Training Providers can view COVID-19 FAQs below, offering advice, support and relevant contact information for the Employability Fund.

These FAQs were last updated on 19/11/2020.

Support measures

What is SDS doing to support providers?

SDS continues to work closely with awarding bodies, partners and Scottish Government to quickly respond to issues arising from the pandemic to support providers, apprentices, young people and employers.

We have written to providers to express our commitment to supporting and protecting training provision in Scotland.

Where can I find information about available online learning?

SDS has introduced an Online Learning Portal in response to COVID-19, connecting people with thousands of free-to-access online learning materials. Working closely with learning providers, additional resources will be added in the coming weeks and months.  

SDS has also been in communication with College Development Network which has offered to open its CPD support to providers for free until the end of the COVID-19 pandemic.  

CDN LearnOnline resources can be accessed by registering on the site.  

There are a number of courses and resources relating to learning and teaching practice, wellbeing (including mental wellbeing) and leadership. 

The Federation for Industry Sector Skills & Standards (FISSS) has also launched a COVID-19 Apprenticeship Portal.  

Initially, this will be used to complete an open-ended survey of all training providers who are registered as using the FISSS online certification systems, and of all SSC/SSB members.   

Responses will be used to identify and share innovative ways to keep training and assessment going, wherever possible, during the current lockdown period by using technology and other remote solutions.  Examples of innovation and best practice will be shared via a new free to access portal on the FISSS website.

As a business, what kind of support is available to me and my staff?

The SDS website has information about business support through the impacts of COVID-19. Information with links includes managing business, supporting staff and access to funding. Go to business support.

For information on how you can support your employee's physical and mental well-being during this time, please see Supporting your staff through Covid-19.

I have some participants who are feeling stressed or anxious, how can I support them?

The SDS website has information about business support through the impacts of COVID-19. Information with links includes managing business, supporting staff and access to funding. Go to business support.

For information on how you can support your employee's physical and mental well-being during this time, please see Supporting your staff through Covid-19.

Delivery guidance

I am a Provider operating in Tier 4, how does this impact the way training is delivered?

Scottish Government have advised that exemptions for education and work remains in place. However, providers in Tier 4 areas are advised to consider face to face delivery and travel very carefully to ensure it is minimised as much as possible. As with all delivery in any Tier, adhering to social distancing, improved hygiene measures and other COVID-19 rules must remain in place.

Should learning providers continue to deliver training at this time?

We encourage everyone – providers, employers and individuals – to follow Government guidelines on Coronavirus.   

The Scottish Government’s latest information and advice is available online at: Public health advice can be found at: Coronavirus (COVID-19) on NHS Inform.   
Providers should also consider how they might adapt their delivery and assessment practice wherever circumstances will allow and in accordance with Awarding Body/assessment strategy guidance. 

Are you able to provide guidance on Self-Assessment / Quality Action Plan submissions?

While we would like you to complete a Self-Assessment / Quality Action Plan we understand that for some of our providers this will be extremely difficult given the current circumstances.  

We realise you will have to prioritise your business activity and you should contact the QA mailbox ( with any request to delay your submission.  

The Quality Assurance team are working from home and have the systems and technology in place to allow them to engage and communicate internally as a team and externally with our customers should you wish to talk to them.

Are you able to provide guidance on quality reviews?

Following the recent Government advice regarding COVID-19, SDS have taken the decision to postpone all Quality Assurance Review visits for 2020-21 until further notice. In the meantime, your linked Quality Assessor is available to provide support during this difficult time with any issues you may be experiencing.  

We continue to monitor the situation on an on-going basis and will communicate any further changes in circumstances as they arise, through our website and/or directly to you from the quality team. 

What happens in instances where apprentices/participants are unable to participate in virtual learning (e.g by Skype)?

These participants will be able to resume their learning when the COVID-19 restrictions are lifted.

SDS are currently developing guidance for EF Providers to support this transition.

Evidence Guidance

I'm unable to meet the published KPLS due to COVID-19, what should I do?

We appreciate that the business effects of COVID-19 will mean that the KPLs for 2020/21 contracts are unlikely to be met. We will review the situation over the forthcoming months and will issue further guidance.

Awarding Body and Accreditation Guidance

Where can I keep up to date with information and support from the regulatory and awarding bodies?

SQA Accreditation is the regulatory body for SVQs in Scotland. It has identified what quality principles have to be followed by Awarding Bodies that offer SVQs and other qualificationsVisit the SQA Accreditation website for more information.  

City and Guilds Awarding Body has put in place a full section relating to COVID-19 with free enhanced distance learning packages that anybody can register and request (even if you are not a C&G centre).  

SQA Awarding Body is updating its website regularly on Coronavirus.  SQA has a site U-share where there may be available signposted resources to support your delivery.  

In addition, SDS has produced a guide to support training providers to make confident decisions about what can and cannot be done to meet Awarding Body quality assurance requirements, in terms of altering delivery and assessment practice to minimise the impact of the current pandemic on apprentice journeys. The guide can be found in the Improvement Hub under Provider CPD. 

SDS COVID-19 Relief Grant

Can I apply if my business is gaining other financial COVID-19 relief including furlough?

Yes, however, the Scottish Government policy intention is that this relief measure should add value to existing UK or Scottish Government COVID-19 relief funding.  Providers must make a self-declaration stating that the SDS relief funding is not being used for the same underlying costs covered by other Covid-19 relief measures.  

Can I apply for relief to cover April, May and June after the 30 June deadline given for the initial offer?

No, the extension period enables eligible contracted providers to apply for relief for the months of July and August only.

How can providers demonstrate they are working with 60%+ of individuals or employers to be eligible to apply?

The simple to use template application form provided should enable providers to demonstrate that they are eligible.  

Can I claim for all three months?

Those providers who meet the grant conditions for all three months will be eligible. 

When will I hear if an application has been successful?

SDS will endeavour to review applications as quickly as possible.

How do I get support for my application?

The Guidance provides support to complete an application, a link to a presentation will also be made available and any questions should be submitted to


Why do I need to provide my company’s financial information?

The funding has been made available through the Temporary Framework for State Aid Measures to Support the Economy in the Current Covid-19 Outbreak and so has to adhere to the financial information requirements needed for all State Aid funding applications.

Why is the scheme not available to all MA and EF learning and training providers?

The Scottish Government’s policy intention is to support those providers who are continuing to deliver contracted services to learners, apprentices and employers during the pandemic. 

It has been created to add value to existing UK and Scottish Government support and those providers who are not eligible are encouraged to consider the other forms of support available. 

Why are existing payments discounted from the capped amount?

In the case of MAs, due to the payment plan requirements allied to the framework demands, as well as the effects of the pandemic, some providers are continuing to deliver contracted services but unable to claim milestone payments. The relief offers a means of supporting providers in such a situation.   


What effect does this have on my contract?

The payments will be deducted from your overall contract value.

Further queries

I have some questions that are not currently answered by these FAQs – who can support me?

If you have any questions or issues not addressed by the guidance on this page, please contact your SIA in the first instance otherwise please email