Support & guidance

Support & guidance2020-04-02T16:54:28+01:00

As part of our support services we provide:

  • Face to face and remote workshops and webinars
  • Individual support sessions for you deliver teams
  • Bespoke training sessions to meet your delivery needs
  • Detailed apprentice and trainer handbooks for each of our standards
  • Supportive guidance on all aspects of end point assessment operations
  • Detailed guidance on using our on-line portal, EPA Live, with training and support videos and on-line guides
  • Comprehensive customer service support tailored to your needs
  • Sample assessments for our qualifications and each aspect of EPA
  • Sample exam papers for each qualification where they have a test and for EPA standards
question mark man - support and guidance

Qualification guidance

Our team has a wealth of knowledge about the qualifications we offer so if you need any support or have any questions just get in contact. We have provided you with some information about how we have developed our qualifications.

Find out more…

OAL qualifications

Food & drink
Health & safety
Learning & assessment
Cross sector

Guidance for employers 

Top tips for employers about apprenticeships, qualifications and end-point assessment…

Find out more…

Guidance for training providers

Top tips for training provider about apprenticeships, qualifications and end-point assessment…

Find out more…

End-point assessment process

We will guide your through the EPA process here at OAL step-by-step from contracting through to issuing results…

Download the process

Contracting & support

  • Employer formally appoints OAL as EPA organisation
  • Training provider signs OAL terms and conditions
  • Access given to OAL’s online portal and supporting documents
  • Employer selects EPA sites and applies to OAL for site recognition
  • OAL conduct site visit to complete approval process

Accessing the gateway

  • Apprentice must be registered with OAL and an estimated completion date given
  • OAL will provide ongoing support to employers and providers during their apprenticeship delivery
  • Employer/provider must confirm to OAL that the apprentice has met gateway requirements of the standard
  • Gateway evidence must be supplied to OAL for confirmation of completion

Carrying out EPA

  • EPA booked online
  • OAL invoices provider for EPA
  • OAL confirms EPA details with employer, provider and apprentice
  • Employer ensures the following are in place at the allocated date and time: apprentice, facilities and resources
  • OAL independent assessor carries out EPA with the apprentice

Grading & issuing results

  • EPA outcomes moderated by OAL
  • EPA results will issued within 10 working days
  • Certificates confirming results sent to provider and data passed to the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) for final certification
  • If resits are required the apprentice will undertake further learning, until their employer confirms they are ready to retake any part of EPA
  • Once this is confirmed the process will restart from stage 3

Apprenticeship standards

An apprenticeship standard teaches learners the skills, knowledge and behaviours needed to perform their role. They work through a combination of on-the-job training with their employer and part time off-the-job studying with their training provider.

Click here for more information

Frameworks vs standards – key differences

The UK is moving away from Frameworks with the last date for new starts being 31st July 2020. If you were to employ an Apprentice now, you’ll almost certainly be using a Standard rather than a Framework.

The progression and development of Standards is due to Government reforms that aim to increase the quality of Apprenticeship programmes and align them to the needs of industry employers, making them a much more attractive option for talent and careers development.

Find out more

CSCS cards

CSCS cards provide proof that individuals working on construction sites have the required qualifications and training for the job they do on site.


Acronym Buster2019-08-15T17:28:44+01:00

See below for a list of common acronyms used in qualifications and awarding organisations.

