We’ve Hit the Big 4-0 for Approved Standards

new epa standards

We already have one of the biggest and best offers for end-point assessment (EPA) in the apprenticeship sector.

But we’re not ones to sit on our laurels and think the job’s done.

So we’re delighted to have been approved to deliver EPA for TWO new apprenticeship standards, the Associate Project Manager standard and the Express Delivery Operative standard.

That brings our grand total of standards we’re approved to deliver EPA for to 40. And we’ve no doubt we’ll be hitting the big 50 in the near future!

How do these roles fit within my business?

An effective associate project manager will each project receives the needed attention and forethought to ensure its success. Working with the project team, they need to know:

  • what needs to be achieved 
  • how the project will be achieved
  • how long the project will take 
  • how much the project will cost

As such, an associate project manager will need good planning, organisation, leadership, management and communication skills. They will utilise resources with suitable skills, qualifications, experience and knowledge to work in a motivated and integrated team, with clearly defined reporting lines, roles, responsibilities and authorities.

Express delivery operatives are an ambassador for the industry, their brand, and the goods they carry. They need to provide a high level of customer service, which may include real-time tracking of deliveries or the installation of electrical and other goods. In addition to maintaining excellent communication throughout the delivery chain from collection to delivery point and dealing correctly with failed deliveries and returns. Ensure your express delivery operatives have the knowledge they need to reach the level you require for your business. 

You can find the full range of standards we cover here: https://www.highfieldassessment.com/apprenticeship-standards

Why choose Highfield for your EPA?
We’ve done the hard work, so you don’t have to.

We can offer your business a full range of assessment services, support and advice to help you and your apprentices achieve your goals.

In fact, we’re one of the leading authorities on EPA in the country and have already worked with some of the biggest and best-known organisations in the UK, delivering thousands of successful assessments across over 30 different apprenticeship standards.

This all stems from our unbeatable offer and complete assessment service, which includes:

  • assessment resources and guidance
  • engagement with external quality assurance organisations
  • training and standardisation for assessors to ensure fair, consistent and reliable assessments
  • our own dedicated employer engagement team
  • a simple scheduling process, with a scheduling team on hand to support you
  • a digital dashboard that tracks every point of a learner’s journey, allowing you to gather data, generate reports and action tasks
  • and most importantly, our understanding of both apprentice and employer requirements

All of which adds up to thousands of happy apprentices, providers and employers!

So, whether you’re considering taking on apprentices for the first time, wanting to have your existing in-house training recognised, or you’re searching for services to ensure you claim your full share of levy funding, you can trust us to deliver.

Find out more by dropping us a line at info@highfieldassessment.com or by calling www.highfieldassessment.com

Highfield Qualifications is recognised as an end-point assessment organisation (EPAO) by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) and sits on the Register of End Point Assessment Organisations. Our EPA services are delivered through our Highfield Assessment brand.

Events and webinars for EPA

Don’t forget to regularly check our events page for more information on upcoming events and webinars: https://centres.highfieldqualifications.com/Events/Default.aspx

And if you have missed one of our webinars, you can always find them on our YouTube channels, along with other useful videos:

EPA: Process and Practice: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BiuQ0YNt-nw

Using the Highfield EPA Dashboard: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=fCXM9SMtUac

SCPLH review now live

The Scottish Personal Licence Holder qualifications (SCPLH), required by anyone holding a personal licence in Scotland to authorise the sale of alcohol, or manage or supervise in premises where alcohol is sold, are currently undergoing an independent review to ensure the qualifications are fit for purpose and add value to businesses.

Scottish Government has contracted skills and quality assurance expert, People 1st International, to undertake the review, which is currently underway.

Operators, training providers, awarding organisations and other stakeholders right the way across the licensed retail industry are being engaged to ensure the views of the industry are heard and incorporated into the revised standards. Ultimately, the aim is to transform them into simple, fit for purpose qualifications that provide individuals with a professional development standard – as well as meeting licensing legislation. 

Having already conducted the first phase of the review process working with an industry steering group and gaining initial views via an online consultation, People 1st International then conducted a series of focus groups to discuss the detail of the qualification content with experienced operators.  People 1st International will continue to work with trade bodies to gather the views of their members over the next few weeks.

