GOVERNMENT INITIAITIVES IN SCOTLAND TO BOOST APPRENTICESHIPS

24th November 2020

The Scottish Government announced £10 million for a range of measures to recruit and retain Apprentices. This targeted funding will help Modern and Graduate Apprentices, who are facing redundancy, get back into work. This includes additional funding for Scotland’s “Adopt an Apprentice” programme which has recently been enhanced from £2,000 to £5,000. This incentive is for an employer who is willing to take on a redundant Modern or Graduate Apprentice. Further information on Adopt an Apprentice can be accessed here: –https://www.ourskillsforce.co.uk/invest-in-young-people/adopt-an- Apprentice/
 

The Cabinet Secretary for Economy, Fair Work and Culture announced £60 million for Scotland’s Young Person’s Guarantee, giving all young people aged 16 to 24 access to work, training or education, which Apprenticeships will be integral to. On 5 November, the Economy Secretary officially launched the Young Person’s Guarantee and further information can be accessed here: – https://www.myworldofwork.co.uk/youngpersonsguarantee
 

As part of the Young Person’s Guarantee, £10 million of funding is towards the development of Pathways to Apprenticeships which is aimed at responding to an expected gap between young people being available for work and when employers start to recruit again. Skills Development Scotland (SDS) have worked with colleges, training providers and other partners to design Pathway Apprenticeships to provide work-based learning opportunities for young people to get industry-recognised qualifications and to develop the skills employers require.
 

Further advice and guidance can be accessed on the website My World of Work, including skills tools and employment support. SDS also launched an Online Learning Portal connecting people with free-to- access online learning materials.
 

Any Apprentices who find themselves facing redundancy can be supported through the well-established Partnership for Continuing Employment (PACE) service and SDS also operate a helpline for employers and learners. This includes dedicated careers and Apprenticeship advice, signposting to well-being resources and practical information on Apprenticeships.

 

SDS also frequently update their website with the latest support and advice for Apprentices, employers and learning providers, including FAQs. This support can be accessed here: – https://www.skillsdevelopmentscotland.co.uk/coronavirus-covid-19/
 

APPRENTICESHIP CERTIFICATION – How we’re trying to help

27th March 2020

Providing a high-quality and efficient service for our customers is at the forefront of everything that we do in the Federation – especially during these challenging times. We are all having to do things differently, and it’s very likely that we all need to adjust to new ways of working.
 

With this in mind, we wanted to let you know about the interim measures that we have put in place to support training providers. We need to ensure that you -on behalf of your Apprentices- are still able to submit a claim for an Apprenticeship certificate, and receive confirmation that completion has been successfully approved.
 

All of our Sector Bodies have business continuity plans in place, and are continuing to process Apprenticeship certification claims submitted via our online certification system.  However, the batch printing and dispatching of actual certificates has already become a challenge for many of our partners, and this will probably become increasingly problematic over the coming weeks.
 

We want to reassure you – the Federation has been working in partnership with relevant governmental departments and has taken the appropriate steps to address this issue.
 

The plan calls for Sector Bodies to continue processing certification claims in the usual manner and -if everything is in order- to change the Apprentice’s status to “Approved”.
 

At that point, the system will automatically send out an Apprenticeship Achievement Confirmation notification to the relevant Centre.  This e-mail will confirm the date of Achievement Approval, and will contain all the relevant Apprentice data – including details of the Apprenticeship achieved.
 

Finally, a copy of the Apprentice Achievement notification will be sent out to the specific system user submitting the certification claim, as well as the Centre Admin User account.
 

In the interim, you can use the e-mail notification system to confirm Apprenticeship Achievement with the individual Apprentice, their Employer, and relevant Funding Bodies etc.
 

All printed certificates will be generated and dispatched once business operations are able to return to normal.
 

We plan to implement this new process early next week, and will be sending out further notifications to confirm when it is operational.
 

Should you have any further questions or require additional support, please make sure to contact your relevant Sector Body.  A full list of Sector Body contacts can be found here.
 

You can also contact the Federation for Industry Sector Skills and Standards directly via our e-mail by calling 0300 303 4444 then option 2.
 

We want to offer this interim certification confirmation facility, as an alternative and flexible solution in cases where the printing of certificates is not going to be possible. We hope that this will help both you and your Apprentices, by enabling you to receive confirmation of their Apprenticeship Achievement.
 

Thank you for your continued support and cooperation during this incredibly challenging time – rest assured that we, and our members, are here to help you.
 

Instructus Office Closure on Friday 27th September

27th September 2019

The Instructus office is closed today for a staff event. Phone calls and emails will not be answered today. It will be re-opening as normal on Monday 30th September at 9am and they will respond to your queries then.

Employer Name, Specific Named Contact and Address Details

17th September 2019

Following an increase in related queries we have provided some guidance and clarity around the Employer Details recorded as part of an apprenticeship claim.
 

An Apprentice must be employed and the name and address of their employer must be entered into MAOnline. There must also be a specific named contact at the Apprentice’s place of employment. This cannot be the Apprentice themselves or a contact at the Training Provider, except where the Training Provider is also the Apprentice’s employer.
 

The Employer contact name must be the name of the person who has taken responsibility for the Apprentice in the workplace and provided the required support, guidance and mentoring throughout the Apprenticeship. It cannot be another Apprentice who is currently studying at the same level. It can be a previous/current Apprentice as long as they are already qualified in the same discipline and at a higher level, than the Apprentice they are mentoring.
 