AO Awarding Organisation A body issuing qualifications (certificates, diplomas or titles) formally recognises the learning outcomes (knowledge, skills and/or competences) of an individual, following an assessment and validation procedure.
APL Accredited Prior Learning Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL) is the generic term used for the award of credits on the basis of demonstrated learning that has occurred at some time in the past, prior to the current programme of study.
CAD Computer Aided Design CAD/CAM (computer-aided design/computer-aided manufacturing) is software used to design products such as electronic circuit boards in computers and other devices.
CCEA Council for the Curriculum, Examinations & Assessment The Council for the Curriculum, Examinations and Assessment (CCEA) was established on 1 April 1994 and is a non-departmental public body reporting to the Department of Education in Northern Ireland.
CNC Computer Numerically Controlled CNC means Computer Numerical Control. This means a computer converts the design produced by Computer Aided Design software (CAD), into numbers. The numbers can be considered to be the coordinates of a graph and they control the movement of the cutter. In this way the computer controls the cutting and shaping of the material.
EQA External Quality Assurer An EQA is responsible for external quality assurance and qualification approval activities under the conditions, timescales and arrangements set by OAL. The prime role is to participate in quality assurance of qualifications in the subject area(s) concerned to ensure that standards are maintained.
IQA Internal Quality Assurer Ensures that learners and Assessors clearly understand what is required by the relevant standards and that all Assessors’ judgements are fair, reliable, valid and consistent. Must authorise all Certificate requests.
NOS National Occupational Standards National Occupational Standards (NOS) are statements of the standards of performance individuals must achieve when carrying out functions in the workplace, together with specifications of the underpinning knowledge and understanding.
NQF National Qualifications Framework The National Qualifications Framework (NQF) is the system that records levels of learning achievement to ensure that the skills and knowledge that have been learned are recognised throughout the country. There are eight levels on the NQF. These levels are divided into three bands: general education and training.
NSA National Skills Academy The National Skills academies seek to focus and coordinate UK-wide training in their sector by helping others develop standardised training materials which can be flexed to deliver exactly what a single or group of employers want. It also promotes the industry sector, specifically its career choices.
NVQ National Vocational Qualification National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) are work based awards in England, Wales and Northern Ireland that are achieved through assessment and training. In Scotland they are known as Scottish Vocational Qualification (SVQ).
OAL Occupational Awards Limited Your awarding organisation, approved by the regulator to offer qualifications and awards. Occupational Awards provides qualifications throughout the world.
Ofqual Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (Ofqual) regulates qualifications, examinations and assessments in England and vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland. Ofqual is a non-ministerial department.
QCF Qualifications and Credit Framework The Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) is the national credit transfer system for education qualification in England, Northern Ireland and Wales.
RPL Recognition of Prior Learning RPL is one of a number of processes for establishing credit or advanced standing. RPL broadens access into formal learning by enabling credit to be given for student achievement though other formal, non-formal or informal learning.
SSB or SSC Standards Setting Body or Sector Skills Council Sector Skills Councils and Standards Setting Bodies with employers define occupational standards and job competencies. These are used in many different ways by employers.
SVQ Scottish Vocational Qualification A Scottish Vocational Qualification, or SVQ, is a certificate of vocational education in Scotland. SVQs are available to people of all ages. SVQs are developed by Sector Skills Councils, in partnership with industry and awarding bodies.
Can you check my result?2019-08-16T09:46:16+01:00

Occupational Awards will be happy to check a result (by remarking the paper) should the learner feel that it may be incorrect i.e. it does not reflect their perceived ability.

Enquiries of this nature will only be accepted in writing, using the Occupational Awards Appeals and Enquiries about Results Form (CF09).

Can you check the result(s) for a learner/group?2019-08-16T09:44:20+01:00

Occupational Awards will be happy to check the result(s) should the centre feel that it/they may be incorrect i.e. it/they does/do not reflect the perceived ability of the learner(s).

Enquiries of this nature will only be accepted in writing, using the Appeals and Enquiries about Results Form (CF09).

Does Occupational Awards charge for its services?2019-08-16T09:29:48+01:00

Yes. A current price list can be provided on request or can be accessed at Occupational Awards’ web site. An Occupational Awards External Quality Assurer can also forecast estimated costs involved in the delivery of Occupational Awards qualifications and provide tailored estimates as required.

Enquiries about other decisions affecting learners2019-08-16T09:41:09+01:00

Both learners and centres may enquire about Occupational Awards decisions affecting learners e.g. decisions about:

     – accreditation for prior learning/achievement/ reasonable adjustments

     – special consideration

     – certification

Enquiries of this nature will only be accepted in writing, using the Appeals and Enquiries about Results Form (CF09).

How do I become an approved centre?2019-08-15T17:27:00+01:00

The summary steps for centre approval are below.

