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

These FAQs were last updated on 01/05/2020.

Modern Apprenticeship Delivery 2020/2021 and Interim COVID-19 Measures from 1 April 2020 to 30th June 2020

From 1st April 2020, please review the MA Specification 20/21 for information and note that document requirements have changed for the contracting year 20/21: 

  • For the Training Agreement, Equalities Monitoring Form, Eligibility Declaration for Enhanced Funding – Modern Apprentices aged 20-29 (Disability and/or Care Experienced), you must use the new forms found here.  
  • For other documents (Apprentice Progress Reviews, Summary of Achievement Record), you have a grace period until 30th June 2020 to transfer to either the new SDS exemplars, or your own documents which must be approved by your Skills Investment Adviser, prior to use. This means that until 30th June 2020, you can use the documents you have used in 19/20 for reviews and payments (Quarterly Progress Reviews, Progress Reviews, SOAR). For more information, please refer to the MA Specification 20/21

SDS will continue to monitor the COVID-19 situation and advise if the grace period will be extended.  

In addition to the information above, SDS has extended its interim measures to assist in providing supporting documentation for both Modern Apprenticeship starts and those in-training, where providers activity has been disrupted due to the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic. 

The measures outlined below will be in place from 1st April 2020 to 30th June 2020 and we will continue to review the situation and keep you updated on any new guidelines. If you have specific issues that are not addressed by the guidance below, please contact your Skills Investment Adviser.

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

Please ensure you review the updated MA Specification 20/21 for the documentation you need to complete as there have been changes for 20/21.

Documentation where face-to-face meetings are impossible   

If providers are unable to conduct meetings with Apprentices and/or employers face-to face due to the Coronavirus pandemic, SDS will relax the MA Specification and Conditions to allow these meetings via video conferencing/Skype/face time or telephone, without seeking prior approval. As a result of the updated changes to the MA Specification for 20/21, the following requirements for signatures will apply:   

For signatures, providers should, where their technology allows, follow the guidance in the statement below:   

Due to COVID-19 you can use electronic signatures. Electronic signatures should match the signature on the Training Agreement (TA) and should be sent from the same email address of the Apprentice/Employer/Provider as displayed on the TA.


You must ensure that all required signatures are inputted by the person they represent and used where there is knowledge of and an intent to sign a specific document. 

Copies (including scanned copies) of the original document or form with the required signatures are acceptable for payment assurance purposes.   

For the avoidance of doubt, SDS will not accept a typed signature in any font.

If providers are unable to gain signatures due to COVID-19, they should then follow the guidance below:  

If the signature requirements in the Specification or an electronic signature as outlined above are not achievable, then in place of a signature SDS will accept an email to the Provider confirming the signatory (Apprentice and/or Employer and/or Provider) has read, understood and contributed as appropriate to the named document. The email must be from a unique and identifiable email address. This email must be retained with the named document as evidence.  

The onus is on the Provider to ensure that the content of the email reflects the requirements associated with each document and captures the information detailed below.   

Please note: while furloughed employees can continue with their Modern Apprenticeship, they are not eligible to start a new Modern Apprenticeship.

For 20/21 documentation providers are required to use the following statements: 

Training Agreement 20/21 
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 20/21 
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.     

Eligibility Declaration for Enhanced Funding – Modern Apprentices aged 20-29 (Disability and/or Care Experienced) 20/21 
Required signatures: Apprentice and Provider Signature  
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 (either SDS 20/21 Exemplars, 19/20 review documentation 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 20/21 Exemplar, 19/20 SOAR 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. 

Please note: further guidance has been issued with regards to gathering signatures for ESF evidence. Please refer to the ESF webpage for more information.

 

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.

Quarterly Progress Review (QPR) payment plans

If Providers, Apprentices or Employers are unable to undertake Quarterly Progress Reviews (QPRs) in line with the Modern Apprenticeship Specification 20/21 they can suspend activity without penalty. 

The Employer, Apprentice and Provider signatures are mandatory for QPRs and must be obtained prior to making a claim. 

However, due to COVID-19 the Employer signature can be obtained out with the published timescales.

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.  

FAQS

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 all MA information onto FIPS? 

Yes, providers must continue to input all MA information to FIPS, keep all documentation required, and ensure these are available to upload to FIPS on request.   
 
It is especially important to register update FIPS for 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.