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

COVID Interim Measures are short term measures to support Providers to continue delivering their services. Interim Measures are not included in the Modern Apprenticeship Specification and Condition documents. All COVID measures are published on this page.

Where Providers can still meet their obligations as detailed in the MA Specification 21/22, they should continue to do this. COVID Interim Measures should only be used as a last resort for Providers who are unable to meet the published Specification and Conditions due to COVID.

The COVID Interim Measures are in place from 1st April 2021 until 31st March 2022. You can view the MA Specification and Conditions for 21/22 on our website. Please ensure you review these documents.

Providers must continue to input all information to FIPS timeously, keep all documentation required, and ensure these are available to upload to FIPS on request. 

Furloughed employees can continue with their Modern Apprenticeship and they are also eligible to start a new Modern Apprenticeship.

Please read Section 3.9 of the MA Specification for 21/22 to see what we accept for signatures.

If Providers are unable to gain signatures in the ways listed in the Specification, then as a last resort, they should follow the guidance below:  

The Provider must send an email to the Apprentice or Employer with the relevant E-Mail Confirmation Statement (found below) and the relevant document attached or inserted to the email.

The provider can send all relevant documents and email confirmations statements within the one email.

There must be prior contact with both parties to collect the information to enable the documentation to be fully completed.

This sent email acts as the Providers signature for the named document(s). Where both the Apprentice and Employers signature are required on the named document(s), this can be sent as one e-mail to both signatories.

The Apprentice and/or Employer must then positively respond to the email to confirm they have read, understood and contributed as appropriate to each named document. This email acts as the Apprentice and/or Employers signature and must be retained with the named document as evidence.

The email must be from a unique email address as outlined in the MA Specification (see 4.2.3) for 21/22 and the MA FAQs.

The named document is not compliant unless accompanied with the relevant e-mail confirmation statement

If you have ESF tagged recipients, please see additional ESF instructions in the ESF Tab.

Providers are required to use the following statements for each document:

Training Agreement 21/22
Required signatures: Apprentice, Employer and Provider signature  

Description: This email contains the Training Agreement for the Apprenticeship. If you respond positively to this email you confirm that you will undertake the Apprenticeship with the support of your Provider and that you have read and understood the agreement. 

Equalities Monitoring Form 21/22 
Required signatures: Apprentice signature 

Description: This email contains the Equalities Monitoring Form. If you respond positively to this email you confirm that you have read and completed this and understand that for equality monitoring purposes, the Provider will input the information to an SDS system and then destroy the hard copy of the form.    Your data will be held securely and confidentially, and will only be used for reporting purposes, further information can be found in the SDS Privacy Notice.   

Eligibility Declaration for Enhanced Funding – Modern Apprentices aged 20-29 (Disability and/or Care Experienced) 21/22 
Required signatures: Apprentice and Provider signature  

Required action: You must upload both the email confirmation and the form to FIPS.

Description: This email contains the Eligibility Declaration for Enhanced Funding – Modern Apprentices aged 20-29 (Disability and/or Care Experienced). By replying positively to this email, you confirm that you have completed this form to self-disclose that you are Disabled and/or Care Experienced and that you require the support described by your Provider to help you achieve and sustain your Apprenticeship.  

Apprentice Progress Review documentation (including those for QPR - either SDS 21/22 Exemplars or your own documents, approved by your SIA) 
Required signatures: Apprentice, Employer and Provider signature  

Description: This email contains an Apprentice Progress Review for the Apprenticeship. If you respond positively to this email, you confirm that you have reviewed the progress of the Apprenticeship with the support of your Provider and that you have read and agree with the progress review. 

Summary of Achievement Record documentation (either SDS 21/22 Exemplar or your own document, approved by your SIA) 
Required signatures: Apprentice and Assessor signature  

Description: This email contains the Summary of Achievement Record (SOAR) for the Apprenticeship. If you respond positively to this email, you confirm that you have achieved the milestone and that you have read and agree with the SOAR.

Record of Progress Documentation  
Required signatures: Apprentice and Assessor signature  

Description: This email contains the Record of Progress for the Apprenticeship. If you respond positively to this email, you confirm that you have made progress in the stated subject area and that you have read and agree with the Record of Progress.

