COVID-19 FAQs

We've pulled together some of the most common questions about the impact of COVID-19 on apprenticeships.

General

How do I contact my careers adviser? 

Although your local careers centre is currently closed in line with the government COVID-19 advice, you can still get careers advice.  


Careers advisers are available over the phone or online. If you want to speak to your school careers adviser, you can call your local centre and ask for them by name.  


Call your local careers centre or visit myworldofwork.co.uk

Work

If I need to self-isolate, what will happen to my apprenticeship?

If you have symptoms of coronavirus (COVID-19) or live with someone that does, then you can’t leave your home. This is called self-isolation. You should apply for an isolation note on the NHS website to give to your employer.


Apprenticeships are designed to be responsive to changes to your circumstances such as a period of illness. Please talk to your employer and learning provider about the best way to continue your apprenticeship.


Options might include e-learning, breaks in learning or rescheduling of planned assessment activity.


Discuss this with your employer and learning provider as soon as you can. The appropriate steps need to be agreed based on you, your employer and learning provider’s situation.

Someone in my household has COVID-19 symptoms. Can I still go to work?
















No, you must self-isolate for 14 days if someone in your household has COVID-19 symptoms. You should notify your employer and learning provider as soon as possible. You’ll also need to apply for an isolation note on the NHS website to give to your employer.





























I’m an apprentice and don’t feel comfortable going to work. What are my options?

We understand you might feel you don’t want to go into work during the COVID-19 pandemic.


The government has provided a list of businesses that must close during the COVID-19 pandemic. If your workplace is still open, the advice is that you can travel to your essential workplace if it’s not possible to work from home.


Speak to your employer about your concerns. They should take steps to protect everyone and where possible, allow you to work from home.


You might be able to take the time off as a holiday or unpaid leave, but this may not be approved by your employer.


If you refuse to attend work without a valid reason, it could result in disciplinary action.


If someone in your household is high-risk and you are still travelling to work, then you should follow the government guidance of living with someone who is classed as vulnerable or high-risk.

Can my employer make me change my role to a business critical role and what happens if it’s not related to my apprenticeship?

Your employer may need you to undertake a business-critical role at this time.


It should hopefully be a short-term requirement after which, you can then carry on with your apprenticeship role.


Any work you do in the business-critical role might also provide learning and evidence towards your apprenticeship.


You should discuss the change of role with your provider.

Training

Can I continue my apprenticeship training while I am furloughed?

Yes, the latest guidance from HMRC confirms apprentices can be furloughed in the same way as other employees, and can continue to train whilst furloughed. You should speak to your training provider to get more advice and guidance.  


 


 

Qualification

I’m worried I won’t be able to finish my apprenticeship and get my qualification. What should I do? 

We are working with SQA and other awarding bodies to support their guidance for apprentices and learning providers to ensure that the effects of disruption are minimised and that, wherever possible, apprentices and learners are not negatively impacted in the long term. 
 
SQA are posting frequent updates for learnerson their website.  


We will update with further information specific to apprenticeships as soon as this is available.  
 
In the meantime, apprentices should follow the guidance provided by their learning provider e.g. college, university or training centre, along with the advice of their employer. 

I’m not able to complete my apprenticeship because of the COVID-19 pandemic. Will I be able to complete it at a later date?

Depending on your apprenticeship and learning provider, you may be able to complete your learning online/ digitally. This should be discussed with your learning provider and employer to see if this option is available to you. 
 
Where apprentices are unable to participate in learning online/ digitally or by other methods in line with the assessment strategy, they will be able to resume their learning once back in the workplace. 

If you're completing an FA this summer

How have Foundation Apprenticeships been adapted to respond to the challenges of Covid- 19?

Foundation Apprenticeships have been adapted, where relevant, to enable learners to complete all aspects of the qualification, including the introduction of more flexible approaches to the delivery and assessment of learning, teaching and work placements. This gives greater opportunity for learners to gather their evidence and more variety in the ways employers can engage with the programme. 


Here’s the latest guidance for anyone due to finish their Foundation Apprenticeship in 2021.  


Pupils will be able to achieve their Foundation Apprenticeship through both physical and remote learning.  


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. 

Where should I go for further support?

Support is available by contacting SQA at qualification.development@sqa.org.uk 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 Careers Information, Advice and Guidance advisers based in schools and during exam results. 


From the end of the spring break, it is expected that all senior phase pupils will return to school. 


Your learning provider and school will supply you with more information. 


Subject to continued submission of the virus, senior phase school learners studying SCQF level 6 Foundation Apprenticeships in Engineering and Scientific Technologies may commence a limited return to college campuses for essential practical coursework. 


https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-schools-reopening/ 


https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-update-first-ministers-statement-15-march-2021/ 


Temporary lockdown guidance for colleges has also been published. 


