May 2014


New Qualifications for Business Administration, Customer Service, and Management and Leadership

Skills CFA have been developing new qualifications for Business Administration, Customer Service, and Management and Leadership. These qualifications will sit within the respective apprenticeship frameworks in England, Wales and Northern Ireland, as well as acting as standalone qualifications. The project has been conducted in partnership with the following Awarding Organisations:

  • Active IQ
  • IQ
  • City & Guilds
  • ITEC
  • CMI
  • Kaplan
  • Cskills Awards
  • LAO
  • CYQ
  • NCFE
  • OCN London
  • Pearson Edexcel
  • OCR
  • FAQ
  • Skillsfirst
  • iCQ
  • SQA
  • ILM
  • VTCT
  • IMI Awards


The qualification development project is now entering its final stages. Over the early part of this year credit and levelling sessions to took place and now all units and structures have been finalised.
As a part of this project the following qualifications have been developed:

Business Administration

  • Level 1 Certificate in Business Administration
  • Level 2 Diploma in Business  Administration
  • Level 3 Diploma in Business Administration
  • Level 4 NVQ Diploma in Business  Administration

Management and Leadership

  • Level 2 Diploma in Team Leading
  • Level 3 Diploma in Management
  • Level 4 NVQ Diploma in Management
  • Level 5 NVQ Diploma in Management and Leadership
  • Level 7 NVQ Diploma in Strategic Management and Leadership

Customer Service

  • Level 1 Certificate in Customer Service
  • Level 2 Diploma in Customer Service
  • Level 3 Diploma in Customer Service
  • Level 4 NVQ Diploma in Customer Service

At levels 1, 2 and 3 all of the new qualifications are combined qualifications. This means that they incorporate both knowledge and the competence within the same qualification. The combined qualifications will replace the current NVQs and Technical Certificates within the associated apprenticeship frameworks at Levels 2 and 3. At Level 4 and above, NVQ qualifications have been developed. This means that for the Level 4 Business and Professional Administration Higher Apprenticeship, and the Level 4 and Level 5 Management Higher Apprenticeships, the new NVQs will sit alongside the current knowledge qualifications (with certain stipulations) or new knowledge qualifications that have been created with the new units.

The new qualifications are due to go live on 1 September 2014 and will sit within the apprenticeship frameworks from that date.

We are in the process of making all units and qualification structures available on our website. Keep an eye out for an e-shot coming soon, to inform you that this activity has been completed.


Information about upcoming training events

We are holding a series of national workshop events on the updates of our new qualifications.  Although changes to the landscape are in place as a result of reform, our qualification updates will enable us to be effective and become responsive to the needs of employers as well as putting learners at the heart.

The events are being delivered to provide practitioners with information about the new qualifications for Business Administration, Customer Service, and Management and Leadership. It has been designed for all those involved in the training and delivery of the new vocational qualifications in these areas, including trainers, assessors, teachers, co-ordinators, centre managers, quality assurance managers, as well as those responsible for CPD, staff development and training. The event will provide guidance, support materials and resources so that those attending are better equipped to deliver the new qualifications with rigour and confidence.

The fee is £170 per delegate (no limit per organisation). Places are expected to go fast, so book now to avoid disappointment and take advantage of the special early bird rate of £150 per delegate (bookings before 13th June 2014).

To book your place, please fill out our booking form. For all enquires please contact Rob Williams or David Garrick on 0207 091 9626, or e-mail Rob Williams at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. . Full details will be available on the event page.


Skills CFA events

We recently held an exciting event, led by experienced trainer Hilary Read, which focused directly on preparing training providers for the upcoming changes in the apprenticeship arena. With the Richard Review of Apprenticeships recommending wholesale changes to apprenticeships from 2017, this event looked ahead at how providers can become responsive to their needs by concentrating on what they do best – the training and assessment of learners. The event covered a variety of topics, including: rigour in assessment, work-based teaching and coaching, QA of teaching, learning and the assessment process, and identifying alternative revenue streams.

On the back of this successful event we have arranged a further event to be held in Manchester on Wednesday 11 June 2014. The event will take place at the Edexcel offices in Salford between 10am and 3.30pm.

For further information and to book your spot please visit our event page, or alternatively call us on 020 7091 9620.


