Updated 21 April

EPA – FAQs

Updated 21 April 2021 – New Hair & Beauty dispensation dates

In recent weeks we have been working with Ifate, Ofqual and the Hair & Beauty Professional Apprenticeship steering groups on additional End-Point Assessment discretions for Hair and Beauty standards.

We have now worked through the details of this announcement and how these further discretions could be applied.

Our hair, barbering and beauty discretions will be available from the following dates.

  • Hairdressing – Monday 26 April 2021
  • Barbering – Monday 26 April 2021
  • Beauty – Tuesday 4 May 2021

Please register for a Hair, Barbering & Beauty EPA Dispensations & Discretions webinar on: Thursday 22 April 2021, 10.00 – 11.00

Register today


04 March 2021 – New Covid-19 Flexibility permitting EPA prior to Functional Skills achievement

Last week a new temporary flexibility has been introduced by the ESFA. This allows apprentices that are ready to take their FSQ assessments in English and maths to proceed with their end-point assessment - and complete their FSQ assessment at a later date. If you are interested in this dispensation, please see more details below.

This page has been updated with information and guidance of how to apply for this dispensation. Please find details of the process below.

Find out how to apply


Information and updates on EPA during the Covid-19 outbreak

Following the announcements from the UK government, we wanted to take this opportunity to update you on the proactive steps that City & Guilds and ILM are taking to support both colleagues and customers during these difficult times.

These arrangements apply with immediate effect and until further notice. 

In summary the guidance covers the following points:

  • We are here to support you through every stage of the end-point assessment (EPA) journey
  • We are currently able to continue to offer remote EPAs for a number of standards
  • We will continue to review and update guidance frequently – so keep checking in.

The following guidance is for customers who have apprentices at different stages of the apprenticeship journey.

Government announcements and advice

Updated 04 March 2021 – New Covid-19 Flexibility permitting EPA prior to Functional Skills achievement

This information has been updated – please scroll to the new sections of “How to apply” and “FAQs” below for details on the process.

Background

This flexibility is only available to apprentices where all possibilities to access FSQ assessment via face-to-face and remote assessment have been exhausted, and they have confirmed their intent to continue and complete their FSQ within three months of starting their EPA. Confirmation of this must also be evidenced in the learner file/evidence pack. Apprentices who are waiting to take their FSQ assessment now have the opportunity to pass through gateway and take their EPA without any further delay.

Eligibility

To be eligible to take their EPA before achieving the required functional skills qualifications, the apprentice must:

  • not be on a break in learning (an apprentice may return from a break in learning to take their end-point assessment)
  • meet all other gateway criteria to progress to their EPA as specified in the apprenticeship standard (except meeting the English and maths requirements)
  • have been confirmed by you and their employer as ready for both their EPA, and to take a functional skills qualification assessment
  • start their EPA on or before 31 May 2021.

As completion payments for the apprenticeship will be triggered by progression to EPA, it is essential that training providers are able to demonstrate that they have exhausted all possibilities to access FSQ assessment via face-to-face and remote assessment through their awarding organisation. Apprenticeship Funding Rules will require providers to declare this in their evidence pack along with a written declaration of the apprentice’s intent to take the required functional skills assessments within three months of starting their EPA. In line with business-as-usual arrangements, this evidence pack content will be subject to audit and associated controls.

Apprentices will still only complete their apprenticeship once they have passed their EPA and achieved their FSQ in English and/or maths as required. After these achievements have been confirmed by the EPAO they can request a completion certificate. This means that training providers will be expected to provide prompt confirmation of the apprentice’s FSQ results to EPA organisations once these have been awarded, to allow certification to be issued.

How to apply (updated 04 March 2021)

If you would like to apply for the EPA Functional Skills Qualification temporary dispensation, you are required to upload a dispensation declaration along with the usual required gateway evidence no later than 30 April 2021. We encourage you to upload the declaration as early as possible, as requests may be increasingly subject to availability as we move towards the end of April.

If the apprentice is on EPA Pro, please make it clear in the additional notes section on the EPA Preferred Planning Meeting Dates form, that the apprentice qualifies for the FSQ dispensation, and therefore you require that the apprentice starts their EPA no later than 31 May 2021. To check if your apprentices qualify for this dispensation, please view the guidance.