The final stage of the review is now underway to gather views on the revised qualification content from the wider industry. Your views are critical. Please get involved and have your say on the proposed content of the revised standard by accessing the survey here:


People 1st International will be submitting the revised standard to the regulator, SQA Accreditation for approval in October 2019 and the new qualifications are planned to be available in May 2020. 

Customer service survey – thank you!

We’d like to say a massive thank-you to everyone who took part in our customer service survey earlier this year, and that we appreciate the feedback from everyone.

But most of all, we’re delighted to report that the vast majority of our customers are happy with our level of service and would recommend Highfield to others.

So we’ll keep on doing what we’re doing, and we’ll keep on listening and responding to our customers.

Of course, there was constructive feedback from some our customers, and we have already begun to address those issues. For instance, we have already reduced the amount of paper we send out, reducing waste and helping the environment.

And we’ve already held a couple of focus groups with customers to follow up on some of the points made in the feedback, with a number of really good recommendations to be implemented over the coming months.

But after all that, it’s fantastic that over 95 percent of you rate our customer service as excellent or very good. Although that still means we have some work to do on that final 4 percent or so!

Finally, if there’s something you think we can do better, you don’t need to wait for the customer service survey. We’re always happy to hear from our loyal customers and appreciate any feedback on how we’re doing. Likewise, we are open to suggestions on how we can improve our offer to you.

As we say, we’ll never stop listening and responding, so please do contact your account manager if there’s anything you want to share with us.

And to find out how we train our own staff in customer service, go to https://www.highfieldqualifications.com/qualifications/customer-service

Bacon butties and boats for VICTA

Last Friday we held a sponsored breakfast butty day (not that we need much encouragement!) to raise money for our team who will be taking to the high seas this June with VICTA.

Thank you to all our staff who put their hands in their pockets to raise over £180 to help visually impaired children!

We’d also like to give a shout out to everyone who made the day happen, so thank you to (*deep breath*)….

Carolyn at ASDA and Jane at Morrisons for contributing food for the day and raffle prizes,

Rachael and Ellie for making 90 sandwiches,

Mike for letting Rachael and Ellie take over his beloved kitchen,

Barbara for taking over delivery duties for the day,

And the directors for supporting our ideas!

Five intrepid Highfield team members will be taking to the high seas this summer in support of our chosen charity VICTA.

VICTA are sending five registered blind/visually impaired (VI) young adults to crew a tall ship for a week. As each crew member will require a volunteer to work with them on the voyage, we are sending five hardy Highfield sailors to join them.

The team will be departing from Oban in Scotland on 17 June 2019, and the ship will spend a week at sea before returning on 23 June 2019.

The voyage will be run and managed by the Jubilee Sailing Trust (JST), who are the operators of the only two fully accessible tall ships in the world – the STS Lord Nelson and the SV Tenacious.

The team will fully contribute to the running of the ship under the watchful eye of the experienced crew. They will be helming, going aloft, setting sails, cooking, cleaning and even climbing the 30-metre mast!

We really appreciate all your support and thank you for any donations.

If you’d like to make a donation yourself or support our team, please go to https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/fundraiser-display/showROFundraiserPage?userUrl=HighfieldSailingExpedition&isTeam=true 

How to…with Highfield: Professional discussions

What should you expect from a professional discussion? A guide for employer representatives
Professional discussions are two-way, structured conversations between an assessor (or a panel of assessors) and an apprentice. They are designed to test an apprentice’s in-depth understanding of their work, and forms a key part of the end-point assessment of many apprenticeship standards.

Employer representatives are allowed to attend the professional discussion, dependent on the apprenticeship standard.  

What can you do as an employer representative?
As an employer representative attending a professional discussion, there are a few things you are allowed to do. These include:

Supporting and backing up what the apprentice is saying, and confirming if the required examples provided are a true reflection of the apprentice’s performance in their job role

Providing guidance to the assessor in terms of policy and practice when requested by the assessor, or assisting in contextualising the discussion if required. For example, if the assessor asks about ‘individual action plans’ but your organisation calls them ‘personal development plans’.

Giving information or clarification as requested by the assessor, or prompting the apprentice in relation to remembering particular events or occurrences that are relevant to the discussion. For instance, you can say, ‘Can you remember what happened last Tuesday when you were at XXXXXXX?’

Providing any other input as requested by the assessor.