Alternatively, it can be an employee who has the relevant occupational competence and greater levels of skills, knowledge and experience than those they are mentoring. The employer contact name must be given in full and not abbreviated. Please provide all the relevant contact details for the employer, including a valid email address where possible.
 

If you have any questions relating to this then please let us know via maonline@fisss.org or by calling 0300 303 4444.

Acceptable Evidence Guidance – 13th September update

17th September 2018

In December 2017, we updated the latest version of the Acceptable Evidence Guidance for MAO. Since then we have made the following changes:
 

Changes to existing pages:
 

SQA: we have updated the evidence to include screenshots and reports from their updated online systems as well as new unacceptable examples.
 

EAL: we have added newly branded acceptable certificates.
 

If you have any questions relating to this issue then please contact the MAO support team via maonline@fisss.org or by calling 0300 303 4444.
 

The Tech Partnership

14th June 2018

The Tech Partnership will be closing in September 2018 and Instructus will be taking over these apprenticeship certification responsibilities.

 

For further information please see the following –

 

https://www.thetechpartnership.com/about/legacy-transition-plans/

 

https://www.instructus-skills.org/instructus-tech-partnership-certification-apprenticeship/

 

If you have any questions relating to this issue then please contact the MAO support team via maonline@fisss.org or by calling 0300 303 4444.
 

GDPR

14th May 2018

With GDPR legislation coming into effect from 25th May onwards we have updated our Terms and Conditions and our Data Use and Management Policy to be ahead of the changes in law, however our attitude to your data and it’s security has not changed.
 

  • We will protect your data securely and it will only be used by us for the service we provide.
  • We will not sell or give it to a third party for them to use.
  • You can ask to have a look at the information we hold and if there is a mistake we will correct it.
  • You can ask for your data to be erased and you can ask for it not to be used for research.
  • You can read our data use and data management policy by clicking here fisss.org to see the full details

We keep your personal information private and safe – and put you in control.
 

If you would like further information please let us know at maonline@fiss.org
 

Festive Office Closure

12th December 2017

The FISSS offices will be closing on Friday 22nd Dec 2017 and reopening on Tuesday 2nd Jan 2018. During this period the MAO system will be available for you to load/amend apprentice records, however we will be unable to provide any additional system support. We will endeavour to resolve any outstanding queries upon our return.
 

Acceptable Evidence Guidance – 11th December 2017 Update

11th December 2017

In September 2017, we updated the latest version of the Acceptable Evidence Guidance for MAO. Since then we have made the following changes:
 

Changes to Existing Pages

City & Guilds: we have amended the minimum requirements on the Walled Garden report.

Pearson:  we have added a new certificate to reflect the GCSE English and Maths numeric grading and a Core Skill Confirmation Report and an unacceptable screenshot.

SQA: we have added a SQA Connect Candidate Services printout. and a SQA Connect Core Skills Printout.
 

If you have any further questions relating to this issue then please contact the MAO Support Team via maonline@fisss.org or by calling 0300 303 4444.
 

Password Policy

22nd November 2017

On Thurs 7th December 2017, a new password policy will be introduced to the MAO site for all users. In an effort to guarantee that the data held within the MAO database is kept as securely as possible you will be required to change your password.
Your new password should contain the following characteristics:

 

  • Contain as least 12 alphanumeric characters
  • Contain both upper and lower case letters
  • Contain at least one number (0-9)
  • Contain at least one special character (!,!$%^&*()_+|~-=\`{}[]:”;'<>?,/)

Passwords containing the above characteristics are considered to be strong.

 

Please read the below sections for further guidance on password creation and best practices –

 

Password Creation

    1. All passwords should be reasonably complex and difficult for unauthorised people to guess. Users should choose passwords that are at least twelve characters long and contain a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and other special characters.
    2. In addition to these requirements, users should also use common sense when choosing passwords. They must avoid basic combinations that are easy to crack. For example “password”, “password1” and “pa$$w0rd” are all equally bad from a security perspective.
    3. Users should choose unique passwords for all of their system accounts, with meaning only to the user who chooses it.
    4. If the security of a password is in doubt – for example, if it appears that an unauthorised person has logged into the account – the password must be changed immediately
    5. Default passwords-such as those created for new users when they start or those that protect new systems when they are initially set up-must be changed as quickly as possible

 

Poor or weak passwords have the following characteristics:

 

    1. Contain less than eight characters
    2. Contain personal information such as birthdates, addresses, phone numbers or names of family members, pets, friends and fantasy characters.
    3. Contain work-related information such as building names, system commands, sites, companies, hardware or software
    4. Contain number patterns such as aaabbb, qwerty, zyxwvuts or 123321

 

Protecting Passwords

 

    1. Users should never share their passwords with anyone else in their organisation, including co-workers, managers, admin assistants, IT Staff members etc. Everyone who needs access to the MAO system should be given their own unique password.
    2. Users should never share their passwords with any outside parties, including those claiming to be representatives of a business partner with a legitimate need to access the MAO system.
    3. Users should take steps to avoid phishing scams and other attempts by hackers to steal passwords and other sensitive information.
    4. Users should refrain from writing down passwords and keeping them at their workstations.

 

If you have any queries relating to this or concerns that your password integrity may be compromised please do not hesitate in contacting the System Support Team or 0300 303 4444.