Once the apprentice has taken the Functional Skills Qualification within three months of starting their EPA, and the result evidence is ready, please get in touch with us at epa.gateway@cityandguilds.com so we can advise the next steps for submitting the evidence as this will fall outside of our normal process. We wish to make this as simple as possible for you.


FAQs (updated 04 March 2021)

How long will this dispensation be available?

As the apprentice must sit their first EPA prior to, or on 31 May 2021, to be eligible for this dispensation - any requests (via our declaration form) must be uploaded with all the other completed gateway evidence no later than 30 April 2021. This is to ensure that we can meet the timescales.

Where it states that the apprentice must start their EPA on or before 31 May 2021, is this in relation to gateway or the first EPA assessment?

The ESFA have confirmed that this is when the apprentice starts their first EPA assessment.

When does the apprentice need to take their Functional Skills qualification?

In line with the ESFA criteria, the Functional Skills must be sat within three months from the start of the EPA.

How should the Functional skills results evidence be submitted to City & Guilds so the ESFA certificate can then be claimed?

This will depend on whether your booking is on EPA Pro or EPA Portal. Please get in touch with epa.gateway@cityandguilds.com when you are ready to submit the results so we can support you with this.

What happens if the apprentice is unable to complete their FSQ within three months of the EPA?

We will be unable to claim the ESFA certificate for your apprentice.

Update 11 January 2021 – Updated Government guidance published regarding apprenticeship delivery and Functional Skills

The Department for Education (DfE) and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) have recently published updated guidance on the delivery of apprenticeships and Functional Skills assessments in light of the new lockdown restrictions.

The guidance covers some key areas such as the extensions to apprenticeships flexibilities until 31 August 2021 from the Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education, and Functional Skills requirements (please see pages 15/16 in the link below).

View the latest guidance from DFE and ESFA

Updated 04 November 2020 – Hair and Beauty and barbering - collaborative statement re EPA services

tquk logo This is a collaborative statement from End-point Assessment Organisations within the hairdressing, barbering and beauty therapy services sector.

City & Guilds, VTCT and Training Qualifications UK have been working collaboratively regarding the practical observation of End-point Assessments. Following guidance of the recent publication from IfATE and the Trailblazer Steering groups, as of 5th November 2020, we will be in Scenario 1. All End-point Assessment Organisations have agreed by consensus that delay for practical observation is the appropriate mitigation during the second COVID-19 national lockdown situation for the Hair Professional and Beauty Professional standards.

vtct logo Practical observation is a critical part of the End-point Assessment which ensures that the Apprentice is safe to progress into employment and to provide services to the public. Our joint priority is to ensure that we all continue to follow government guidelines to support public health.

The collaborative statement is fully supported by both the Hair Professional and Beauty Professional Steering Groups. This current position will be continually under review and City & Guilds will keep you all updated with any further developments.

Updated 04 November 2020 – National lockdown update

The Government have recently announced a national lockdown for the month of November  to contain the spread of Covid-19.  

We are actively doing everything we can to mitigate any impact on your apprentices and we will continue to manage our service just as we have in the last few months to honour all our face-to-face appointments. Our Independent End-Point Assessors continue to undertake face to face assessments, however if for any reason we need to amend any bookings we will aim to re-schedule with the next available IEPA to reduce the impact on you and your apprentices.

If you have an EPA event booked and you need to re-schedule the assessment please contact our EPA booking team via centresupport@cityandguilds.com or 0192 4930 800 who will be happy to help you. We will work closely with you to get a new date arranged as soon as possible.

Updated 14 October 2020 - Important updates for Functional Skills and End-Point Assessment

On 14 October 2020 it was confirmed that extensions to Legacy Functional Skills would be put in place to 31 July 2021. The temporary suspension of the rule requiring level 2 apprentices to study towards, and attempt, level 2 functional skills exams to 31 March 2021 was also confirmed.

Read the guidance

Updated 02 April 2020 – Can apprentices continue their learning and assessment whilst on furlough?

Furloughed workers are those whose employers cannot cover staff costs due to coronavirus, and as such they have been asked to stop working, but have not been made redundant. Employers in this position are now able to access support to continue paying part of their staff’s wages, to avoid redundancies.