  1. Centre registers for the OAL Centre Portal
  2. Centre completes the CF02 Centre Approval Form and CF04  Qualifications Approval Form (accessed from the portal)
  3. Centre submits forms and all supporting evidence to the OAL Centre Portal
  4. Desktop or Centre Approval Visit
  5. Once approved, the centre can register learners and deliver our qualifications

Please see our Centre Approval Pack which contains lots of information to help you with this process, particularly AC02 Centre Approval Guide and our Fees List. 

How do I find an approved EPA organisation?2019-08-16T10:01:04+01:00

Approved EPA organisations will appear on the Register of End Point Assessment Organisations, the link to this is below:

How do I get started with EPA?2019-08-16T10:17:23+01:00

Simple. Become an approved centre

In order to access our qualifications and end-point assessment products and services you will first need to become an approved centre. Please complete the centre approval form on our work with us page.

Once you have successfully become a centre with us we will arrange a free advisory visit to support you in the implementation of the new products.

How do I know what end-point assessment is required for my apprentices?2019-08-16T10:02:08+01:00

As a centre, OAL will provide you with guidance around what is required for each end-point assessment. This will be contained within the learner handbook issued at the time of qualification registration. We will also produce end-point assessment guides for each of the standards to ensure that apprentices, providers and employers understand these requirements at the start of their programme. These will be available on our website.

Learners will then receive details of what will happen on the day of the assessment and in-depth assessment specifications once they have been registered onto the end-point assessment. This can’t take place until the apprentice has completed and produced evidence of the required components of the standard.

How long does centre approval last?2019-08-16T09:34:26+01:00

Centre approval is subject to continued satisfactory External Quality Assurer reports.

How long does it take to gain centre approval?2019-08-16T09:39:35+01:00

This depends on how much needs to be done for a potential centre to satisfy the Approved Centre Criteria and how quickly any necessary measures are implemented. An Occupational Awards External Quality Assurer will visit a potential centre to monitor approval criteria and this usually takes one day. The initial visit with an Occupational Awards EQA can be arranged as soon as requested by the potential centre and the relevant documentation has been received at Occupational Awards.

How much does EPA at OAL cost?2019-08-16T10:11:43+01:00

End-point assessment charges will be standard-specific, this is due to the differing nature of end-point assessment requirements within each apprenticeship standard. 

Charges will be for an end-point assessment to achieve the standard, which may include 3 separate assessments i.e. knowledge, skills and behaviours. Charges will be inclusive of the learner registration, assessment and certification. Re-sits will be charged separately.

Please contact us to find out the prices for end-point assessment for the apprenticeship standard you are working with.

Is OAL an approved EPA organisation?2019-08-16T10:04:40+01:00


Over the last year we have been developing our capability to ensure that we are in a position to deliver a robust, quality and expert EPA service.

We are approved to deliver EPA for many standards – particularly those which support the food & drink and furniture manufacture and wood industries.

To find out which standards OAL offers EPA for, please visit

Is Occupational Awards audited by external organisations?2019-08-16T09:31:03+01:00

Yes. The Regulatory Bodies audit Occupational Awards and this can involve visits to a random selection of Occupational Awards approved centres. These visits can occur at short notice – this is to minimise the risk of unsubstantiated claims for Occupational Awards qualification certificates. Centres in receipt of government funding to deliver Occupational Awards qualifications may also be subject to audits by the funding organisations.

Is there any support that we have to offer Occupational Awards?2019-08-15T17:31:39+01:00

Yes. From time to time, as the result of a request from qualifications regulators or a result of monitoring by qualifications regulators.  Occupational Awards centres will be required to provide information about Occupational Awards operations and its centres’ internal procedures as requested. Such requests, whether made by the regulator directly or Occupational Awards on their behalf, (e.g. a request for learner achievement rates)

What are my qualification results?2019-08-16T09:55:57+01:00

A learner making an enquiry to us about their qualification results will be referred back to their centre coordinator where appropriate/beneficial.

Where this would not be appropriate or beneficial, and where the 10-day turn-around for marking has been allowed, Occupational Awards may answer the enquiry directly.

