Another week and another EPA update from us. This week, we have information about:

  • ESFA Apprenticeship Certificates
  • Lockdown restrictions lifted

As well as a further update and/or reminder regarding:

  • Customer Service Practitioner & Customer Service Specialist – LIVE
  • Hospitality & Catering Standards – Live from Tues 26th May

And finally, a thank you for your feedback so far and to request more feedback and success stories:

  • COVID-19 Apprenticeship success stories

ESFA Apprenticeship Certificates

We have recently been made aware that the ESFA are not currently issuing Apprenticeship Certificates. Whilst we await further information linked to this, we are working on the assumption that this will be due to current working arrangements and not being able to operate a print run.

What does this mean for my Apprentices?

As we await further information we intend to continue to make Certificate submissions, as per our usual process. We keep a robust record of all submissions, so as needed can aid any reconciliation of missing certificates once the ESFA resume issuing once more.

We have also been notified that for some Apprentices who may have completed their End-Point Assessment just prior to lockdown, their Certificate may have been issued and sent to their Employer, which may now be closed. In such instances, these Certificates will have been returned to the ESFA who will look to reissue once they are operational.

We will be providing more updates as we receive these. In the meantime, for any specific enquiries, please send these to using ‘COVID Certificate’ in the title.

Lockdown Restrictions Lifted

With the Government offering the first of an expected several updates recently regarding plans to exit the state of lockdown, we thought it might be useful to offer you a brief update on how we plan to operationalise any changes.

As always, safety will remain at the heart of all we do. With that in mind, we will be making any updates to our practice or assessment approach sector-specific and in line with government guidance. As these become applicable, we will provide greater detail to give assurances of our safe working practices.

Just as we did to enable and implement assessment flexibilities and approved alternative assessment methods, we will continue to work closely with IfATE and External Quality Assurance Providers to phase back in assessments such as onsite Practical Observations and other face to face assessment methods.

At present, there is no guidance as to how long the temporary alternative assessment methods will be live for and we will do our best to keep you informed of any prescribed deadlines, ensuring that no Apprentice is disadvantaged by any such changes.

Customer Service Practitioner & Customer Service Specialist – Approved Alternative Assessment Method to Observation LIVE

Further to the update we provided last week, we can confirm that following the IfATEs approval to temporarily replace the Standards Observation assessments with a Witness Testimony and Question & Answer session, Assessor training has since taken place and we are now LIVE with our delivery of this alternative assessment method and support materials are available on VERVE EPA!

A reminder that if your Apprentice has already progressed through Gateway, you do not need to contact us. EPA Assessors will be in contact directly with Apprentices to discuss their option to undertake the replacement assessment component and schedule, as applicable.

For all future Apprentices you submit for Gateway, we have made an alternative COVID-19 Gateway form which we ask you to complete, which confirms the Apprentice’s assessment preferences for this observation or replacement assessment. This updated Gateway form can be found on VERVE EPA and includes COVID-19 in the title.

Hospitality & Catering Standards

As per last week’s update, we would just like to confirm that the alternative assessments for this sector will be LIVE from Tuesday 26th May.

To recap, the replacement assessments linked to Practical Observations will be an On-Programme Evidence Portfolio with Question & Answer Session for the following standards:

  • Hospitality Team Member
  • Hospitality Supervisor
  • Commis Chef
  • Chef De Partie
  • Production Chef
  • Senior Production Chef

In addition to a replacement of the Culinary Challenge assessments with submitted menu plans (costings as applicable), MOCK EPA evidence, Witness Statements and other on-programme evidence as required supported with Question & Answer Session are needed for the following two standards:

  • Commis Chef
  • Chef De Partie

As both replacement assessments rely heavily upon mock EPA and on-programme evidence it might not be possible for all Apprentices to undertake these replacement assessments and we ask that attention is given to our updated guidance documents, which will be published by our go LIVE date of 26th May.

Where evidence does not support Apprentices to undertake these replacement assessments the DELAY option must be chosen to provide the best possible assessment opportunity for each Apprentice.

COVID-19 Apprenticeship success stories

Firstly, a really big thank you for all of your positive messages of support – it has been heart-warming to receive such fantastic feedback in relation to how quickly we have been able to operationalise assessment flexibilities, to support both you and your Apprentices. Our goal throughout this period has been to keep assessment practice going and avoid delays where possible, so it’s brilliant that our efforts are having the desired impact!

In May alone, 96% of our all Apprentices progressing through Gateway have been able to be assessed 100% remotely!

As before, please do share with us your good new stories, so we can help celebrate all the hard work you are doing to keep Apprenticeships progressing and innovative ways you are working with your Apprentices! Get in touch on and give your email the subject line: ‘COVID-19 Apprenticeship success stories’.

How TQUK Can Help You

The new apprenticeship standards are designed to improve upon what’s gone before and help with the apprentice’s initial journey into their chosen career, before you know it, they’ll be on the road to success.


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