Modern Apprenticeship Training Providers can view COVID-19 FAQs below, offering advice, support and relevant contact information.

These FAQs were last updated on 23/03/2020.

 

What is SDS doing to support providers?

In response to the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic, Skills Development Scotland (SDS) continues to consider and agree measures to reduce disruption to contract holders, employers and apprentices in the delivery of Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships, and the Employability and National Third Sector Funds.  
 
We will continue to keep providers updated on changes or additional guidance and measures as this information becomes available

Should 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: gov.scot/coronavirus. Public health advice can be found at: Coronavirus (COVID-19) on NHS Inform.  

Confirmation of staff who are classed as key workers is available on the Scottish Government website.

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.

Should providers continue to upload MA start information onto FIPS?

Yes, providers must continue to input all MA start information to FIPS, keep all documentation required, and ensure these are available to upload to FIPS on request.   
 
It is especially important to register any apprentices who have been made redundant, as this information is passed to the PACE team who will then contact the individual with advisory support.  
 
This will also enable SDS to track labour and training market conditions and inform Scottish Government and other stakeholders.

How can MA start documentation be completed if a face-to-face meeting with the employer or individual is not possible?

If providers are unable to conduct meetings with apprentices and/or employers face-to face due to the Coronavirus pandemic, SDS has relaxed the MA specification and conditions to allow these meetings via video conferencing/Skype/face time or telephone.   
 
Please visit our dedicated SDS COVID-19 Response for MA Training Providers webpage for full details on the options that are available to you and for specific guidance on capturing signatures.

Are you able to provide guidance on how Participant Quarterly Progress Reviews will be completed?

The interim measures on the SDS COVID-19 Response for Training Providers webpage have been expanded and can now be applied for the completion of Participant Quarterly Progress Reviews. 

Are you able to provide guidance on how SOARs should be evidenced?

SDS is working with SQA and other Awarding Bodies to identify potential flexibilities in assessment requirements to support SOAR payment plans. We will update you as soon as plans are confirmed.

Are you able to provide guidance on how MA Outcome Payments should be evidenced?

The Federation for Industry Sector Skills & Standards (FISSS) provided guidance to training providers on 26/3 regarding interim measures in place from w/c 30 March to ensure that they are still able to submit a claim for their Apprenticeship certificate on behalf of apprentices and receive confirmation that completion has been successfully approved.  

At the moment, Sector Bodies will continue to process certification claims in the usual manner and, if everything is in order, the Apprentice's status will be changed to "Approved". At this point, the system will automatically generate an Apprenticeship Achievement Confirmation e-mail to the relevant Centre.  This e-mail will contain all of the relevant Apprentice data and details of the Apprenticeship achieved. It will also confirm the date of achievement approval. A copy of the Apprentice achievement notification will be sent to the specific system user submitting the certification claim and also the Centre Admin User account.  

In the interim, the e-mail notification can be used to confirm Apprenticeship achievement with the individual Apprentice, their Employer and relevant Funding Bodies etc.  All printed certificates will be generated and despatched once business operations are able to return to normal. 

FSSS will send out a further notification to confirm when this interim measure is operational.  

Should you have any further questions or require additional support then, in the first instance, please contact your relevant Sector Body.  A full list of Sector Body contacts can be found here.

You can also contact the Federation for Industry Sector Skills and Standards via maonline@fisss.org or by calling 0300 303 4444.  

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 ongoing basis and will communicate any further changes in circumstances as they arise, through our website and/or directly to you from the Quality Assurance team.

What other options for training delivery are available to providers?

We recognise that the ongoing Coronavirus pandemic will impact on services and ask providers, where possible, to investigate alternative means of offering training such as by Skype. More guidance on interim training delivery arrangements can be found at our dedicated SDS COVID-19 Response for Training Providers webpage. 
 

We are able to continue to deliver training virtually but what do we do about employers pausing their apprenticeships?

We recognise that many employers may be currently unable to continue their support of apprenticeship delivery as before. SDS continues to liaise with Scottish Government colleagues regarding measures to support providers and apprentices during this uncertain time and will continue to provide you with updates.

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

In line with the assessment strategy, these apprentices will be able to resume their learning once they are back in the workplace. 

We are aware of apprentices whose start dates have been delayed directly due to the Coronavirus pandemic. Will these apprentices be able to start later in the year?

Yes, we expect that these apprentices will be able to start – provided all pre-apprenticeship documentation has been completed and their employer is able to resume their apprenticeship. 
 

What other measures are being put in place to support us?

SDS is in discussion with Scottish Government regarding further measures to support the provider base and sustain the apprenticeship and employability training infrastructure.

There are also wider discussions between the UK and Scottish Governments about what business support packages may become available in the near future.       

 
We appreciate the urgency of the situation, and as you will appreciate, these matters are complex. We hope to update you further as soon as we can.

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 email NTPContracts@sds.co.uk