Enquiries of this nature will be accepted over the phone, or via email, subject to the learner being able to provide the following information:

     – their full name

     – their date of birth

     – their learner number

     – their centre name

     – the qualification title or code and the date of the assessment

What documentation is available from Occupational Awards?2019-08-15T17:34:05+01:00

Occupational Awards has a variety of literature available to help centres operate smoothly. As this is regularly updated, Occupational Awards publishes information about its documentation on its web site to ensure that Occupational Awards stakeholders can access current and valid information. Support materials are available for centres, Assessors and Internal Quality Assurers.

What happens if an apprentice fails one or more of their end-point assessments?2019-08-16T10:14:53+01:00

Apprentices get the opportunity to re-sit assessments should they fail. How many times an apprentice can re-sit is defined within the standard assessment plan and can differ. As a general rule apprentices will get at least one opportunity to re-sit an assessment.

All learners have the right to appeal an assessment decision. OAL has a published appeals policy, which is also within the learner handbook.

What happens if we don’t meet all the approval criteria during a centre approval visit?2019-08-16T09:37:41+01:00

Your External Quality Assurer will advise you on future action and will need to visit you again to grant approval. It is not expected that a new centre will fully satisfy all criteria. For example, learner-Assessors may have been identified but not yet trained and qualified. Where a centre does not fully meet requirements, the External Quality Assurer can approve the centre and provide an agreed action plan that will be monitored. An initial visit may be regarded as a support visit for the potential centre to help staff prepare a formal application.

What if a learner disagrees with a decision made by an assessor?2019-08-16T09:33:10+01:00

The centre must implement its appeals procedures. An Occupational Awards External Quality Assurer can advise on this. All approved centres must have formal appeals procedures in place and they must be documented and promoted to learners.

What is EPA?2019-08-15T17:35:02+01:00

End-point assessment (EPA) is an holistic and independent assessment, designed to test whether an apprentice has gained the skills, knowledge and behaviours outlined in the relevant standard, and it grades the apprentice according to their performance. EPA must be carried out by an end-point assessment organisation which is listed on the register of end-point assessment organisations.

An end-point assessment will consist of a number of elements that could include a combination of the following:

  • an observation
  • knowledge tests
  • a project
  • a presentation
  • a professional discussion
  • a portfolio.

The requirements of each end-point assessment will be set out in the assessment plan for the specific standard that the apprentice is undertaking.

It is important to realise that apprentices:

  • are not able to achieve an apprenticeship without satisfying all requirements in the
    assessment plan including EPA;
  • can fail and there is a limit to the number of re-sits

Further details about standards and their accompanying assessment plans can be found here:

Who can deliver EPA services?2019-08-15T17:34:56+01:00

EPA must be delivered by an independent end-point assessment organisation. An endpoint assessment organisation must be officially approved as such by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) on behalf of the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA).

Why should I choose OAL?2019-08-16T10:08:15+01:00

Our service combines the rigor, authority and expertise of an awarding organisation with the flexibility, efficiency and commercial awareness of a private commercial business.

Our EPA service is built around the core principles we use to run out awarding organisation business, meaning it is therefore based upon 5 key principles:

  1. Validity
  2. Robustness
  3. Expertise
  4. Quality
  5. Flexibility

We have therefore crafted an EPA service which will work as seamlessly as possible with your business, whilst also meeting the needs of your apprentice. Having listened to our customers and potential customers we are happy to say that those using our EPA service will be able to take advantage of the following:

  • a robust, effective and efficient end-point assessment service
  • unrivalled support from an expert industry team
  • high quality documentation to support employer, training provider and apprentice at every stage of the apprenticeship journey
  • a smooth transition between qualification achievement and EPA Page 3 of 6
  • independent end-point assessors – qualified, experienced and known within their field of expertise
  • flexible but rigorous assessments which can be tailored to meet the needs of your business
  • a seamless registration and booking service which will allow you to book assessments to fit in with your schedule

You can be assured that we are experts in the development and provision of assessment and that the EPA you access has been written in-house by our team of experts.

Your OAL team has come together to provide you with an expert service in every sense.

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