SDS recognises the significant challenges local authorities and schools are facing and is keen to support in any way to allow for Foundation Apprenticeships to be prioritised in timetabling over the next few months to support achievement for learners.  

When will I return to school or college to complete the practical elements of my FA?

From the end of the spring break, it is expected that all senior phase pupils will return to school. 


Your learning provider and school will supply you with more information. 


Subject to continued submission of the virus, senior phase school learners studying SCQF level 6 Foundation Apprenticeships in Engineering and Scientific Technologies may commence a limited return to college campuses for essential practical coursework. 


https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-guidance-on-schools-reopening/ 


https://www.gov.scot/publications/coronavirus-covid-19-update-first-ministers-statement-15-march-2021/ 


Temporary lockdown guidance for colleges has also been published. 


SDS recognises the significant challenges local authorities and schools are facing and is keen to support in any way to allow for Foundation Apprenticeships to be prioritised in timetabling over the next few months to support achievement for learners.  

When will I receive the results of my Foundation Apprenticeship? 

Foundation Apprenticeship certificates will be issued before  Results Day on 10 August, 2021. 

What if I do not complete my full Foundation Apprenticeship?

SQA will confirm all elements that you have achieved from taking the Foundation Apprenticeship. These can be added to your CV to demonstrate the knowledge, understanding and skills that you have gained. 

Going into Year 2 or starting an FA

What can I expect during my Foundation Apprenticeship in 2021?

SDS, local authorities, schools, colleges, and independent learning providers monitor all Scottish Government guidelines regarding safe working practices within education, skills, and employment environments. Foundation Apprenticeships have been amended so that a blended approach to face to face and on-line learning allows learners the opportunities to complete all elements of the  qualifications. New arrangements have been put into place, which will ensure necessary practical elements can be completed by the end of the academic year. 


Your school and learning provider will guide you through a detailed outline of the course requirements and how these will be delivered. This will be tailored to meet your needs. 


The blended approach of a mixture of face to face and on-line learning will continue to be supported by your school, learning provider and local authority, until it is safe for work placements and face to face learning in school, college and employers’ premises to commence.  

Will I be able to continue into the second year of my Foundation Apprenticeship? 

Yes. SDS is working with everyone involved in delivering Foundation Apprenticeships to make sure there’s necessary flexibility in place for anyone undertaking their second year.  Your school and learning provider will keep you up to date with all arrangements. 

What about work placements?

Work based learning involves a mix of both physical and remote work placements, project- based activity, employer contact, including mentoring and industry challenges. SDS will continue to follow the Scottish Government’s guidance on safe working practices and suitable work- based learning opportunities. 

How will my timetable accommodate my FA if I attend school/college/ learning provider on a part time basis?

SDS will work with local authorities and schools to ensure FA learners can undertake practical elements in line with all health and safety guidance, including full return to school for senior phase pupils at the end of the Spring Break in April 2021. 

How do I contact my careers adviser?

Although your local careers centre is currently closed in line with the government COVID-19  guidance,  you can still get careers advice.  


Careers advisers are available over the phone or online. If you want to speak to your school careers adviser, you can call your local centre and ask for them by name.  You can also phone 0800 917 8000 to be put in touch  with your local SDS team or visit https://www.myworldofwork.co.uk/  

How should I respond to the Coronavirus pandemic?

You should continue to follow Scottish Government guidelines. Information and advice is available online at  https://www.gov.scot/coronavirus-covid-19/ 


Public health advice can be found at: Coronavirus (COVID-19) on NHS Inform at https://www.nhsinform.scot/ 


If you are feeling anxious or stressed, you can find advice on looking after your mental well-being, please see Well-being Support. https://www.nhsinform.scot/illnesses-and-conditions/infections-and-poisoning/coronavirus-covid-19/your-mental-wellbeing/coronavirus-covid-19-your-mental-wellbeing 


You may also be experiencing personal issues such as bereavement, addiction, or domestic abuse.  You can find information on a wide range of topics, including the support available to you if you have been affected by any of the issues, at BBC Action Line https://www.bbc.co.uk/actionline/ 


We understand that many apprentices are feeling unsettled at the moment and you’ll be worried about not being able to attend your placement or school.   


Your learning provider contact is also available for ongoing support during your Foundation Apprenticeship. 

Pay

If I need to self-isolate, will I get paid?

You’ll receive Statutory Sick Pay if you need to self-isolate because:



  • You have COVID-19

  • You have symptoms such as a persistent cough and temperature

  • Someone in your household has COVID-19 symptoms

  • You or someone in your household has been told to self-isolate by a doctor or NHS 111


If you have symptoms, you must self-isolate for 7 days. If someone in your household has COVID-19 then you need to stay home and self-isolate for 14 days.