To find out more you can access the full government info here: for support for businesses and about job retention.

Q. Can furloughed apprentices still carry on with their apprenticeship?

Yes, furloughed apprentices can continue to study if the programme they are registered on enables this, i.e. the apprentice has access to content or theory modules that do not require work based learning.

Q. Can study that supports 20% off the job requirements still be counted during furlough?

Yes. However, providers must be able to evidence the off the job study time.

Q. Can furloughed employees carry out volunteer work or complete online training courses?

Yes. A furloughed employee can take part in volunteer work, as long as it does not provide services to or generate revenue for, or on behalf of the employer’s organisation.

Q. How is progress recorded whilst an apprentice is working from home or on furlough?

Apprentices will already be recording off-the-job training activity using an approach agreed with their training provider and/or their employer. Continued use of this approach is absolutely fine. However, If work circumstances change because of COVID-19, so the minimum 20% off the job cannot be met, providers and employers will need to liaise and potentially agree a break in learning.

Q. Can furloughed workers complete other types of training?

Yes. However, if workers are required to, e.g. complete online training courses whilst they are furloughed, then they must be paid at least the NLW/NMW for the time spent training, even if this is more than the 80% of their wage that will be subsidised.

Q. What happens if the apprentices situation changes?

Where apprentices are furloughed (granted a leave of absence) or placed on unpaid leave, or where the nature of their employment changes and no longer supports their apprenticeship, the apprentice, employer and training provider should consider whether a break in learning would be appropriate.

Q. Can Apprentices still take an End Point Assessment if they are furloughed?

Yes – this is allowed. Brief guidance from the ESFA can be found here within section 3, first item.

Updated 24 March 2020 – Government advice from DFE and IFATE

Late on the 23 March, the Government issued further guidance, specifically for the FE sector, on arrangements for learning delivery during the COVID19 crisis. There is specific information from the Department of Education (DfE) and from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE).

The announcements answer many questions that City & Guilds and our partners have been asking recently in response to the current situation. However, there are a number of further points that require clarification and we will continue to request guidance and detailed information from government and will post updates here regularly.

Below is a summary of the announcements, and links to more comprehensive information.

  • encouraging training providers to deliver training to apprentices remotely and via e-learning as far as is practicable
  • allowing the modification of end-point assessment arrangements, including remote assessments wherever practicable and possible
  • clarifying that apprentices ready for assessment, but who cannot be assessed due to Covid-19 issues, can have their end-point assessment rescheduled. Apprentices whose gateway is delayed can have an extension to the assessment timeframe
  • enabling employers and training providers to report and initiate a break in learning where the interruption to learning due to Covid-19 is greater than four weeks
  • clarification on how to record breaks in learning so that funding is not unnecessarily disrupted
  • confirming that, where apprentices are made redundant, it is DfE ambition to find them alternative employment and continue their apprenticeship as quickly as possible and within 12 weeks
  • guidance for apprentices experiencing issues with programme delivery during Covid-19, including guidance on how to continue study during the crisis and what to do in the event of breaks in learning, redundancy etc.

Find out more

DfE also confirmed that the new arrangements that Government have made to support private businesses during the crisis, also apply to private training providers. Further information about this support and eligibility criteria is available on the HMRC website and on the following link.

Find out more.

The Institute of Apprenticeships and TechEd (IfATE)

IfATE have also issued guidance which covers;

  • Their expectations of the sector
  • How to contact them in case of queries
  • Training and assessment changes during COVID 19
  • Delivery of EPA during COVID 9
  • EQA expectations
  • Delivery of Functional Skills and pre gateway qualifications

Find out more

Registrations

Can registrations continue to be made at this time?

Registrations can continue to be made on all standards that are currently live – although it is important that customers consider this decision in light of our guidance on bookings below.

Gateway

Updated 11 January 2021 – Functional Skills Dispensation for Apprenticeship standards

Update 11 January 2021 – The Department for Education (DfE) and the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) have recently published updated guidance on the delivery of apprenticeships and Functional Skills assessments in light of the new lockdown restrictions.

The guidance covers some key areas such as the extensions to apprenticeships flexibilities until 31 August 2021 from the Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education, and Functional Skills requirements (please see pages 15/16 in the link below).