2014/15 projects

We are working on many UKCES funded development projects this year, including the development of National Occupational Standards (NOS), qualifications, and apprenticeship frameworks in Scotland and Wales. A full list of Skills CFA projects for the 2014/15 can be seen below:

NOS project:

  • Procurement and Contract Management (and SCQF credit rating)

Qualification development projects:

  • SCQF Qualification in Communication Support Working (Scotland)
  • SCQF Qualification in Translating (Scotland)
  • SCQF Qualification in Sign Language Interpreting (Scotland)
  • SCQF Qualification in Interpreting (Scotland)
  • SCQF Qualification in Project Management (Scotland)


  • Level 3 Apprenticeship in Communication Support Working (Wales)
  • SCQF Level 6 Modern Apprenticeship in Communication Support Working (Scotland)
  • Interpreting (including Sign Language Interpreting) and Translating Apprenticeship (Wales)
  • Interpreting (including Sign Language Interpreting) and Technical Apprenticeship (Scotland)
  • Level 3 Apprenticeship in Social Enterprise (Wales)
  • Business and Administration Level 2, 3, 4 review (Wales)
  • Customer Service Level 2 and 3 review (Wales)
  • Level 5 Sales higher Apprenticeship (Wales)
  • SCQF Technical Apprenticeship in Project Management (Scotland)

If you would like further information regarding our projects, or would like to be involved in the development of NOS, qualifications and apprenticeships then please contact us at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. .


NOS now available

Having successfully completed various National Occupational Standards (NOS) projects we have now made the following updated and newly developed NOS available on our website:

We would like to take this opportunity to thank all of those who participated in these NOS development projects – your assistance and guidance is greatly appreciated.


Higher Apprenticeship in Recruitment engagement events

We are managing a project to bring together key professional bodies and stakeholders to form a task and finish group to engage and build provider capacity in London to deliver the Recruitment Level 4 Higher Apprenticeship framework. This project has been funded by the National Apprenticeship Service.

Recruitment Apprenticeships at advanced and higher level were first launched in England in 2013. Skills CFA developed the first Recruitment Apprenticeships on behalf of the industry in partnership with the Institute of Recruiters and the Recruitment and Employment Confederation.

Recruitment apprenticeships provide employers of all sizes across the public, private and not-for-profit sectors in England with a high quality, nationally recognised programme which will attract new talent into the recruitment industry and support the up-skilling of the existing workforce to meet employer skills priorities and to further professionalise the industry.

The main objectives of the Recruitment Apprenticeships are to:

  • build a competent recruitment workforce, providing organisations of all sizes across all sectors with the staff needed to increase productivity and efficiency
  • tap into the skills and talents of a diverse population by providing flexible entry routes into a career in recruitment
  • equip individuals with the skills, knowledge and experience needed to undertake recruitment roles in a range of business settings
  • provide apprentices with an opportunity to develop the skills, knowledge and experience they will need to progress to higher level roles with additional responsibilities and onto further and higher education, if they wish to do so.

For further information regarding this exciting project or to get involved and make a difference please contact project lead Anthea Hollist (email: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. , tel: 020 7091 9620).




The first leg of the EU KOREA SMILES programme kicked off in London in April 2014 and Skills CFA were delighted to be involved. The 3-year, joint mobility project, focuses on the Engineering and business studies sector and provides 36 full time EU students from Finland, Slovakia and UK, with a 8 week study and work placement mobility in South Korea and 36 Korean students with similar motilities in the EU.

In April, twelve students made the trip from South Korea to London, where they were looked after by selected hosts, who welcomed the students into their homes. The project is being led by Westminster Kingsway College in partnership with Skills CFA, Yeungjin College and Keimyung College University from South Korea, Vantaa Vocational College (Finland), and the University of Zilina (Slovakia).

Over a four week period the students attended English language sessions at Westminster Kingsway College and came over to the Skills CFA offices for four sessions, led by experienced trainer Helen Astley, which focused on the importance of intercultural awareness and skills. The students enthusiastically took part in a variety of activities aiming to improve their understanding of other cultures and the vast cultural differences, and giving them the chance to enhance their language and communication skills through engaging with Skills CFA staff.

This stage of the project was a huge success, and the students learnt a great deal, whilst also having a lot of fun. During their free time the students took to exploring the streets of London and further afield, with the view over Seven Sisters suggested as a real highlight for many! We really enjoyed working with the Korean students, who were extremely polite, hardworking, and very cheerful. The students were all awarded certificates for successful participation in the course, and then went onto Slovakia and Finland, where they are now taking part in work placements in mechanical engineering organisations. We really hope that their time at Westminster Kingsway College and Skills CFA prepared them well for working and communicating in other cultures. We wish all students the best of luck for the future!


Higher Apprenticeship in Project Management

The Higher Apprenticeship in Project Management, which was developed in partnership by Skills CFA and the Association for Project Management, provides progression routes for those wishing to enter the project management profession or further their career in other disciplines using project management skills. In order to celebrate the success of this higher apprenticeship programme the National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) have launched a Sector in the Spotlight film in which project management higher apprentices discuss their experiences and highlight the vast benefits of apprenticeship programmes. You can view the inspiring video on the NAS apprenticetv website, or alternatively on youtube.


Higher Apprenticeship in Human Resource Management

The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) and Skills CFA worked in partnership to develop the Higher Apprenticeship in Human Resource Management, which was launched in 2012. The programme offers an attractive alternative entry route into the HR profession, by providing opportunities for the development of specific work based skills whilst supporting qualification achievement and also paying a wage. The National Apprenticeship Service (NAS) Sector in the Spotlight campaign presents a series of films that highlight the success of apprenticeships. Visit the apprenticetv website or youtube to view a video that explores the benefits an HR apprentice can bring.


