The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) has updated end point assessment (EPA) arrangements to help more hair and beauty apprentices complete during the COVID-19 pandemic.

The decision was taken in response to concerns that challenges with close contact assessment have been preventing large numbers from finishing their apprenticeships and moving on with their careers.

Hair professional, beauty therapist, and beauty and make-up consultant apprentices will be able to complete without close contact assessment until at least the end of August.

The intention is still for the EPA plan to be delivered in the usual way where possible.

However, this new discretion will provide additional flexibility for assessment to be delivered in a different way for as long as it is needed due to COVID-19, which will give apprentices a fair chance to complete.

Nikki Christie, deputy director for apprenticeship assessment and quality, said:

“We understand the huge challenges that COVID-19 has posed to the hair and beauty sector and to apprentices. We have listened to a wide variety of views and worked hard to find a solution that supports apprentices while maintaining high standards.
“These are extraordinary measures which we are taking to help clear blockages in the system and give more apprentices a fair opportunity to complete.”

These new measures will apply in addition to flexibilities introduced for EPA in response to the pandemic last year.

The view among our employer stakeholders, who assessed different options, was that they are needed because movement and numbers allowed in salons will still be restricted after they reopen on 12 April.

This followed consultation with employers, end point assessment organisations, and regulators, including representatives from the Institute's route panel, Ofqual, NHBF, and our employer-led hair professional and beauty professional steering group.


Notes to editors:

  • Ofqual, employers, and end point assessment organisations are working on arrangements for how the new discretions will be implemented.
  • The Institute will continue to monitor the performance of all our apprenticeship flexibilities to ensure that they are having the desired impact.
  • We will review whether any further extensions are required on a monthly basis from 1 May and provide three months’ notification of any decision to change.
  • The earliest any flexibilities, including the new hair and beauty measures, could be withdrawn is the end of August.