The Federation for Industry Sector Skills and Standards (Federation) (previously known as the Alliance of Sector Skills Councils) manage the main certification system used for Apprenticeships in Scotland. The system developed is a bespoke, online system, known as Modern Apprenticeships Online (MA Online).
The MA Online system enables apprentices or training providers/employers acting on their behalf, to apply for their Apprenticeship completion certificate. It is a centralised system that meets all of the relevant regulatory and quality assurance requirements of the Apprenticeship certification process. Although the main focus of the system is to certificate Apprenticeships it also aims to reduce the administrative burden of certification and introduce consistency and standardisation across all occupational sectors.
The Federation sits at the centre of a hub and spoke model where it delegates responsibility to individual Certification Bodies (Sector Skills Councils and Standard Setting Bodies) to process Apprenticeship certification claim requests, on its behalf. Each Certification Body has specific sectorial remits and uses its knowledge of its occupational area to review claims and ensure that the evidence provided meets the specified framework requirements being claimed for. The Federation’s Apprenticeship Customer Support Team oversees and manages the entire process, and produces guidance and supporting documentation for both Certification Bodies and certificate claimants.
MA Online can be used for more than just requesting completion certificates. MA Online Centres are required to input apprentice details for registration purposes which enables the required evidence of their achievements to be uploaded as they progress through the Apprenticeship programme. By adopting this process and analysing completions, the MA Online team can collate current Labour Market Information and regular statistics relating to the uptake and success rates for Apprenticeships. This information can then be analysed in detail by sector, gender, age, ethnicity and geographical spread.
Evolving MA Online
The MA Online Team constantly investigates ways to enhance the functionality of its system to meet the current and future needs of all users. It works closely with other agencies involved in the Apprenticeship process to facilitate greater system integration and information sharing to streamline and further simplify the certification process.