This Week's News 11.08.17

What is an apprenticeship commitment statement?

A commitment statement is an agreement between the employer, apprentice and ITS which sets out details of how the apprenticeship will be delivered, its content, timescales, and the roles and expectations of each of the three parties. There is a separate commitment statement for each apprentice taken on by the employer. It must be signed by the apprentice (and signed by a parent or carer If the apprentice is under 18), their employer and ITS. All three parties must keep a current signed and dated version. This new requirement was introduced in May 2017 and forms part of the Apprenticeship funding and performance-management rules for training providers May 2017 to March 2018 version 3.

What is the off-the-job training requirement for apprentices?

From 1st May 2017, the Education, Skills and Funding Agency (ESFA) requires all employers of apprentices to provide 20 per cent of their apprentices' working hours on training. This applies to apprentices on all frameworks and standards.

The percentage is calculated on the basis of an apprentice's contracted hours of work, spread over the duration of their apprenticeship. So, if the apprenticeship lasts 24 months and the apprentice has an employment contract for seven hours a day, five days a week, for 46 weeks a year, that adds up to a total of 3,220 contracted hours over the two years. The minimum amount of time they should spend in off-the-job training would be 644 hours, or the equivalent of one day per working week. This does not have to be undertaken at set times and the ESFA says: "It is up to the employer and provider to decide at what point during the apprenticeship the training is best delivered.” Nor does the off-the-job training have to be delivered in a set format.

For off-the-job training to count towards the 20 per cent rule, it must teach "new knowledge, skills and/or behaviours that will contribute to the successful achievement of an apprenticeship”. It must also be "directly relevant to the apprenticeship” and could include teaching of theory, practical training or time spent completing assignments. Training can be carried out at the apprentice's normal workstation, as long as they are learning new skills – "it is the activity, rather than the location” that counts. And some, but not all, off-the-job training can be delivered via distance learning.” Training that the apprentice does in their own time can only count towards the 20 per cent if the apprentice is given time off in lieu. Progress reviews can't be counted and any English and maths support doesn't count either.

What does 20% equate to?
40 hour week = 8 hours per week off-the-job training
37 hour week = 7.5 hours (rounded up from 7.4)
35 hour week = 7 hours
30 hour week = 6 hours

What is meant by ‘off-the-job-training'?
According to the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) off-the-job training is "outside of normal working duties”. However, they acknowledge that it is possible to be undergoing training activities outside of normal working duties while being physically at the usual workstation. For example, being taught how to use straighteners. The ESFA defines off-the-job training as practical, work-based learning with technical and theoretical learning.

What can be counted towards the 20% off-the-job training rule?

Practical Training Teaching Theory Written Exercises
Practise on head blocks
Attendance at competitions
Industry visits
Work shadowing
Formal learning sessions
Manufacturer's training
Online learning
Role plays
Completion of written tasks
Revision for written tests

What can't be counted towards the 20%?
English and maths must be on top of the training requirement so that can't be counted, although the ESFA says: "employers are encouraged to help develop these skills in the workplace to consolidate learning”. The ESFA also views training as being distinct from assessment. That means, time spent on assessments can't be counted either.

How should these hours be recorded?
All apprentices have a Learning Log which can be used to record the hours they spend training in the salon and what the training covered. ITS has always recorded how many hours have been spent on in-salon training when we make salon visits – the only change is that you need to make sure your apprentices record all of it in their Learning Log.

Who's going to check that Apprentices do the required amount of training?
The requirement for all apprenticeships to include a minimum number of hours for off-the-job training is included in the ESFA funding rules. Compliance with this requirement will therefore be considered as part of normal audit arrangements for ITS and for partner salons. It is likely that Ofsted will take an interest in whether apprentices are receiving the amount off-the-job training to which they are entitled.

Do ITS visits count towards the off-the-job training hours?
Yes – but we need to be careful that time spent on assessments, English and maths are not counted towards the total.

What if an apprentice does more hours in one week and less in another?
That is to be expected and is permitted. The hours will be worked out ‘pro-rata' meaning that the hours will be calculated as a share of the total amount. Across a 4-week period the off-the-job training hours might look like this:

Weekly Working Hours Off-the-job training hours required every 4 weeks Week 1 Week 2 Week 3 Week 4 Actual off-the-job training hours per month
40 32 8 5.5 8.5 10 32
37 30 7.5 8 7.5 7 30
35 28 6 7 7 8 28
30 24 6 6 6 6 24

Can the pro-rata off-the-job training hours be worked out across a longer period?
We want this new requirement to work for you so we will be as flexible as possible.
Across a 3-month period, the total off-the-job training hours might look like this:

Weekly Working Hours Off-the-job training hours required per quarter Month 1 Month 2 Month 3 Actual off-the-job training hours for 3 months
40 96 30 34 32 96
37 90 25 35 30 90
35 84 24 32 28 84
30 72 10 38 24 72

Over a 12-month period, the total off-the-job training hours might look like this:

Weekly Working Hours Off-the-job training hours required over 12 months Quarter 1 Quarter 2 Quarter 3 Quarter 4 Actual off-the-job training hours over 12 months
40 384 96 96 90 102 384
37 360 70 110 65 115 360
35 252 84 94 84 74 336
30 288 70 65 135 18 288

Read the guidance

How is the new hair professional apprenticeship assessed and what is end-point assessment?

