthly Q&A Hotseat calls and a private Facebook group) you’ll be in a much better position to launch a successful and sustainable virtual assistant business if you want to. You’ll also receive all the following business necessities:

  • Brandable VA Contracts
  • Data audit checklist
  • Legitimate Interest Form
  • Data Privacy Policy
  • Cookie Policy
  • GDPR training & support
  • APVA’s Client Management Bundle
  • APVA’s Essential VA Toolkit
  • APVA’s Marketing Bundle
  • APVA’s Legal & Finance Bundle

If you’d love to take this time to develop your skills, but are concerned that your daily motivation levels swing wildly between productivity master (think back-to-back YouTube exercise classes followed by a Marie Kondo inspired declutter and deep clean, followed by gourmet baking and an evening of macramé) and heavily distracted goldfish – both of which are wholly acceptable and understandable during this period of self-isolation – the VA Fastrack programme could fit in perfectly.  You can complete the course in your own time and at your own pace, and from the comfort and security of your own home.

If you’d like to find out more about our VA Fastrack Programme, or any of the other training programmes we have available here at APVA, please visit our website today: or get in touch for more information by emailing: or messaging via one of our social channels. We’re here to help!

Stay safe everyone!