Updated Employee Rights and Responsibilities Workbook

The Employee Rights and Responsibilities (ERR) workbook has been refreshed and is now available on our website. We hope this will improve the learner experience when undertaking the ERR component of their apprenticeship.

Download the new workbook.


Version 3: Apprentice Declaration & Authorisation Form

A new universal Apprentice Declaration & Authorisation Form (version 3) has been designed by the Federation for Industry Sector Skills & Standards (FISSS) for use by all providers when requesting apprenticeship certificates on Apprenticeship Certificates England (ACE).

All providers should now be using the form, as it was made mandatory from 1 March 2014. Please note that the date of signing must be on or after the date of satisfactory completion of all components of the apprenticeship framework for which the apprenticeship completion certificate is being claimed.

Earlier versions of the Declaration Form will be accepted for claims submitted post 1 March 2014, where the date of signing the form is prior to 1 March 2014.

If a learner is signing a Declaration & Authorisation form on or after 1 March 2014, a version 3 form must be completed. If a different form has been signed, the certification claim will be rejected.

Please click here for the Declaration & Authorisation form and here for the guidance notes.


Changes to ERR, PLTS, RPL evidence requirements on ACE

Due to recent changes to the Apprenticeship Certificates England (ACE) system, it is no longer necessary to upload evidence of Employee Rights and Responsibilities (ERR) and Personal Learning and Thinking Skills (PLTS) achievement to the evidence tab on ACE. Instead, users are now required to tick an ERR and PLTS (where required) declaration on the framework tab to confirm that the requirements have been achieved by the apprentice and that robust evidence of this has been retained in the learner’s records.

This new requirement applies irrespective of which Apprentice Declaration Form is being used. The ERR and PLTS declarations are mandatory and need to be completed before a claim can be submitted on ACE.

 Where Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is used as part of an apprenticeship claim, there is a new RPL declaration on ACE that needs to be read and confirmed by the person submitting the claim. All evidence of RPL (and confirmation of its approval/appropriateness for use) needs to be retained by the provider.


Changes to completion date field on ACE

The completion date field on Apprenticeship Certificates England (ACE) has been replaced by a tab called submission date. This is a non-editable field and is auto-populated by ACE when an apprentice’s status is changed from entered to pending certification. This field records the date when an ACE claim is first submitted for each apprentice.


Dates in the framework titles on ACE and ACW

All the frameworks available on the ACE and ACW system are housed in the Frameworks Library on the Apprenticeship Frameworks Online (AFO) website. (http://www.afo.sscalliance.org). This framework information is transferred to ACE and ACW by the FISSS Support Team, who also add the important framework dates.  These dates indicate when this specific list of qualifications and requirements became valid, and to which date they remain the same.

When making a framework selection, you should consult these dates and ensure that your apprentice’s start date falls within these parameters.

You have a candidate that started their apprenticeship on 25/10/12 and you have the following options for frameworks on ACE or ACW as follows:

‘Framework Title (05/04/11 – 05/06/13)’ or ‘Framework Title (06/06/13 – Present)’

In this situation you would choose the option ‘Framework Title (05/04/11 – 05/06/13)’.


Provider Finder reminder

Finding a local training provider is easier than you think.

The Provider Finder is a new searchable provider directory, helping you locate an apprenticeship training provider in your area.

This easy-to-use tool enables simple filtering by area, subject and level of study, meaning you can spend your time focussing on what’s important: your staff.

To find out more please visit the Provider Finder.

You can sign-up to the Provider Finder here.


Programme Endorsement

We understand the importance of quality learning. Through our work developing UK National Occupational Standards and qualifications undertaken by over 150,000 learners each year, we know what quality looks like.

Our programme endorsement for business-related training and qualifications provides independent recognition for training providers, academic institutions, and their programmes. We endorse programmes covering disciplines such as management, customer service, sales, and marketing.

So what are the benefits of programme endorsement?

  • For in-house training, our endorsement provides learners assurance that your course meets nationally recognised standards of competence and is directly related to functions that will improve workplace performance.
  • Private training providers, colleges, and universities will receive a competitive advantage by strengthening the credibility of their training programmes and qualifications with a link to UK National Occupational Standards.
  • Learners will have piece-of-mind in knowing that their training is up-to-date, relevant to employers, and reflective of UK National Occupational Standards.
  • Endorsed programmes can also use our Skills CFA logo within programme marketing materials and branding to visually distinguish endorsement.

If you are interested in our programme endorsement scheme please visit our website for further information on endorsement requirements, fees, and details of the application process.


Translation of NOS into Welsh

We are currently considering whether National Occupational Standards (NOS) should be translated into the Welsh language. Pan-sector NOS are developed in English, but may be translated into Welsh should there be sufficient demand.

To provide your views and opinions on this proposition, please complete our consultation.



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