View the latest guidance from DFE and ESFA >


Update 3 August 2020 – New guidance from ESFA regarding Functional skills tests from 1 August 2020

On 31 July, ESFA announced an updated regarding learners who are approaching gateway after 1 August. From 1 August, the guidance states that learners who are approaching gateway after 1 August are expected to take a live FSQ test.

Therefore, City & Guilds are no longer able to accept Functional Skills calculated grades prior to Gateway for EPA.

The ESFA guidance states;

“Where calculated results for FSQs are issued, this only applies to assessments that would have been taken by apprentices between 20 March and 31 July 2020. We do not expect calculated results to be issued after 31 July 2020.”

The full guidance can be found here


Update 16 July 2020 – What has changed given the adaptions made by DfE and what does this mean for centres?

The temporary flexibility suspending the funding rule requiring level 2 apprentices to study towards, and attempt, level 2 functional skills assessments has been extended until 31 December 2020. More details can be found on the ESFA website.

 

Update 13 July 2020 – flexibility on FS attempts for level 1, level 2 and Gateway

Apprentices who are due to take their end-point assessment (EPA) up until 31 July 2020 can be passed through gateway to sit their EPA without the need to attempt the level 2 functional skills English and maths assessment.

However, level 2 apprentices will still require a level 1 functional skills in English and/or maths in order to complete their apprenticeship.

Apprentices undertaking a level 3 or higher apprenticeship are still required to hold or achieve an approved level 2 functional skills English and maths qualification, before they can pass through gateway.


What will providers need to know?

Providers will need to retain evidence if an apprentice did not take the assessments due to COVID-19.

Read the DfE guidance here >

 

Update 24 April 2020 - DfE guidance

On 24 April the Department for Education (DfE) issued the following guidance in relation to functional skills in all apprenticeship standards.

Read the DfE guidance here >

Updated 27 October 2020 – EPA Gateway Redundancy form

The purpose of this document is for providers to guarantee that if an apprentice has had a break in learning or has been made redundant, that all subsequent information is captured to allow City & Guilds to complete their End-Point Assessment.

This document should only be used for apprentices who have been made redundant but have completed the minimum duration training period of 12 months on-programme, or who have less than 12 months on programme but have an exemption listed within the current apprenticeship funding rules.

Download the form

What happens if we cannot get copies of certifications to allow apprentices to pass through gateway?

In line with our current standard processes, if it is not possible to obtain a certificate or a notification of results from the awarding body, we will accept the below evidence types:

  • PLR can be accepted as evidence of achievement
  • Candidate History from Walled Garden (City and Guilds only) can be accepted when it clearly shows the full achievement of the qualification by stating qualification conferred and certificated. Please note, if it states unit credits and not qualification this will not be accepted
  • A SIMS / CMIS report is also acceptable but must be authenticated with a stamp from the relevant school/college and signed by the examinations officer or equivalent authority
  • National Record of Achievement which must contain relevant awarding organisation verifiable achievement.

In addition, we will now also accept the following:

  • Email or screenshot from the relevant awarding organisation confirming that the apprentice has passed the qualification (COVID-19 DISPENSATION)

All evidence must clearly state the apprentice’s full name, date of birth, name of qualification (including awarding organisation name and qualification accreditation number), the grade awarded, and the date of achievement.

What is the guidance on signatures?

City & Guilds will continue to process gateway activity in line with current standard processes.

Under Covid-19 restrictions, we have put the below dispensations in place which apply to all the EPA recording forms.

Previously we only accepted wet, digital signatures or an image/photo of a wet signature, but we will now also accept a typed in name.

We require a signature from the Employer, Training Provider and the Apprentice. However, if in the current circumstances, it’s not possible to obtain the apprentice’s signature, then a signature from both the Employer and Training Provider will be sufficient.

If it is difficult to obtain any of the above signature types, we will also accept an email confirmation from the Training Provider and Employer stating that the apprentice is ready for EPA as long as the following conditions are met.

  • The email must be explicit about the apprentice’s readiness for EPA
  • If providing a confirmation email screenshot, it must be legible
  • If there are any attachments in the email, we need to be able to view these
  • All evidence must be uploaded onto the EPA Portal

In this case, we won’t require confirmation from the Apprentice as the Employer has already made a declaration on their behalf.

