ITS a hair thing - March 2021

Welcome to the March issue of ITS a hair thing!

ITS' operational update

Following the PM's address to the nation on Monday 22nd February, please find below, an overview of ITS' operational plans prior to, and following April 12th 2021.

As I'm sure you will be aware, the PM has confirmed hairdressing and beauty salons in England will not reopen again until at least April 12th . This was announced by Boris Johnson as part of the PM's four-step roadmap out of lockdown plan, with each stage separated by five weeks to assess the impact on infections. The government says shops, hairdressers, nail salons, libraries, outdoor attractions and outdoor hospitality venues such as beer gardens will be allowed to reopen from April 12 'at the earliest'.

DfE update: Further education coronavirus (COVID19) operational guidance February 2021

Last week, the DfE updated their operational guidance for the FE sector which includes ITPs (Independent Training Providers):

From 8 March we expect that every 16 to 19 student (or 19 to 25 with an EHCP) will attend their FE provider in person, and will undertake the majority of their planned hours on site. Adult learners may also return on site. As was the case prior to coronavirus (COVID-19), you should continue to judge the right balance between on-site and remote delivery for adult students in order to provide high quality education and training.

Impact to existing delivery arrangements

From 8th March - option to resume face to face visits in-salon
Now that the PM has sanctioned a return to all settings from 8th March, this means apprentices are permitted to return to their partner salon for educational purposes. As set out in the letter sent to all employers and ISAs earlier this month, your Trainer/Assessor will be contacting you to discuss whether this can be facilitated. I understand there has been varying feedback to these proposals and we are very happy to approach this on a case-by-case basis, as we appreciate individual circumstances differ across our partner salon network. Remote delivery will continue for apprentices who do not resume face to face visits in this period.

Please note, the guidance to return to salons before they re-open to the public is for official educational purposes only. The guidance does not apply to other staff for CPD/training purposes.

Until further notice, apprentices will only be able to carry out practical training on a head block during this period. The use of live models has not yet been confirmed.

From 12th April - provisional scheduling of salon visits
Where apprentices are unable to return to salons before 8th March, salon visits will be provisionally scheduled from 12th April onwards. Should the guidance change, dates will be amended accordingly.

Lateral flow testing for ITPs

The updated guidance states lateral flow testing will be made available for staff and students from the end of March, we will know more about this in the coming weeks:

Colleges and special post-16 institutions will be able to test students on return, initially on site and then moving towards home testing. For Independent Training Providers (ITPs) and Adult Community Learning providers (ACLPs) home testing will be available for staff and students from the end of March. We will keep this guidance under review and update as necessary.

EPAs and Functional Skills

End Point Assessment
TQUK have confirmed they will be resuming EPAs for the Hair Professional standard as of Wednesday 14th April.

Their End-Point Assessors will be reaching out to all apprentices that have already been submitted through Gateway to reschedule any bookings that were previously put on hold due to the latest COVID-19 restrictions. This will be prioritised by Gateway date.

Functional Skills Qualification achievement
A new temporary flexibility has now been introduced. This flexibility allows apprentices at all levels that are ready and waiting to take their FSQ assessments in English and maths, to enter Gateway and complete their End-Point Assessment, and later return to complete FSQ assessment. This flexibility is in place until Monday 31st May.

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.

For an apprentice 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

Reminder: Claim your incentive (if you are eligible)

The government incentive scheme for hiring a new apprentice, between August 2020 and March 2021, is due to end on 31st March 2021 (at the time of writing this article). The deadline for claiming your incentive is 30th April 2021 (again, at the time of writing this article).This looks likely to be extended after the Budget, currently set to take place on 3rd March (see article below) but we need to work to the current deadlines.

We would therefore like to remind you that the incentive will be paid directly to you by the Government and the only way you will receive the incentive payments is by making a claim via your apprenticeship service account. Only YOU can do this. We do not have access to this facility to do it for you.

If you have an apprentice on the apprenticeship service, that meet's the eligibility criteria, you need to make your claim on the apprenticeship service by the deadline.

