SDS COVID-19 Relief Grant Scheme

Find out if you're eligible and how to apply for our COVID-19 Relief Grant Scheme.

Skills Development Scotland, on behalf of Scottish Government, has launched a Grant Scheme for Modern Apprenticeship (MA) and Employability Fund (EF) learning providers.   

The funding support is designed to assist eligible providers with the costs of providing continuity of contracted services for apprentices, learners and employers during the pandemic.   

What does it provide?  

The Grant-in-Aid scheme offers eligible SDS MA and EF contract holders a monthly grant payment. The scheme initially covered the period of April to June 2020 and was extended to include July, August, September and October 2020 and now includes January and February 2021.

Support is calculated each month as 1/12th of the contract value, minus payments already made and paying 40% of the balance, capped at actual costs. 

Some providers have already claimed over the calculated monthly payment and will therefore not receive any relief payment for the month concerned. 

Who can apply?

Contracted MA and EF training providers who are continuing to deliver contracted and supported services for apprentices, employers and learners during the COVID-19 pandemic are eligible for the relief funding.   

For the purposes of the grant eligibility, this will be evidenced by at least one FIPS claim for each month. Providers will also show, through completion of a template, that they are continuing to work with 60% or more of their apprentices or learners, and for MA providers also evidencing contact with 60% of available employers. 

When is it available? 

Applications can be made for support for January and February 2021.

How can I apply? 

For applications covering April, May and June 2020:

Applications have now closed.

For applications covering July and August 2020:

Applications have now closed.

For applications covering September and October 2020:

Applications have now closed.

For application covering January and February 2021:

The new Instruction document provides guidance and outlines the full process and requirements for each step. 

Instructions, Application form, Terms and Conditions and Control sheet for January and February 2021 can be accessed in the publications area.




Can I apply if my business is gaining other financial COVID-19 relief including furlough?

Yes, however, the Scottish Government policy intention is that this relief measure should add value to existing UK or Scottish Government COVID-19 relief funding.  Providers must make a self-declaration stating that the SDS relief funding is not being used for the same underlying costs covered by other COVID-19 relief measures.  

How can providers demonstrate they are working with 60%+ of individuals or employers to be eligible to apply?

The simple to use template application form provided should enable providers to demonstrate that they are eligible.  

Can I claim for April, May, June, July, August, September and October?

Those providers who meet the grant conditions for each month will be eligible. The application period to support the months of April, May, July and August 2020 has now closed. Payments will commence following a review and approval of the application.

The control sheet for August can be accessed on the provider area of

When will I hear if an application has been successful?

SDS will endeavour to review applications as quickly as possible.

Why do I need to provide my company’s financial information?

The funding has been made available through the Temporary Framework for State Aid Measures to Support the Economy in the Current COVID-19 Outbreak and so has to adhere to the financial information requirements needed for all State Aid funding applications.

Why is the scheme not available to all MA learning providers?

The Scottish Government’s policy intention is to support those providers who are continuing to deliver contracted services to learners, apprentices and employers during the pandemic. 

It has been created to add value to existing UK and Scottish Government support and those providers who are not eligible are encouraged to consider the other forms of support available.

Why are existing payments discounted from the capped amount?

In the case of MAs, due to the payment plan requirements allied to the framework demands, as well as the effects of the pandemic, some providers are continuing to deliver contracted services but unable to claim milestone payments. The relief offers a means of supporting providers in such a situation.   

What effect does this have on my contract?

The payments will be deducted from your overall contract value.

Can I apply for relief to cover April, May and June or July and August after the deadlines given for each of these offers?

No, the extension period enables eligible contracted providers to apply for relief for the months of September and October only.

If I have applied for the Relief Grant in April/May/June and/or July/August, what information do I need to supply if I am applying for September and/or October Relief Grant?

If you have made an application for the April – June and/or July-August Relief Grant(s), you must complete an Application Form (Part 2 Grant Need and Activity Sheet) with projected costs for September and October only (Rows 14 to 24).  If any other information in your previous application(s) has changed, then you should update those sections as well, e.g. if you have applied for any other Covid-19 relief funds.  After the end of each Active Financial Period, a Control Sheet with activity not recorded on FIPS should be returned no later than 15 days after the Active Financial Period end, or the Grant approval date where the application is made after an Active Financial Period end.

Should Apprentices/Participants that a BAU claim has been submitted for, during the month the claim relates to, be included on the Activity Control Sheet?

No, you do not need to include any Apprentices/Participants that you have already made a business as usual claim FIPS claim for in the same month you are claiming for. 

Should Apprentices or Trainees who left the programme, prior to the month being claimed for, be included on the Activity Control Sheet?

No, the Activity Control Sheet should not include Apprentices/Participants who have left the programme prior to the month you are claiming for. 

Should the Activity Control Sheet be submitted prior to the month end being claimed for?

No, all activity for the month should be submitted at the end of the period being claimed for. 

Should the Activity Control Sheet be password protected when it is emailed to MAContracts or EFContracts?

Yes, the 20/21 password issued by SDS should be used to protect the sheet before emailing. 

Do I need to password protect the Activity Control Sheet when it is uploaded to the FIPS Expense Claim?


What format should I submit the National Insurance numbers on the Activity Control Sheet?

National Insurance numbers should be submitted without a space or dash between the digits. E.g. AB201030B 

Does the NI Number input on FIPS need to match the NI Number on the Activity Control Sheet?

Yes, the NI Number input on FIPS must match the Activity Control Sheet. If the participant has previously used a temporary NI Number, you must ensure this is updated on FIPS and the Activity Control Sheet. 

Can I amend the layout of the Activity Control Sheet before submitting and uploading?

No, you must not amend the Activity Control Sheet in any way. If there are changes made to the layout of the Activity Control Sheet, SDS will not accept this.  

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