Booking EPA events

Updated 26 March – New Hair & Beauty dispensation – full statement available

In recent weeks we have been working with Ifate, Ofqual and the Hair & Beauty Professional Apprenticeship steering groups on potential dispensations for Hair and Beauty standards.

On Wednesday 17 March, Ifate announced that new flexibilities will be introduced for Hair and Beauty standards. The statement can be found on the Ifate website.

We have now worked through details of this announcement and how these flexibilities could be applied.  Please find the full statement below which provides further details.

Download the statement

Updated 1 March 2020 - Hair & Beauty Apprenticeship Bookings

In light of the government’s announcement on Monday 22 February 2021 regarding the proposed reopening of Personal Care Services from 12 April we would like to confirm that we are now taking Hair and Beauty EPA bookings from this date.

In the meantime we are continuing to work with Ifate and the Hair & Beauty Professional Steering Groups around any further flexibilities or dispensations which may be available. As a result, any EPA bookings that have already been made to take place after 12 April may potentially be allowed to be amended and take place earlier if the guidance allows.

Updated 14 August 2020 - Hair and Barbering EPA bookings now open

We were pleased to receive news on 13 August 2020, that restrictions will be lifted for the remaining “Close Contact Services” in England as of 15th August 2020.

 

This means that treatments and services on the face and neck can resume in England from Saturday 15th August 2020. In light of this, we are able to re-open bookings for our Hair Professional – Barbering and Beauty Therapist EPA as from Monday 17th August 2020.

This does not apply to areas where there are current local lockdowns.
 
Guidance for close contact services has also been updated and as a result; it is now required that people working in the hair, barbering and beauty (and other close contact services) to wear a type 2 mask as well as a visor.  Further detail as to when this must be worn can be found on the government website; 
 

visit gov.uk

Please remember you must provide the IEPA the PPE required for the EPA event to go ahead.

EPA event scheduling and cancellations

If your scheduled EPA event (remote or face-to-face) is affected by circumstances related to the Covid-19 incident, please contact us as soon as possible via centresupport@cityandguilds.com or 0192 4930 800.

Please note that we must receive the contact directly from yourselves and not from apprentices and employers. Given the changing nature of this incident we ask you to give us as much notice as possible to make the necessary updates (three days if possible).

We know this is a difficult period but please be prepared to share details of the reason for the change to delivery so we can assist you with the recovery/rescheduling of the event(s). We will ensure the actions taken meet the regulator guidelines.

If you have further queries specifically related to our EPA event delivery response, then please email/call our Customer Services team on the details above.

How will I know my EPA events are going ahead?

We will be introducing a new process to contact all customers three days before any EPA event is due to happen – just to check that all parties are still able to proceed with the EPA. Further details to follow on this.

Does City & Guilds and ILM have the resource to deliver EPAs?

The health and wellbeing of our valued staff, assessors and customers is paramount and with this in mind, all office based colleagues will be working from home indefinitely, whilst remaining fully operational and committed to providing the service you need. We will continue to monitor this daily and update you accordingly.

City & Guilds has a large pool of assessors for EPA and continue to monitor their availability to support all of our EPA activity.

Updated 27 March 2020 – Do we need to still do the order of assessments as identified in the assessment plan?

No – the requirement for assessment methods to be completed in a set order has been relaxed to allow flexibility in delivery, where this is deemed reasonable and feasible.

For example, if a standard states you must do an online knowledge test before any other assessment components. then this can now be done in any order.

In most standards, we are only expecting customers to look at changing the order of the evolve test, to follow other remote assessments.

These requests will be centrally logged by the booking team.

Status of apprenticeship standards and delivery

Updated 07 January 2021 – Support for EPA

Following the recent Government announcements regarding the National Lockdown, we would like to reassure you that our End-Point Assessment teams will continue to support you and your apprentices, the majority of standards we offer are open and available during this time.

Across the many apprenticeships standards we offer, we currently have 36 that can be delivered fully remotely and we have 17 standards that require a face-to-face element. Providing customers meet all COVID-19 safety guidelines we are able to proceed with the majority of these standards, please take a look at the status of standards list below:

View the current status of standards at a glance

View detailed guidance of EPA dispensations by sector

If you need support please contact us and we will be happy to help you with your End-Point assessment needs.