Make sure to tell your employer and learning provider as soon as possible if you can’t come to work. Apply for an isolation note on the NHS website to give to your employer. You should let them know the reason and how long you expect to be off for.


Some employers might offer more than Statutory Sick Pay and this detail will be in your contract.

My employer is asking me to take a period of unpaid leave. What happens to my apprenticeship during this time?

In this situation, you would take a break from your apprenticeship and resume when you return to work. Please contact your learning provider to let them know of any changes – including when you stop working and when you return to work.  


If you were put on unpaid leave on or after 28 February 2020, you're eligible to be ‘furloughed’ as part of the Coronavirus Job Retention Scheme. It’s up to your employer whether they choose to use this scheme or not. More information on furlough is available in the question above. 

Support

I’m an apprentice and have been made redundant. What do I do?

If you have been made redundant, please notify your training provider as soon as possible so that we can put support in place and implement the redundancy processes.   


There are a number of support measures available:  


Apprentice Transition Plan - If you're an apprentice who has been made redundant or unemployed as a result of COVID-19 the Apprentice Transition Plan service can help you find new work or move to further learning.


Adopt an Apprentice - We also provide support through the Adopt an Apprentice scheme, which can helpfind new employment for apprentices with other employers that are able to support.  


Career Information, Advice and Guidance - SDS CIAG colleagues continue to offer the SDS all-age career guidance service during the pandemic. Individuals can contact their local SDS team or visit myworldofwork.co.uk.    


Online Learning Portal - 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.  


PACE - The Scottish Government’s Partnership for Continuing Employment (PACE) is a well-established service to support individuals and employers dealing with redundancy. To find out more, please visit the PACE website redundancyscotland.co.uk or call 0800 917 8000.  

I am feeling stressed or anxious, where can I find support?

For resources and advice on looking after your mental well-being, please see Well-being Support.


You may also be experiencing personal issues such as bereavement, addiction or domestic abuse.  You can find information on a wide range of topics, including the support available to you if you have been affected by any of the issues, at BBC Action Line

Where can I find out whether I qualify for school or childcare for my child as a ‘key worker’?

The Scottish Government is offering clear guidance to employers on what staff are considered key workers.



To find out more about childcare and learning provision for key workers, see the Scottish Government website.

I need to spend more time caring for my children or family members during lockdown, where can I find support?

Many working parents are trying to juggle work and childcare, advice on how to manage this situation can be found at Flexibility Works


Balancing work and childcare can be demanding and exhausting, so it’s important that you look after your well-being during this time.  For information and resources to help, please see Well-being Support.  If you are struggling, it’s best to speak to your employer as soon as possible to see if you can find a suitable compromise which works for you both.


Information on time off to look after dependants can be found on the ACAS website. 


 


Advice for unpaid carers, including information on funding and support available to you, can be found on the Scottish Government website.

Vacancies

Can I still apply for vacancies on apprenticeships.scot during the COVID-19 pandemic?

Yes, you can still apply for any vacancies that are available on our site. Some employers are still recruiting and uploading jobs to apprenticeships.scot 

I applied for an apprenticeship vacancy. What do I do now?

HR professionals and recruitment advisers will more than likely be working from home following the government’s COVID-19 guidance. So, your vacancy application may take longer than usual to process.


The employer has your details from your application, so they’ll still be able to contact you through phone, text or email.


If a considerable amount of time has passed since the closing date and you have not heard from the employer, there’s nothing wrong with sending a polite enquiry. But please allow a longer time for replies from the employer you contact.

I have an interview for an apprenticeship. Will it still go ahead?

If you’ve reached the interview stage, it’s very likely there will a change to normal procedure. As the government has advised us all to practice physical distancing, then some employers may have plans in place for online interviews and recruitment. Please get in touch with the employer you’re scheduled to interview with for more information.


If the employer is still scheduling face-to-face interviews, you shouldn't be afraid to request a video interview if you feel this would be better for you. You should give the employer plenty of notice around this request and make sure you have the necessary equipment for the video call. Please keep in mind the employer does not have to grant your request.


Others may postpone recruitment or defer the interview to a later date. You should ask the employer if you will have to reapply or if your initial application will be valid. 


If your interview is cancelled, then you could express your interest in the role, explain you understand the circumstances and state your availability to be contacted at a later date if things change.

I was recently successful after applying for an apprenticeship. What happens now?

Employers are still recruiting during the COVID-19 pandemic. If you were recently successful in your apprenticeship application but have still to start the role, you should contact your new employer as soon as possible.


They’ll provide information about your induction and the next steps you should take to begin your apprenticeship. You should also contact your learning provider to understand if and how you will access training remotely.

Can I start an apprenticeship if I am on furlough?

Yes, you can start a new apprenticeship if you are on furlough. 


Furloughed employees can also apply for apprenticeship vacancies advertised by employers on Apprenticeships.scot