Policy and guidance – Foundation Apprenticeships

Stay up to date with the latest policy and guidance. It'll help you either start or continue to deliver fantastic training to Foundation Apprentices.


Activating your contract

Are you starting out as a learning provider? Find out about activating a contract for Foundation Apprenticeships.


Funding Information and Processing System (FIPS)

FIPS is where you manage and claim payments for Foundation, Modern and Graduate Apprenticeships. We've got a range of guides to steer you through the process.


Once your contract is activated, your Development and Delivery Executive (DDE) will visit. They'll talk you through the Foundation Apprenticeship programme requirements. 

Complete the paperwork

You should first familiarise yourself with the way we monitor contract compliance. Then, you can complete the mandatory Learner Registration Form and Equality Monitoring Form. 

If it's relevant to your apprenticeship, you may need to sign the Work-based Learning Declaration. This can be found in our publications area and you, the learner and employer will all need to sign it.


Upload your documents

There are 2 important steps to remember when uploading a document:

  1. Upload the completed Learner Registration Form and the Work-based Learning Declaration document to FIPS.

  2. Then, enter the information only from the Equality Monitoring Form Section A into FIPS and securely discard that part. You should keep hold of Section B.

Prepare for the apprentice starting

First, you'll have to set up the apprentice with an awarding body. Their qualification includes the SQA Group Award, apprenticeship and the awarding body units.

Learner recruitment

It's important to remember that Foundation Apprentices are still at school. This means your recruitment process must coincide with key timelines of the school academic year. There's lots of support to help you recruit Foundation Apprentices.  

Understand the timelines

Read our recruitment guide. It has details of when to advertise Foundation Apprenticeships - staying in line with the school year.

Engage with stakeholders

Collaborating with schools, local authorities, parents and pupils is essential.

Our Employer Engagement Guide will show you how to work effectively.

Promote your apprenticeships

Our Marketing Resources and Marketing and Publicity Guidelines will help you promote your apprenticeships.

Support new learners

We have lots of advice on how to ease first-day nerves for new apprentices. Get ready for your Foundation Apprentice with the Mentoring Guide.

Quality Assurance

You must show you’re meeting quality standards when carrying out Skills Development Scotland (SDS) training.

This is done by completing a Self-Assessment (SA) and Quality Action Plan (QAP). This is completed in the Mesma software platform and you'll be notified of the deadline each year.

Your Quality Assessor will review your submission and provide feedback. It's then used as part of the ongoing monitoring of your delivery.

You can prepare for your self-assessment by reading our Self-Assessment Guidance.


Our quality review visits

We’ll tell you at the start of each financial year if your organisation will be reviewed. The assessors will review documents, including your QAP.

The assessors will also interview apprentices, employers and partners, and observe work practices. The length of the review visit will normally be between 2-5 days.

You can find out how to prepare for a review in the Quality Assurance and Improvement Framework.

Your review results

You'll update your QAP with improvement actions from the report. This will be monitored by SDS staff on an ongoing basis. Learn more about what to do after a visit in our Quality Assurance and Improvement Framework.

Training delivery

Your Development and Delivery Executive (DDE) will review your training delivery.  This includes getting feedback from the apprentices and employers.

Before training 

Make sure the apprentice journey is clear from recruitment to achievement and completion. You should also set up an induction for employers and the learner.  

Work with the employer 

First, make sure employers are signed up for work placements. It's important to ensure the learning hours in the Foundation Apprenticeship Framework are met.  You can find the frameworks for your Foundation Apprenticeship in our publications area.

Meeting requirements 

Your delivery model must meet the product specification. You must review and assess each apprentice’s progress and then share this with them, the employer and school.  

Your DDE will get in touch to review your delivery. They'll highlight areas of good practice and where you could make adjustments.  

For the apprentice 

Each apprentice needs to agree with and sign their Individual Learning Plan. You should also invite them to register on My World of Work. Make sure support is in place for apprentices who are at risk of dropping out.


About Foundation Apprenticeships

Need more information about Foundation Apprenticeships? Get an overview here and find useful support.

Publications stack of books on bookcases

Search publications

Find essential documents in our Publications area to support you as an apprentice employer or learning provider.

You can browse for apprenticeship frameworks, programme conditions, specifications, exemplars and more.