The EPA guides for employers, apprentices and training providers on best practice for assessment have now been published by the ESFA.

ESFA will be holding two webinars to provide an overview of the recently published end-point assessment guides. These guides outline the roles and responsibilities for assessment throughout the whole apprenticeship journey.

To register for the webinars please click on the links below:

Thursday 4th November at 11am
Registration (

Training Providers
Friday 5th November at 2pm
Registration (

A group of seven Whitemeadow Apprentices have just completed their Level 2 Furniture Manufacturer – Modern Upholsterer Apprenticeship EPA with Achieve+Partners. Three of the apprentices achieved full marks in their observations and five of the apprentices achieved an overall Distinction. We hope they are very proud of what they have achieved. The apprenticeships were delivered with Webs Training.

Mandy Harper, Apprenticeship Programme Manager at Whitemeadow said “Some of the highest grades ever to be achieved by these fantastic lot! Feeling super proud of Callum Britton, Tammy Burton, Elizabeth Buxton, Georgina Lappage, Stacey Varley, Tara Graney and Kimberley Carter. Top marks once again as Phase 3 apprentices complete their Modern Upholsterer Apprenticeship. All passed with results to be proud of! 15 months of hard work, determination, commitment and discipline has paid off!”

ESFA have recently announced to employers and training providers that eligible apprentices can now take their End-Point Assessment before achieving the required Functional Skills Qualifications (FSQ). This means apprentices may pass the gateway stage before they have taken their FSQ tests.

These Apprentices must still take their FSQ alongside, or within three months of their EPA. Apprentices are still required to achieve FSQs, where they need them, before they can complete their programme and receive their completion certificate. This will include where the apprentice may be eligible to achieve an FSQ through teacher assessed grade following the joint DfE/Ofqual consultation.

Training Providers will be responsible for determining which apprentices should use this flexibility. As more apprentices will now be able to take their EPA, training providers will need to work with Achieve+Partners to manage the volume of assessments.  

ESFA have published updated guidance to reflect this change. Training providers and employers will need to ensure that only apprentices who need to use this temporary flexibility meet all of the following eligibility criteria:

  1. The apprentice must be ready to take their EPA before 31 May 2021. 
  2. The apprentice must be ready to take both their FSQ assessment and their End-Point Assessment. This means that, in the provider’s view, they have met all the other gateway criteria and the only thing stopping them from progressing is FSQ testing. 

The provider must have they have exhausted all possibilities to access FSQ assessment via face-to-face and remote delivery. This includes FSQ testing via:                

  1. Remote delivery, where it is offered by the Awarding Organisation.
  2. Face-to-face delivery, where it is safe to do so and in line with public health guidance.
  3. Other flexibilities currently available through Ofqual’s Extraordinary Regulatory Framework such as invigilation by the employer.


Covid 19 news

Achieve+Partners is delighted to confirm that our EPA services are available either remotely or face-to-face during the lockdown.

Following the Prime Minister’s announcement on 4 January 2021 confirming a new national lockdown, training providers, employers and EPAOs must ensure that training and assessment takes place remotely wherever possible.

Face-to-face training and assessment can continue in colleges and training providers’ premises for vulnerable young apprentices and the children of key workers who need it.

Face-to-face training and assessment can also continue in employers’ covid-secure settings where it is essential for workers to attend their workplace, and where it is safe and practical to do so.

End-point assessment (EPA) and Functional Skills (FSQ) assessments can continue in colleges, training providers’ premises, assessment venues and workplaces where it cannot be conducted remotely and where providers and end-point assessment organisations (EPAOs) judge it right to do so.

For full details please see the latest Government guidance.


September saw BiKBBI CEO Damian Walters warn the industry to “act now to avoid a catastrophe” as he called upon the sector to unite on the subject of Apprenticeships.

Working with strategic partners at The Furniture and Interiors Education, Skills and Training Alliance (FIESTA) and specialist End Point Assessment agency Achieve+Partners, BiKBBI are supporting a Trailblazer for the review of the current Level 2 Fitted Interiors Apprenticeship – which is the industry’s opportunity to ensure the apprenticeship is both continued and developed for future use.

BiKBBI confirmed that over 600 businesses had registered their support for Apprenticeships via its online registration of interest ( and nearly 100 volunteering to be part of the Trailblazer group itself.

Damian commented by saying: “Despite challenging times for the country, it’s clear that the industry has responded well to our call to action. As well as some of the national brands, including John Lewis & Partners, B&Q, Sharpes Bedrooms and Howdens, we’ve seen scores of independent businesses step up and show support for apprenticeships”.

Achieve+Partners are delighted to be supporting this development and are looking forward to working with the industry to develop high class apprenticeships. This demonstrates the power of working in partnership.

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