Updated 07 January 2021 – Status of standards at a glance

Please find our list of delivery approaches for end-point assessments during Covid-19 showing those that can take place face-to-face and where dispensations have been agreed with IfATE.

View the list

We have also put in place an online declaration form for centres to complete, to provide assurances that the venues that assessments will take place at meet government health and safety guidelines for Covid-19.

Find out more

Update 07 January 2021 – Hair and Beauty standards – statement from City & Guilds

Following the lockdown announcement on Monday 4th January, we have had to review our position on the delivery of EPA once again in the context of what is possible within the current restrictions.

Unfortunately we are currently have to pause EPA for Hair and Beauty Standards due to the close contact nature of the assessment. Delay for practical observation is the only appropriate mitigation during the current Covid-19 situation for the Hair Professional and Beauty Professional standards.

Practical observation is a critical part of the End-point Assessment which ensures that the Apprentice is safe to progress into employment and to provide services to the public. Our priority is to ensure that we all continue to follow government guidelines to support public health.

The World Health Organisation (WHO), UK and EU governments have stressed the importance of social distancing to reduce the risk of spreading coronavirus. Best practice requires at least six-feet or 2m distance between yourself and others. In the hairdressing, barbering and beauty therapy industries all of our services involve close ‘human to human’ contact. Keeping everyone safe will always remain a priority.

We will continue to work with our regulator and Government to review the situation as it evolves and we are hopeful that restrictions will be lifted by March, at which time further guidance will be issued regarding the delivery of these standards.

Status of apprenticeship standards - dispensations

Updated 21 December 2020

Please find detailed information and guidance on our EPA dispensations page below;

View our dispensations guidance

Updated 11 January 2021 – All end dates for flexibilities across all standards have been extended further to 31 August 2021. Please see announcement from the Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education (Ifate) below.

View announcement

Taking online tests

Updated 12 January 2021 - Can apprentices take an online test at home?

Yes – and Microsoft Teams is now available to use as a platform. Please find updated guidance on our guidance and FAQs.

Can apprentices take an online test at an employer's premises?

Yes – this is still possible. Where an employer conducts online external assessments they are responsible for ensuring that the awarding body requirements are met for downloading software and test/examination materials. You must also ensure that all technical requirements have been met. Some technical requirements will need to be met in advance of the test/examination.

Read the guidance

Certification

Updated 22 May 2020 – e-Certs - City & Guilds

e-Certifications update – 22 May 2020

e-Certifications (e-Certs) for ILM qualifications and programmes are now live and downloadable from myCertis on Walled Garden. 

This applies for any certificates issued from 1 March 2020 including Assured, Endorsed and Development (E&D) programmes.

Centres can request access via our Customer Services Team at centresupport@cityandguilds.com. Users will need to have an account with Primary or Secondary status.

Visit our webpage for more information.

e-Certs - ILM

Unfortunately, ILM centres do not have access to our e-Certificate functionality for ILM products including EPA.

Will City & Guilds still claim ESFA certificates?

City & Guilds will continue to claim any overarching apprenticeship certificates for apprentices that have fully completed their EPA. This is typically done within 10 working days of City & Guilds issuing our own statement of achievement.

The ESFA will send certificates to the address notified to City & Guilds at registration (typically the employer). We await further guidance on any changes to this process and will update accordingly.

Payment

Will I still get charged for EPA?

Our policy has always been to only charge for the EPA once it has been fully completed. We will continue to apply this policy and where an EPA cannot be fully completed then no invoice will be issued.

Contact us

We understand that you will be experiencing a great deal of disruption across your organisation, and we will do all we can to minimise this and continue to provide a positive customer experience. 

The City & Guilds team is still on hand to provide customer support, technical support, and any other needs you may have. 

During this time, you can continue to access support through:

We have well-established support mechanisms in place and you will still be able to continue to access your usual customer service support through these existing channels during this challenging time.

We understand that you may have queries relating to different scenarios you might be facing, and we have set up a dedicated section of our website to communicate the latest information so please keep checking for updates.