October Newsletter

Hello and Welcome, 

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

  • General Update
  • UCAS Points
  • Qualification of the Month
  • Standard Adaptations
  • Chancellor Extends Kickstart
  • Resits
  • Support Materials on the OAL Online Library
  • Uploading Evidence for Gateway Approval
  • Our Brochure Sponsorship at The Apprenticeship Conference
  • Face to Face EPA Amendments
  • Our Christmas Shutdown

General Update

Congratulations for making it through September unscathed! October is here and the Christmas holidays already feel like they are fast approaching!

This month’s newsletter will focus on a range of essential industry updates, take a short look at UCAS points for apprenticeships, provide a brief update on Covid-19 EPA Adaptations as well as our regular feature of Qualification of the Month, and cover the extension to the kickstart scheme made by Chancellor of the Exchequer Rishi Sunak. As well as some information on essential support materials you can find in the Creatio Library, information regarding resits, gateway approval and amendments to face to face EPA.
UCAS Points
Having seen a lot of social media posts recently of students heading off to university, we thought it may be a good time to talk about UCAS points.
We do get regular enquiries about what UCAS points various apprenticeships attract, as it is extremely difficult to find this information, even our trusted advisor Google struggles on this one and for a good reason.

Unfortunately, there is still no formal process for apprenticeships to be allocated UCAS points at this time. So we have put some information together we think could help. Simply put, each apprentice needs to apply to UCAS or speak directly with the universities of their choice, through the application process, to find out whether they accept their apprenticeship, or if they need to complete anything extra.
Advanced Apprenticeships do not currently carry an official UCAS tariff, although they are seen as a route to HE, particularly on to Foundation Degrees, flexible work-based HE or Higher Apprenticeships. If the University or UCAS accept that a particular standard attracts UCAS tariff points, then the maximum points that can be gained are 490. Equivalent to 3 A Levels.

Advanced (Level 3) Apprenticeships are generally considered to be equivalent to two A level passes.

Each individual apprentice needs to apply to UCAS or discuss their apprenticeship directly with the university as they should have a process for enabling the application to be processed depending on the apprenticeship.

A Level 2 apprenticeship would not usually count towards UCAS points. However, depending upon the course they are applying for, the university they are applying to, and the apprenticeship they were on, a level 3 might.
Qualification of the Month
Last month we focussed on the OAL Level 1 Diploma in Furniture Occupations. This month we will be looking at the OAL Level 3 Diploma in Food Technology.

This qualification is designed to provide the necessary skills, knowledge and understanding to work effectively in technical functions in food and drink processing or manufacturing operations. Learners will develop the ability to perform consistently and productively in their work role, and make a positive contribution to their employer. OAL has a fantastic reputation for the Food and Drink qualifications that we offer.

For more information on our Food and Drink qualifications click on the links above or apply for qualification approval through OAL Online.

Standard Adaptations
Following on from the Covid-19 Adaptations we covered in our August Newsletter, and our communication with all OAL customers around retaining some adaptations beyond the end of the year. We would like to confirm that we have submitted several requests to Ofqual and People1st in time for the 1st of October deadline, to permanently or temporarily extend the adaptations for: Fitted Furniture Design Technician, Food & Drink Advanced Process Operator (L3), Food & Drink Maintenance Engineer, Food & Drink Process Operator (L2), Retailer and Trade Supplier.
This has now been shared with other EPAOs to see if they also support our request. We will keep you informed of any progress that we make, as we understand it has a massive impact on your apprentice’s ability to complete EPA.

Chancellor Extends Kickstart

The Kickstart scheme, which subsidises job placements for 16-24 year olds on universal credit, has been extended by three months to March 2022. Only 76,900 Kickstart roles have been created so far out of 196,300 roles made available for young people to apply for. The government has set a target of creating 250,000 Kickstart jobs by the end of 2021.
The chancellor has committed £500m to renewing job support programmes including Kickstart and the Job Entry Targeted Support (Jets) scheme. Apprentice incentives will run until the end of January, while Kickstart will go until the end of March.
Support and Guides – Available on the OAL Online Library
OAL now has video clips to assist you with all aspects of EPA and using the system via specific section areas. There is also an Apprentice welcome Video which you can download and send to Apprentices that will support them through their EPA journey.
The Face to Face and Remote Assessment process guides are now available which contain Pre- Assessment support areas to assist your Apprentices with preparation for the day of the Assessment.
In line with Standard Assessment plans – Resits must be completed in the set EPA period. Please book any resits within the allocated period and clearly title the resit on the session. We now have an automated email that is sent on failed components that advises how to book in a resit and other information to guide you through this process.
Uploading Evidence for Gateway Approval
For Gateway Approval file names cannot have any symbols, dashes or ampersands within it for it to be successfully accepted/upload to OAL Online.
The text you enter into the NOTE section where the contents of the file are named, must clearly identify the contents of the file you are uploading.
E.g.   Apprentice name Project Report – Standard name – enter into Note section
                Upload from your PC file : Apprentice name Project Report Sept2021
The file size must also be under 60mb and media files must be under 1GB! If you have more than one document please add a zip file.  
All Portfolios of evidence should also be accompanied by a Matrix Index for our assessors to clearly identify the contents within this. 
Our Brochure Sponsorship
Last month we proudly announced that we will be hosting a stand, and are the Brochure Sponsor for the Apprenticeships 4 England 2021 Apprenticeships Conference at Millennium Point in Birmingham on the 19th October. If you are attending please take time to visit our stand and have a chat with Lee, Phil & Zach. The boys are excited to actually see real people in real life and if you are lucky you might get a pen or even a notepad! (made of paper, not a laptop!!!).

We hope to see you there!
Face to Face EPA Amendments
Due to the higher volume of Face to Face EPA requests, we are implementing a slight change to the process for requesting the date. At present we ask you to request the date through the customerservice@oawards.co.uk email and wait for confirmation before submitting the Gateway evidence. We now request that you submit the Gateway evidence at the same time sending the email to customerservice@oawards.co.uk requesting the dates. We will then confirm the dates and Gateway at the same time, so that you can immediately go ahead and book the agreed date on the system.

Please note a risk assessment must be completed and attached to the Gateway declaration section for Face to Face Assessments. It is your responsibility to notify OAL Customer Services of any special request for the site visit such as completing Visitor Information or Covid requirements.
Christmas Shutdown.
We will be closing for Christmas on the 23rd of December. We will return from our Christmas and New Year holiday on Tuesday 4th January 2022.
We will be processing apprenticeship EPA Gateways and taking bookings for End Point Assessment until 4.30pm on Tuesday 21st December 2021. We will be available to answer customer queries until Christmas Eve by emailing us at customerservice@oawards.co.uk or calling our landline.  Any Gateways or booking allocations received after this date will not be processed until the 4th January 2022.
Can we ask all our customers to ensure any apprentices they want booking in for End Point Assessment before Christmas are processed before these cut off dates.