What you can’t do
There are a few things you can’t do however. These include:

  • taking on the role of the assessor by leading the discussion
  • answering a question on behalf of the apprentice
  • directly leading the apprentice by relating a prompt to a particular area of the standard that is being assessed.

Employers are advised only to provide input when required by the assessor – most professional discussions are time restricted, so the assessment will focus solely on the apprentice and not on the employer’s input.

For more information and guidance on end-point assessment, and the support Highfield can offer, go to www.highfieldassessment.com

World Environmental Health Day

World Environmental Health DayToday is World Environmental Health Day, an annual event launched by the International Federation of Environmental Health (IFEH) to share knowledge and promote cooperation between countries where environmental health is a known issue.

The IFEH has announced the theme for this year’s World Environmental Health Day is ‘Global Food Safety and Sustainability’ and has pledged to support the provision of more safe food globally as well as supporting communities to value sustainable food production, precious water and nutrient resources.

According to an article published by the World Health Organization on 31 October 2017, an estimated 600 million people, that’s almost 1 in 10 people worldwide, fall ill after eating contaminated food and approximately 420,000 people die every year.

Major outbreaks of foodborne disease have occurred on every continent in the past decade, often amplified by globalized trade. Consumer demand for a wider variety of food has resulted in an increasingly complex global food chain, and as the world’s population continues to grow so too do the challenges for food safety. These challenges put greater responsibility on food producers and handlers to ensure food safety.

In the spirit of spreading awareness and knowledge this World Environmental Health Day, here’s our top ten tips for ensuring safe food preparation:

1. Buy your food and ingredients from a reputable business, check that it’s in date, in good condition and that the packaging is undamaged.

2. Always follow the manufacturer’s storage and cooking instructions on the label. Use a clean, digital, tip-sensitive thermometer to check food is cooked to 75°C in the coldest part and cool food quickly after cooking if it is not for immediate consumption.

3. The temperature ‘risk zone’ where food poisoning bacteria can multiply quickly is between 20°C and 50°C so always keep perishable, ready-to-eat food, raw meat, fish, shellfish, cut fruits and salads out of this zone. Keep refrigerator temperatures at or below 5°C and freezer temperatures at around -18°C.

4. Always keep ready-to-eat food separate from raw food, especially raw meat, fish, shellfish and unwashed vegetables.

5. Thaw raw poultry in a cool place in accordance with the label’s instructions and never wash raw poultry. It may be better to leave it covered overnight in the kitchen rather than thawing it in the refrigerator to avoid contamination and ensure it is completely thawed.

6. Wash your hands before handling food, after handling raw food and then before handling ready-to-eat food. Keep a clean towel or role of disposable paper towels to wipe your hands. Do not use tea towels used for drying clean pots and utensils.

7. Always keep pets and other animals out of the kitchen and especially off preparation surfaces.

8. After you’ve cleaned food-contact and hand-contact surfaces with hot water and a detergent use a food grade disinfectant to kill bacteria.

9. Ensure your dishwasher is well maintained so that pots and utensils are cleaned thoroughly. If you don’t have the luxury of a dishwasher, fill a sink with water that is too hot for your hands unless washing up gloves are worn. Be sure to change the water before it becomes cold or dirty and replace cloths or sponges frequently. Tea towels used for drying up should be laundered on a hot wash and changed frequently, or alternatively, why not use disposable paper towels?

10. Finally, never prepare food for anyone else if you are ill, especially if you have diarrhoea, vomiting or are continually sneezing due to a cold.

If everyone followed these ten simple steps we could dramatically decrease the number of foodborne disease outbreaks worldwide, allowing global efforts to focus on establishing much needed clean water resources and sustainable food production.

It is also vitally important that people working in the food or hospitality industries report any instances of poor practice relating to safe food to a manager or person in charge so that appropriate action can be taken to prevent the spread of foodborne diseases. Food and hospitality employers have a responsibility to make their staff aware of these dangers and highlight the importance of communication.

For more information on our full range of food safety training products, go to www.highfieldproducts.com/products/sector/food-safety/

To find out more about the IFEH and what others are doing around the globe this World Environmental Health Day, go to www.ifeh.org/wehd

New Qualification for Commissioners of Care Services

Marjorie Shucksmith is Highfield’s qualification development manager for the health and social care sector, in this article she discusses the role and important of social care commissioners, and the positive impact new standards will have on the sector.

