Foundation Apprenticeship Learning Providers can view COVID-19 interim measures below, offering advice, support and relevant contact information.


Foundation Apprenticeship arrangements 2021-22 - 8 July, 2021

SQA recently confirmed that the current alternative assessment approaches for Higher National and Vocational Qualifications – put in place to assist centres with the impact of COVID-19 restrictions on teaching, learning and assessment – will continue for session 2021-22. 

SQA and Skills Development Scotland can now confirm that the temporary frameworks developed for Foundation Apprenticeship frameworks in 2020–21 in response to COVID-19 will also continue to be available in 2021-22. 

This ensures that they are available for any learner new starts in 2021-22 and for any returners, to ensure they will complete on that framework. 

This applies to the following temporary frameworks, developed in response to COVID-19: 

  • Social Services and Healthcare (Customised route) 
  • Social Services: Children and Young People (Customised route) 
  • Engineering 

As with the temporary frameworks we can confirm that the customised units, which were introduced as an option alongside SVQ/Diploma units in Foundation Apprenticeship frameworks are available for 2021-22 new starts and returners. 

Full details of these arrangements are available in the following guidance via the SQA website: 

Practitioner guide for partners

The challenges schools and learning providers have faced in their commitment to ensure young people continue to learn and achieve during the pandemic has been unprecedented.

Within education, collaboration across the sector has been vital in our rapid response to create solutions that support learners with completing their qualifications.

To further support we have created a practitioner guide for partners. This guide summarises the support and guidance available to learning providers and schools to support FA learners with completing their qualification over the coming weeks.  If you have any questions on this guide, please get in touch at

Download the guide 

Foundation Apprenticeships support and investment – 22 March, 2021

Foundation Apprenticeships are a vital part of Scotland’s education system, helping young people learn the skills that will support them with their next steps, including moving on to employment and further learning.

These opportunities are important in developing young people’s skills as we move towards recovery and renewal from the pandemic and support young people.

Foundation Apprenticeships give schools, pupils and employers the opportunity to create links that will help rebuild the economy.

The Scottish Government recognises the benefits of work-based learning in school through its ongoing commitment to Foundation Apprenticeships at SCQF Level 6 and further investment in pilot opportunities at SCQF Levels 4 and 5.

SDS will continue to work with you on the development and delivery of Foundation Apprenticeships, to support nationwide uptake, working with schools and learning providers to build awareness with young people and parents on a local level.

SDS and SQA are working together to provide support to all those delivering and benefitting from Foundation Apprenticeships.

Joint work is ongoing to provide learning providers with guidance to help pupils due to finish their Foundation Apprenticeships at the end of 2020/21 Academic Year.

SQA has also written to schools regarding the school/college partnerships on assessments for Vocational Qualifications.

Support is needed from all those involved in the delivery of Foundation Apprenticeships to ensure learners can achieve outcomes.  

SDS recognises the significant challenges local authorities and schools are facing and is supporting FA learning providers in regions to enable Foundation Apprenticeships to be prioritised in timetabling over the next few months to support achievement for learners.

To support learning providers, SQA’s website contains the most up to date guidance on approaches to assessment.

This includes updates to subject specific guidance and a Decision Tree to support centres in determining the appropriate route for assessment of the Group Award, using evidence based professional judgement.

SQA’s Centre Hub also has a dedicated area for centres who are approved to deliver Foundation Apprenticeships.

To ensure that the NQ certificate which learners receive on Results Day on 10 August lists their achievement of the Foundation Apprenticeship, providers should have results on the SQA system by 21 July.  As in previous years, the Foundation Apprenticeship certificates will be issued separately by 10 August.

As we work towards the outcomes for this academic year, further support is available to all our partners. 

Support is available by contacting SQA at and SDS will continue to provide ongoing support at a sectoral and regional level.  SDS has also published guidance on placement options and some examples of industry engagement to support providers.

Individual learners will be able to access support from SDS Career Information, Advice and Guidance advisers based in schools and during results (Results Helpline: 0808 100 8000).

In planning for the next academic year, SDS and SQA is looking forward to working with all those who supported the delivery of adaptations and enhancements of Foundation Apprenticeships.

Significant collaboration across schools, local authorities, employers and learning providers has ensured that Foundation Apprentices will continue to benefit from work based learning, gaining the knowledge and skills identified by employers.

We thank you for your ongoing support and look forward to continued partnership working.

Statement on enhancements to Foundation Apprenticeships at SCQF Level 6

Scotland’s learning system has faced major challenges as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Since COVID-19 restrictions were put in place, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) and Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) have worked with sector skills councils, learning providers and education partners to support completers, returners and new entrants to Foundation Apprenticeships.

As part of ongoing work to support continued delivery of Foundation Apprenticeships, a series of engagements with providers has been held over the last few months to gain feedback and shape shared solutions.

Enhancements have been made to nine of the twelve frameworks for academic year 20/21 with customised units introduced, which provide a broader definition of a workplace in them. This allows for a more flexible approach to the delivery and assessment of work placements and gives greater opportunity for employer engagement.

In addition, five of the 12 frameworks now include a Work-based Challenge Unit, designed to support the development of meta-skills for learners using project based learning. The intention is to introduce this across all frameworks for academic year 21/22.

A solution for the care frameworks has also been agreed with SQA and the Scottish Social Services Council.  This means that two new temporary frameworks have been developed retaining the same or similar learning outcomes from the original frameworks, however removing the requirement for direct work placement. 

As an alternative to attending the workplace, learners will engage in practice-based activity, involving employers, that is aligned to the same knowledge and understanding outcomes of the original frameworks.  It is expected that learners will engage with employers to support their learning throughout and this can take place in various ways.

This work meets the planned strategy for apprenticeship standards and frameworks endorsed by the Scottish Apprenticeship Advisory Board and is part of the evolution of Foundation Apprenticeships to incorporate project-based learning and meta-skills.

In addition, the work also aligns to the progression routes for Foundation Apprenticeship completers into Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships or further and higher education already in place.

SQA has published technical guidance to support providers with delivery and SDS will also produce additional guidance for delivery partners in areas such as placements.

Through on-going consultation and engagement with learning providers and partners, work on enhancements to Foundation Apprenticeships at SCQF Level 6 to support long-term delivery and assessment will continue.

Work-based learning pathways and apprenticeships remain crucial for young people and will help equip them with the skills needed to support Scotland’s economic recovery.