Information for Centres

Who can deliver a Foundation Apprenticeship?

This is a matter for SDS. Please contact them at

How do centres get approval to deliver Foundation Apprenticeships?

Centres looking to deliver FAs should approach SDS first to procure for the delivery contract. For more information, contact SDS directly at

SDS will send a list of contracted ‘learning providers’ to SQA and supply SQA-approved centre numbers. Centres can then apply to SQA for approval in the normal way, ie devolved approval route or full approval. SQA will refer to the ‘learning providers’ list provided by SDS before granting approval.

How can centres recognise prior learning

Your candidate may be able to use recognition of prior learning (RPL) in achieving their Foundation Apprenticeship. RPL is not an exemption from a unit in a group award, and your centre should follow our usual processes for RPL. This includes entering/resulting the equivalent SQA unit and retaining evidence of achievement for verification purposes. Standard unit and group award entry fees also apply (SVQ units are currently £7.50).

If you wish to use RPL, please adhere to SQAs policy on Recognition of Prior Learning.

Can a centre sub-contract for Foundation Apprenticeship delivery?

SQA will only approve centres for delivering FAs if they have been contracted and confirmed by SDS as a delivering centre. Any SQA approved centre delivering SQA qualifications and units, including those that make up the FA, is responsible for ensuring compliance with SQA quality assurance (QA) criteria. SQA’s centre approval criteria outline the QA responsibilities.

If your centre is offering another awarding body’s SVQ unit and is using achievement of that unit to contribute towards the Foundation Apprenticeship, you must ensure that you apply and adhere to SQA’s Recognition of Prior Learning policy. SQA’s usual QA requirements, processes and charges, including entering and resulting for the equivalent SQA SVQ unit, still apply in this circumstance.


What are the charges for qualifications and units in the FAs?

All unit and group award components are charged at the standard rate, with the exception of the Foundation Apprenticeship Certification unit HE6E 04, which has an additional £25 fee for issuing the commemorative certificate.

Delivery of the Foundation Apprenticeship

Will a Group Award Specification or Arrangements document be produced by SQA/SDS for FA?

The FA is a Skills Development Scotland product (though it has a 4+2 code for identification and operational purposes). SQA provides group award and unit specifications for the SQA awards and units in the FA framework.

SDS has FA product specification and FA framework publications on its website link:

How does SQA/SDS manage feedback from candidates/centres/employers?

For information, queries or feedback on the FA framework:

  • Contact SDS directly at

SQA qualification or unit:

  • Centres contact 0303 333 0330 or
  • Candidates contact 0345 279 1000 or>

Further information on SQA’s business as usual processes can be found on our website: //

Certification of the Foundation Apprenticeship

What certificates will candidates receive?

Candidates will receive the following certificates on completion of a Foundation Apprenticeship: SQA Commemorative certificate for the component group award (NC, NPA)

  • This commemorative certificate will detail achievement of the group award.
  • The candidate’s Scottish Qualifications Certificate (SQC) will list the group award and all its components. The SQC is a cumulative record of candidates’ achievement as recorded on SQA’s system.
  • These certificates are automatically generated and sent to candidates during the first available certification run.

SQA, SDS and SSC Commemorative certificate for the Foundation Apprenticeship

  • This will detail achievement of the Foundation Apprenticeship, and will include the logo and signature of SDS, SQA and the relevant SSC for the industry sector.
  • The candidate’s SQC will detail the Foundation Apprenticeship group award, plus component group award and units.

Main diet SQC

  • If the candidate is completing any main diet qualifications, the SQC will be issued on results day as normal, and will list their Foundation Apprenticeship and component group award achievements.

Component unit certificate • Candidates will only receive a certificate for a component unit if there are no other outstanding units/qualifications on their record, and the unit has been completed.

When will candidates receive their certificate?

Once a centre submits all contributing results on SQA systems, the next certification run will produce the candidate’s certificate. The certification run takes place three times per week (Monday, Wednesday and Friday).

From the middle of July to the main diet August certification day (the first or second Tuesday in August — this year 8 August) there is restricted processing in place, eg no updates (results submission, certification etc) are accepted for any candidates involved in main diet certification.

Processing will still take place for candidates who are not involved in main diet certification, but services will be reduced — ie less frequent certification during that period.

How does a centre ensure that candidates receive their Foundation Apprenticeship Certificate?

Centres must enter FA candidates for each unit and group award (NPA, NC) in the Foundation Apprenticeship framework, including the Unit HE6E 04 — Foundation Apprenticeship Certification, and for the FA framework 4+2 code, using their normal submission method.

Once all unit and group award results have been submitted to SQA, and assuming the candidate has successfully achieved all component parts, the candidate will receive a commemorative certificate for each group award along with their Scottish Qualifications Certificate (SQC). For enquiries about SQA’s certification process, please e-mail or call 0303 333 0330

Pathways for progression

Are there any articulation arrangements for the FA with higher education institutions?

To find out more information about progression pathways for Foundation Apprenticeships, please visit:

  • SDS Apprenticeships website:
  • SDS website:

For information on UCAS or Insight Tariff points, please contact SDS directly at