How to claim

  1. Login to your apprenticeship service account.
  2. Scroll to the "finance" section and click on it
  3. You should see "apply for the hire a new apprentice payment". Click on it.
  4. Follow the instructions on each page

Please note you will need the salon bank details to hand.

The ESFA have created a helpful step-by-step video on how to apply. Click here to watch the YouTube video. We recommend you watch this ahead of starting your claim.

We shall provide further reminders and directly email partner salons with apprentices on the apprenticeship service, but we recommend that you make your claim asap.

Employer cash incentives to double to £3,000 for adult apprentices

The cash bonus scheme for hiring apprentices aged 25 and over is set to double to £3,000 and will be extended by six months.

Financial incentives were first introduced by Rishi Sunak in August and currently offer firms £2,000 to take on apprentices aged 16 to 24, while those that employ new apprentices aged 25 and over are paid £1,500.

But take-up has been low. Latest Department for Education data shows that 25,420 employers have submitted claims for the bonus as of 1 February 2021. The Treasury had budgeted for up to 100,000 incentive payments for new apprentice hires.

The current scheme ends in March, but the chancellor has new plans which will be unveiled in his budget next week to extend it until September 2021.

From April, the incentives will become more generous with a £3,000 payment per hire, regardless of the apprentice's age.

This is on top of the £1,000 payment provided for new apprentices aged 16 to 18 and those under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan, meaning that some employers could receive £4,000 in total.

Association of Employment and Learning Providers chief executive Jane Hickie said the financial incentives boost could be a "game-changer" and prove to be "particularly attractive to smaller businesses".

Hair and Beauty Charity

The Hair and Beauty Charity is the official charity for the hair and beauty industry; an independent service dedicated solely to helping hair and beauty professionals in their hour of need.

"We have a heritage that dates back to 1836 with The Hairdressers' Orphans Fund, and changes along the way from the Hair and Beauty Benevolent, to The Hairdressers' Charity. Throughout these many identities, we have always had one key goal at heart - to provide assistance and support for hair and beauty professionals just like you, many of whom have had nowhere else to turn".

Last year, 'The Hairdressers' Charity' received more than 300 applications for help, and currently has more than 100 long term beneficiaries. Our recent re-brand to become the Hair & Beauty Charity will see us able to help more people than ever. Find out more here.

Save our salons – cut the VAT

Join the campaign:
"Our first mission is to get emergency help and government approval to Chop the VAT to 5% – as is currently enjoyed by the hospitality sector".

"We believe we are the most taxed industry (by percentage) on the high street, with around one-third of every £1 coming through our tills ending up being paid in tax. We have been collectively and individually campaigning directly to government on this point but our argument has not been fully heard, or fully understood. What we need from all salon owners across the UK is a collective and united effort to amplify our voice. The best way for you to do this is to campaign directly with the MP in your area. We have been told that this approach is by far the most effective way to get our voices heard".

For every £100 of revenue, a reduction in VAT to 5% would add £12 to salon takings – a vital lifesaver for any salon. Quite simply, we believe this single act would have the most benefit for VAT-paying salons.

We need you to request a meeting with your MP and this step by step guide tells you exactly what you need to do.

We love to celebrate the achievements of learners and partner salons. Please let us know if you have something to share!

Congratulations! to the following apprentices who achieved their On Programme Tasks in February:

Laura Wentworth
Ella Hay
Kaci Hill

Apprentice of the month!

Apprentice of the Month

Number 1

Number 2

Number 3

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Number 6

Number 7

Number 8

Number 9

Number 10

Number 11

Another month of incredible talent! and once again, an extremely hard task to select this month's winner. Team ITS extends huge congratulations to Bethany from Salon Sixteen who has been voted Apprentice of the Month!

Bethany from Salon Sixteen is this month's winner

Have a great month!

Kind regards
Lauren Pullen
Head of Provision
Inter Training Services Ltd
Mobile: 07875 303317
Web: www.its-ltd.net

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