There are three stages to the assessment of the Hair Professional Apprenticeship:

  1. On-programme assessment – the same as we have always done, assessing apprentices against the requirements of a qualification
  2. Gateway – to reach the gateway, apprentices must complete all the on-programme assessments for the Diploma for Hair Professionals and Functional Skills
  3. EPA – this is 6-hour practical assessment carried out by an Independent Assessment Examiner (IAE) and the apprentice will be asked oral questions by the IAE to validate knowledge and understanding

Apprentices should present for their end-point assessment at the scheduled venue and time, providing their own models and prepared with their own products, tools and equipment for the end-point assessment. The IAE will lead and coordinate the end-point assessment in line with the Hair Professional Assessment Plan and will assess and grade apprentices as Pass or Distinction. The grade for the end-point assessment will be based on a holistic judgement made by the IAE across the apprentice's performance in both the practical demonstration and oral questioning. Apprentices who do not achieve the required Pass standard will be issued with a Fail grade and will be required to retake the end-point assessment at a later date. The IAE will not issue grades on the day of the end-point assessment. Grades will be made available to ITS within approximately 2-3 days of the end-point assessment. It is the responsibility of ITS to inform apprentices of their grade and to provide feedback in line with the IAE's report.

What will my apprentice have to do for the EPA?

The apprentice must complete a range of services on a minimum of two models to industry standards and within commercial timings. Consultation skills, communication skills, safe working practices, professionalism, and values and behaviours will be assessed by practical observation and oral questioning. The apprentice must cover the assessment requirements for:

  • Consultation
  • Colour and lighten hair using a range of techniques
  • Cut hair using a range of techniques to create a variety of looks
  • Style and finish hair using a range of techniques to create a variety of looks

How will my apprentice be prepared for their EPA?

From early on into the apprenticeship, we will work closely with you and your apprentice so everyone understands what the EPA includes. There will be help for selecting the right models, writing a ‘to do' list/action plan, practising against the clock and being coached on answering oral questions really well. To be awarded a distinction, the apprentice needs to showcase first class hairdressing skills and answer the oral questions eloquently.

Supporting mental health in schools and colleges

The Department for Education (DfE) has published a report summarising the key findings from the research into mental health provision in schools and colleges in England. 2,780 primary and secondary schools completed the mental health survey and 15 case studies were conducted in a cross section of schools, colleges and other educational institutions. Findings from the survey show that 93% of institutions undertook systematic activity to try and identify pupils with particular mental health needs which included making use of information from external services or previous schools (76%), and administrative data collected for other purposes such as attendance or attainment records (50%). You can read the report here.

Child and adolescent mental health services

The Department of Health (DoH) has published the mental health workforce plan for England which includes provision for 2,000 additional nurses, consultants and therapist posts in child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). You can read the report here.

Should an employer deal with an employee's poor performance through its disciplinary or capability procedure?

Whether an employer should deal with an employee's poor performance through its disciplinary or capability procedure will depend on the nature of the poor performance. The employer will need to carry out an investigation, which will include meeting with the employee concerned, to establish whether the employee's poor performance is conduct or capability related. If it is conduct related (i.e. the employee has some control over his or her actions), it is appropriate for the employer to follow its disciplinary procedure. However, if the employee's poor performance is capability related (i.e. he or she does not have control over his or her failure to meet the employer's standards of performance), it will be appropriate for the employer to follow a capability procedure for performance management. It is not always obvious whether an employee's poor performance is due to capability or conduct. In some cases, it will be a combination of the two. The employer may need to adopt the procedure that appears to it to be the most appropriate, and change course if the evidence that emerges suggests that this is necessary. Irrespective of which procedure the employer follows, it should comply with the Acas code of practice on disciplinary and grievance procedures.

Which employers are required to appoint a Data Protection Officer under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR)?

Under the General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR), an employer must appoint a Data Protection Officer (DPO) if:

  • it is a public body
  • its core activities consist of large-scale data processing that requires regular and systematic monitoring of individuals
  • its core activities consist of large-scale processing of special categories of data (i.e. sensitive personal data) or personal data relating to criminal convictions and offences.

The role of the DPO is to inform and advise the employer and its employees of their obligations under the GDPR and other applicable data protection laws and to monitor the organisation's compliance. It is therefore a position that should be independent of influence from the organisation and DPOs are protected from being dismissed or penalised for carrying out their duties. The DPO must report directly to the highest management level in the organisation. The role can be contracted externally or carried out internally by a member of staff, but the DPO's other tasks and responsibilities must not conflict with his or her duties as a DPO. A group of companies or public authorities can appoint a single DPO. The GDPR will come into effect on 25 May 2018.

Team ITS warmly welcomes these learners who started their Apprenticeships this week

Georgia Powell – Level 3 Advanced Apprenticeship – Leah Durrant, Chertsey
Jade Biggs – Level 2 Hair Professional Apprenticeship – Studio One, Godalming

Congratulations to the following learner who completed her Apprenticeship this week

Mica Cleeveley – Level 2 Intermediate Apprenticeship – Box, Basingstoke


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