On March 20 2019, TQUK EPA passed two Hair Professional apprentices at The Link Academy with Distinctions!

Benjamin Ward and James Garner were the first apprentices assessed by TQUK at The Link Academy, an independent work-based learning provider specialising in barbering. The Huddersfield-based organisation has provided bespoke training to their learners since 2011, and began offering apprenticeships on the new Apprenticeship Standards in 2016.

Getting a Distinction in the Hair Professional Apprenticeship is incredibly difficult, so we were absolutely delighted to see that both Benjamin and James cut their way to success in their End-Point Assessments. We have no doubt that this success is the first of many for both of them!

Both Hair Professional apprentices at The Link Academy undertook a rigorous End-Point Assessment that included a Practical Assessment and an Oral Questioning. The assessment tested their skills in a practical context, allowing them to demonstrate all the barbering techniques in their arsenal while providing explanations and justifications of all of their actions.

During the EPA, both Benjamin and James undertook consultations with customers; demonstrated their ability to shampoo, condition and treat hair; used various cutting techniques to create a variety of looks; trimmed facial hair into shape; and provided shaving services for their customers.

Now that they have their apprentice certificates in hand, let’s see what everyone had to say about their achievements!

Their End-Point Assessor, Julie Wernham, was blown away by the performance of both apprentices:

“Benjamin and James were down to earth, customer focused and adopted a professional approach. Their work was creative, showing their passion and was personalised with attention to detail. This was supported by their sound knowledge and expertise, which reflected the high standard of training they have received. 

“I was made to feel welcome by The Link Academy and supported by TQUK during the process of End-Point Assessment for the Hair Professional Standards. 

“It was a privilege to be part of their journey and of the industry’s future generation of barbers.”

Both James and Benjamin faced their EPA head-on after undergoing a challenging and rewarding apprenticeship:

Here’s what James had to say about the apprenticeship and his EPA:

“During my apprenticeship at The Link Academy I have not only improved my haircuts and shaving, but I have also become a much more professional barber. Having the opportunity to work on real clients from day one made me realise what it is like to work in a barbershop from the beginning. It also allowed me to build my people, customer service and communication skills.

“The Link Academy not only teach you barbering and hairdressing, but they also teach you people skills and how to deal with different situations in the salon. I have thoroughly enjoyed my apprenticeship here working with top barbers and stylists and also top people.

“Since receiving my Distinction for my End-Point Assessment, it has been really nice to have my success being celebrated by my colleagues and training academy. What I found most challenging was trying to arrange the correct clients that met the correct criteria. I also found it very nerve-wracking having the assessor watching over me. However, I feel that this brought out the best out in me.

“The Link Academy did a brilliant job in supporting me from start to finish on my course and I am very grateful for all of their help and the hard work they put into me. I am also very grateful for all of the opportunities that have come towards me recently.

“My End-Point Assessor was really calm which helped me to calm down as well. Julie really put me at ease which made me feel like it was just a normal day with my usual clients.”

Amanda Lodge Stuart, Director at The Link Academy, was delighted by the results of their Hair Professional apprentices:

“James and Ben have both worked exceptionally well throughout the term of their apprenticeships. They have continually improved their knowledge, skills and behaviours and listened carefully to all developmental feedback from their Trainer, Ben Lodge, to achieve the Distinction grade that they have been awarded. They have both committed to practice continually on the salon floor and have gone through several mock assessments before agreeing that they were ready for EPA.

“We are really excited and proud to be awarded Distinctions on our very first experience of going through an EPA. This has been a totally different experience from working towards a framework apprenticeship. Here at The Link Academy, we feel the Standard has much more value and is a realistic expectation of what an apprentice should look like once they qualify. 

“TQUK has supported us fully throughout the process. They have been very easy to get hold of and ask questions. The Gateway process was clear and easy to follow and we felt fully informed throughout. The End-Point Assessor was very approachable and friendly and she most certainly put both James and Ben at ease.”

Kelle McQuade, our Head of EPAO, wanted to give her own congratulations to Ben and James:

“Congratulations you two! You should be incredibly proud of yourselves. Achieving a Distinction is no easy feat, and you both dazzled your End-Point Assessor with your fantastic skills and expert knowledge. I’m sure that your End-Point Assessment has prepared you for any hairy situations you may encounter in the future and I hope you’re excited for the long and successful careers ahead of you!

“We pride ourselves on the support we give to all of our centres, and we’re very happy that The Link Academy has been pleased with our services. We agree wholeheartedly that standards are a much better way of ensuring apprentices are fully competent in their roles compared to the old frameworks and are glad that The Link Academy agrees! We look forward to a long and fantastic partnership with more Distinctions down the line!”

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