April Newsletter

Hello and Welcome, 

In this newsletter we will be updating you on the following:

  • End Point Assessment and Qualifications Update
  • Creatio Development
  • New Apprentice On-line Survey
  • Finance Procedures Update
  • On-line FREE Webinar training events in April 2021
  • Marketing
General Update

We hope you all had a happy and relaxing Easter break.  We continue to develop our work here at OAL despite the on-going Covid-19 lockdown.  We have renewed our website and developed a range of support process maps for you to use with your apprentices and employers.  We are continuing with our monthly webinar support programme.  See below and visit the website for the apprenticeship standard support topics we have in place for this month and throughout the year.

We are recruiting for new team members in quality, administration and product development.  Our work with Creatio, our on-line platform is proceeding well with new features added each month to support our customers with using the system and to support our growth in electronic procedures for queries, feedback, appeals and complaints. More details on this are provided below. Our new on-line exam platform is now fully operational.
Qualifications Update – Qualifications Expiring

We have been reviewing the qualifications we offer to make sure they are relevant and fit for purpose to meet our customer needs.  Over this year we will be expiring a number of qualifications from our furniture portfolio.  If there are any qualifications that we currently offer that you want to make sure we keep please let our Head of Partnership Development, Lee Reddington, know and he will make sure we keep them on the list.

We will notify all our centres, via email and in the monthly newsletter, of any qualification that will be expiring in good time for on-going registrations and certification. 

We are creating new qualifications from a number of customer requests we have received and these will be made live later this year.  Our endorsed programme service continues to grow and develop.  If you have short courses or CPD training that you would like quality assuring then please get in touch with us via the customer service team. customerservice@oawards.co.uk They will link you to all the support you need from our quality and product development team to get everything in place. 

End Point Assessment

We have been audited on a number of standards by a range of EQA bodies over the past few months.  These were for, Supply Chain Warehouse Operator and Retailer.  I am very pleased to report that we received no actions and maintained our “good” overall rating for both standards.

Some of the highlights were:
  • For the Supply Chain Warehouse Operator we provide our customers and apprentices with good quality materials that are fit for purpose and helpful to EPA.  We also received confirmation that we are assessing correctly in line with the Assessment Plan, using a range of competent and qualified Independent Assessors.
  • On the Retailer standard, we received excellent feedback about the quality of our Independent Assessment Team, our Standards Moderation process and our training and support for our Assessors and Customers.
This was all great news and excellent to get external confirmation that the team and our Independent Assessors are all doing a great job.
Creatio Development

We are now going live in Creatio with a range of new electronic forms.  These new forms will change the way you need to interact with us as these processes will all now be through the new on-line workflow system.
New Forms in Creatio Creates new ways to complete Reasonable Adjustments, Appeals, Complaints and general queries.

We have now developed a range of new forms to make it easier to submit Appeals, Complaints and General Enquiries through the online portal system.
When you go into the system you will see on your home page a list of forms on the top right hand side that you can complete – the new forms will be listed there and will be available to cover the following:
  • Appeals for the reasons outlined in our Appeals policy, including the remarking of a test.
  • Complaints for the reasons outlined in our Complaints policy
  • Reasonable Adjustments – which are part of the general “submit an enquiry” form and should be completed for all Reasonable Adjustment requests from now.
  • Any other general enquiries about EPA, Qualifications, Endorsed Programmes or any other product or service provided by OAL 
Just click on “create form”, choose the form you wish to complete and complete the relevant sections and press submit, everything will then be processed all through the portal.  If you have any issues with this please contact our Head of Quality and Compliance, Sue Knott on s.knott@oawards.co.uk.  Sue will support you with completing the process if required.
New Apprentice on-line survey after End Point Assessment

We are keen to get feedback from apprentices that have completed End Point Assessment with us each month.  To do this we have now started sending out a link to a short survey to all completers of End Point Assessment on a monthly basis.  We would be pleased if you could encourage your apprentices to complete this survey.  It is really short and will take them around 5 minutes to complete.  It will help us review how well we do End Point Assessment and support our continuous improvement process where feedback indicates that we should.
Creatio development for End Point Assessment – Apprentice End Dates

Please ensure that Apprentice end dates are reviewed and updated on the on-line system by the end of April in line with the ESFA requirements. We have created a guide and short video which are available to support you with this.  If you have any queries about this please get in touch with our customer service team who will support you.  customerservice@oawards.co.uk
Booking EPA on the system

Under Covid-19 adaption requirements Apprentice components can be all booked in one session. This ensures consistency for the Apprentice with short breaks in between and confirms that results are delivered timely.  (OAL’s process is results are issued within 10 working days after the final component has been completed).  This is to allow for moderation and recording of feedback and results.
EPA Live Guides

“How To” EPA Live guides are available for Registrations, Gateways and Bookings.  These have all been recently updated with additional features that we have had developed.  These are available in the Product Library for you to review and access.  Please take a look at this for support in ensuring you are up to date with all the latest information on using the system. 