While there had been gradual changes in the focus of social care commissioners towards promoting citizenship, health and wellbeing, the Care Act 2014 put into legislation the duty to promote the wellbeing of individuals. This means ensuring that services maximise the potential for self-care and build on the skills and assets of each individual.

To help address the new challenges this presents, new standards (Commissioning for Better Outcomes) were developed by a team from the Health Services Management Centre at Birmingham University, commissioned by the Local Government Association (LGA) and the Association of Directors of Adult Social Services (ADASS), and funded by the Department of Health. It was launched to assist with the implementation of the changes brought about by the Care Act to achieve high-quality commissioning activities and to drive improvement by encouraging local authorities to follow a self-assessment process. For many, this will result in changes to current practice:

‘…to focus on promoting wellbeing and on outcomes, to be more responsive to community needs, to enable individuals as commissioners of their own care, and to actively promote collaboration across the whole system.’

Commissioning for Better Outcomes, 2015

A commissioner for wellbeing is responsible for ensuring that there is a supply of sufficient provision to meet demand for social care in their local area. This covers both the service type and the capacity of that service. The social care commissioning workforce is responsible, in most local authorities, for the largest element of local authority expenditure and as such have a significant impact on local economies. This is in part through the number of care jobs created as a result of commissioning a service, but also when considering any other local supporting services, such as catering and building services. The role is constantly evolving in response to the needs of their local area, and commissioners must have the knowledge and skills to review local demands to meet them appropriately. Managing supply and demand in a person-centred and outcomes-focused way is key to the role of a commissioner for wellbeing, and partnership arrangements, coproduction and consultation have increased importance in this role.


‘Effective commissioning can only be achieved by empowering people who need care and support, their carers and families to play a leading role in shaping and driving the changes they want to see Local authorities are responsible for a responsive, diverse and sustainable market of service providers that can provide high quality, personalised care and support that best meets the needs of people.’

Skills for Care, http://www.skillsforcare.org.uk/Topics/Commissioners/Commissioners.aspx

As well as those that work in commissioning roles in local authorities, there are similar changes in focus for those who provide adult social care services, in terms of how they commission (subcontract) parts of their own service.

These changes mean there is a potential skills gap in the current workforce and therefore a need for a new qualification to be developed for both existing care commissioners and also with the purpose of providing a clear career path to those aspiring to become care commissioners. HABC is working closely with Skills for Care and a number of local authorities to develop the new Level 5 Certificate in Commissioning for Wellbeing, which will cover key areas such as:

1)      The role of a commissioner for wellbeing

2)      Commissioning together for outcomes

3)      The commissioning cycle

4)      Professional development for effective commissioning

The qualification will be assessed by internally set and assessed pieces of work such as assignments, reports, presentations and research projects. The content of the qualification will be knowledge-based and allow learners the flexibility to apply the knowledge to scenarios and situations to demonstrate their understanding and ability in commissioning for wellbeing.

The qualification will be ready to deliver in October 2016. If you are interested in finding out more, please register your interest at info@highfieldabc.com

Rockin’ the boat for VICTA

Save the date for this year’s annual Dragon Boat Race, which will be returning to Doncaster for a seventh consecutive year on Saturday 9 July 2016.

Highfield team members will be picking up their oars and taking to the water in traditional and beautifully decorated 30-foot Chinese dragon boats all in the name of a good cause. They will be battling against local businesses to see who will be crowned this year’s ‘dragon boat champions’.

Each team will comprise 10 paddlers of all ages and abilities and will complete a 250 metre course, and for what all members of the Highfield team may lack in experience they certainly make up for in enthusiasm and determination!

Dragon Boat Poster Graphic (1200x600pixels) (1)

Highfield will be raising money for our nominated charity VICTA, a not-for-profit organisation that provides support for families with children and young people who have visual needs. Last year’s event saw teams help raise over £12,000 for the Rotary Club of Doncaster St George’s charity, alongside other charities and good causes, and we hope that with your support we can raise lots of money for a truly deserving charity .

Taking place at Lakeside, Doncaster from 11am – 5pm, the event is free to attend and promises to be a fun day out for all the family. In addition to the on-water action, spectators can expect a range of attractions and entertainment including fun fair rides, craft and charity stalls as well as food and drink aplenty!