Apprentice Transition Plan (ATP)

Required signatures: Apprentice and Provider signature

Description: This email contains the Apprentice Transition Plan. If you respond positively to this email, you confirm you have read and understood the contents of the form and that you wish to receive support to assist you in taking the next steps in your career or learning journey.

ATP Access Fund

Required signatures: Apprentice and Provider signature

Description: This email contains the ATP Access Fund form. If you respond positively to this email, you confirm you have read, understood and agree with the declarations and the fund requirements.

Adopt an Apprentice

Required signatures: Apprentice, Provider and Employer signature

Description: This email contains the Adopt an Apprentice Funding Agreement. If you respond positively to this email, you confirm you have read, understood and agree with the declarations and the fund requirements.

If Providers, Apprentices or Employers are unable to undertake Quarterly Progress Reviews (QPRs – also known as Apprentice Progress Reviews for Quarterly Progress Payment Plans) in line with the Modern Apprenticeship Specification 21/22 they can suspend activity without penalty.  

Due to COVID-19, the Employer signature can be obtained outwith the published timescales but a claim cannot be made until all signatures (please see “Alternatives to Signatures” for further detail) are gathered. Please note it is only the Employer who can sign outwith the published timescales.

The MA can be suspended without penalty due to COVID-19. When the MA is restarted the Provider should undertake the next Review (i.e. the first Review that couldn’t be carried out), scheduling all subsequent Reviews 13-weekly from that date.  These subsequent reviews would require to be carried out within the 6-week window i.e. 3 weeks either side of the new quarter-end dates. Claims can then be submitted once all required evidence has been obtained. Providers are not required to obtain written approval in advance to undertake the first QPRs outwith the original payment plan dates due to COVID-19, however the reason for the suspension of the MA and the period of that suspension should be captured on the QPR.

Providers are required to update the Expected Achievement Dates and End Date on FIPS.

View FIPs support guidance document on updating expected end dates and expected claim dates. 

For example the next review here was due to take place on the 08/06/2020 however this review had been suspended due to COVID-19. The first review claim for this apprentice on restarting took place on 10/7/2020 which should be claimed against milestone 2. The provider will need to revise the expected end date and claim dates for Milestone 3 and 4 to meet the requirements of a 13 week cycle from Milestone 2 onwards.

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 dispatched once business operations are able to return to normal. 

Providers will be informed by SDS if they have been tagged for ESF purposes and must refer to Appendix 7 of the MA Specification titled 'ESF – List of Audit Evidence Requirements.'

If you have apprentices who have been ESF tagged and they started their MA prior to COVID restrictions being applied in March 2020, and you had either a wet signature or an Advance or Qualified electronic signature that complies with the eIDAS Regulation on the Training Agreement there is no need to get, or attempt to get a wet signature on any programme documentation now that restrictions are lifting. 

There are numerous versions of Advanced or Qualified electronic signatures, but the most common examples that we are aware of are DocuSign and Adobe Sign.  However, please note that whilst SDS accepts a stylus as a form of electronic signature, the Managing Authority for the ESF Programme has confirmed that they cannot accept a signature made with an electronic stylus.  If your organisation did use this format of electronic signature for the mandatory registration documents please email the ESF Verification Team mas@sds.co.uk for information on what you need to do to ensure compliance.

For more information, visit: What is the eIDAS Regulation? | ICO

For any subsequent documentation (reviews, SOARs etc) the current SDS rules in terms of signatures, gaining agreement by email should be applied and will be compliant for ESF.

All evidence relating to claims made on FIPS should be uploaded as soon as possible in order that they can be verified.  This should include email confirmation trails gathered as an alternative to a signature.  Please note that email confirmations are only acceptable where they have been sent from the same email address of the participant/business as displayed on the registration form / FIPS.

For any questions relating directly to ESF, please contact mas@sds.co.uk

 

Next Steps  

If you have any questions or issues not addressed by the guidance above, please contact your SDS Skills Investment Adviser.

We continue to liaise with the Scottish Training Federation and the Scottish Government on measures to support contract holders through this uncertain period.  We urge you to follow the Scottish Government’s latest information and advice on Coronavirus at gov.scot/coronavirus. Public health advice can be found at: Coronavirus (COVID-19) on NHS Inform.