Please note: When booking EPA assessment sessions please ensure the Smart Days are applied so that you can check what Independent Assessor resource is available on that date and follow OAL’s process for timescales of bookings.
Coming Soon on EPA Live

We continue to work on system development on a daily and weekly basis.  Currently the team are focussing on the following developments that will be available in the new few months:

Reports – A new function will be added so that you can track Apprentices and their end dates. This function, when available, will be added to your reports area for ease of reference.

Session View – A new function will be added to the session details so that you will be able to select Face to Face or Remote visits. Please follow Covid-19 processes at present and only request face to face visits if required via the Customer Service team.

Email templates – these have been updated on the system.  Please review notifications on the system when received at Gateway and if there is a failed component/s. These new notifications will guide you in the next steps for each process.

Resits/Retakes – A new Purchase Order number needs to be added to the Public Comments Section on the system if an apprentice has to be booked for a resit or retake.  This needs to be related to the specific Apprentice on the system so that we know the PO relates to their EPA.
To check if your EPA booking has been confirmed, please click on Reg and Certs and type “Confirmed” in to the search bar.
Finance Procedures Update

We have reviewed and updated our Finance Policy and Procedure and this is available on our website.

We would like to remind Customers regarding payment terms.  We do realise that in these challenging times and staff being furloughed that keeping on top of payments can be difficult.  Please can we politely remind all our customers that our payment terms are 30 days from invoice date, as stated on the invoice. Payment on time will help us to concentrate our resources on helping you, rather than following up outstanding invoices. If you have a query on the invoice or need to delay payment this can be discussed with us.  Please contact our accounts team on accounts@oawards.co.uk  many thanks for your help with this.
On-line Webinar Training Events in April

Please visit our website to view our full programme of events for 2021.
In April we are offering the following FREE WEBINARS to all our customers.
Tuesday 20th April 10am and repeated at 3pm
Customer Service Specialist Workshop – This will be a 1 hour Webinar on the best practice approach for EPA for this standard which is a new addition to OAL’s ever expanding portfolio of EPA.
Friday 23rd April 10am

Portfolio Based Professional Discussion/Interview – How best to prepare Portfolios when linked to Professional Discussions (PD) and Interviews, with hints & tips from an OAL assessor on Interview and PD Preparation (This relates to the following standards: Business Administrator L3, Customer Service L2 & L3, Fitted Furniture Design Technician L3, Hygiene Specialist L4, Lean Manufacturing Operative L2, Operations Manager L5 & Team Leader L3)
Thursday 29th April 3pm

Portfolio Based Professional Discussion/Interview – How best to prepare Portfolios when linked to Professional Discussions and Interviews, with hints & tips from an OAL assessor on Interview and PD Preparation (This relates to the following standards: Business Administrator L3, Customer Service L2 & L3, Fitted Furniture Design Technician L3, Hygiene Specialist L4, Lean Manufacturing Operative L2, Operations Manager L5 & Team Leader L3)

OAL & Whyy?Change celebrate 2-year Partnership
Head of Customer Support Lee Reddington with Ray Byrne CEO of Whyy?Change

We recently developed a case study on our successful relationship with Whyy?Change, where we delivered excellent customer service towards achieving a 100% pass rate on Improvement Practitioner and Technician End-Point Assessments.

Feel free to read the article here

BAME Apprenticeship Awards – Nomination deadline 30th April 2021 – nominate your apprentices for this award now.
The BAME Apprenticeship Awards celebrates the outstanding work and achievement of apprentices from Black, Asian, Minority Ethnic groups (BAME) and inspires BAME apprentices to reach the pinnacles of success in their field. The awards also raise the profile of determined employers and training providers who are forging paths for diversity, inclusion and equality in the workplace.  The awards highlight some of the challenges apprentices have battled to overcome during the pandemic. Whether it be the challenges of navigating furlough or halted learning programmes, apprentices have fought hard to maintain their progression.
These awards aim to support and augment a continual commitment to change in the world of diversity, inclusion and equality.  Please make sure you nominate your great apprentices for one of these awards. Visit the website to do this at
Functional Skills Flexibilities

From the 25th of February (2021), eligible apprentices can start EPA before they achieve their FSQs that are ordinarily mandated as a Gateway requirement, if they have been prevented from completing their FSQs due to Covid-19.

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. Confirmation of this must also be evidenced in the learner file/evidence pack. Apprentices who are waiting to take their FSQ assessment now have the opportunity to pass through gateway and take their EPA without any further delay.

Please refer to the guidance email sent out at the beginning of March and the Functional Skills Flexibilities application form available through the OAL Portal.

We will be sending out regular newsletter updates to all our customers this year to keep you all up to date and informed of our continued work.  In the meantime please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me or one of our team if you have any feedback, queries or concerns.

Thank you for your continued custom.
Jan Richardson-Wilde
Chief Executive Officer