Monthly Archives: February 2015

Calling all chocoholics… we have an Eggciting Easter competition?

27th February 2015


ACE-IT has been running for 6 months now and to celebrate we are running 4 weeks of weekly competitions in the run up to Easter. We have had a lot of useful feedback from those of you who have used the tool and as we are building the question bank on a continual basis we are keen for it to become a key part of all ACE users work activities.


In just under 4 weeks it is Easter and for those who enjoy free chocolate might like to know that we are offering a prize of a large Hotel Chocolat Easter egg to the first person to score 100% on an ACE-IT exercise and send us a screen shot of their results page. Each competition will also have two runner up prizes of Hotel Chocolat goodies. You will need to send us your results using the new online Help Desk system within ACE.  Entries will NOT be accepted via any other method.


There will be 4 weekly competitions, in the run up to Easter, with a new one starting each week commencing on Monday 2nd 9th 16th 23rd March and running until 5pm on the Friday of each week.


All you need to do is complete an ACE-IT exercise and if you get a score of 100%, take a screen shot of your completion/results screen (see example below) and send this to the Federation, using the new online ACE Helpdesk and add the subject line of ‘Eggciting Easter’.






The first person, each of the 4 weeks, to submit their evidence of an ACE-IT score of 100% will win a large Hotel Chocolat Easter egg!!


If during any of the competition weeks no-one submits evidence of a 100% ACE-IT score then the prize will roll over into the next week – so 2 Easter Eggs up for grabs!


For your chance to win one of these Chocolatey prizes, you can enter each week, and the competition is open to all ACE-IT users whether or not you have used it before. You can enter as many times as you like each week but only one 100% entry per user will be accepted.


If you haven’t yet used the ACE-IT tool then please go to the ACE-IT home page and register for an account and then you will be ready to undertake your first ACE-IT exercise and your chance to win one of the prizes.


Guidance on how to use the newly launched ACE online Helpdesk is available under the Knowledge Base Tab on the ACE website.


If you do have any other questions please do not hesitate to contact the ACE Support Team via the online ACE helpdesk facility.


Click here to go to ACE-IT and take part in the competition: Take Part Now


Good luck from all of us at the Federation!


Modifications to the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England (SASE)

26th February 2015


The Skills Funding Agency were recently requested by the Minister to prepare draft modifications to the current version of the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England (SASE), in accordance with section 25 of the Apprenticeships, Skills, Children and Learning Act 2009.


These modifications have now been agreed with an implementation date of 6 April 2015.


The modifications will ONLY apply to all new Apprenticeship starts from 6th April 2015.


The modification means that the “5 year rule” that currently applies to the validity of GCSEs/Key Skills qualifications in English, Maths and ICT (where applicable) has now been removed.


It also brings iGCSEs and A and AS Level qualifications back into scope as previously they had to have been achieved before September 2012. This is no longer the case.



An updated version of the SASE and guidance documents can be found at   SASE Feb 2015.


The Federation for Industry Skills and Standards (FISSS) have updated their Transferable Skills Guidance document and this can be accessed on the ACE Knowledge Base.


Please note that there are now 2 versions of the Transferable Skills Guidance document – one for Apprenticeship starts on, or before 5th April 2015 and the other for Apprenticeship starts on, or after 6th April 2015.


Also on the ACE Knowledge Base you will find a copy of the modified SASE and some FAQs relating to the recent modifications.


If you have any further questions relating to this issue then please contact the ACE Support Team via the online ACE Helpdesk or  by calling 0300 303 4444. Alternatively, you can e-mail via


ACE Customer Satisfaction Survey 2015

24th February 2015

It’s that time of year again!


We would very much appreciate if you could take the time to complete our online survey and give us your feedback on your experiences over the last year of the customer service and support that you have had from the Federation, Certification Bodies and the ACE certification process as a whole.


Over the past year there have been significant changes made to both ACE itself, with the launch of ACE 2 in April, and associated certification processes. This has included an extensive review of the guidance materials available, development of the online ACE-IT training tool and the launch of the online Helpdesk in November. The majority of the work that has been carried out, over the past 12 months, has been driven by your feedback given to us in previous surveys and through our provider events.


We are continually working to improve our systems, processes and enhance our levels of customer service and we need your help to achieve this.


Last year we saw an unprecedented level of responses to our survey and, as a regular user of ACE, we would again like to ask for your feedback which is invaluable to us.


We would be very grateful if you could take the time to complete this year’s survey, which should take not more than 15 minutes.


Survey link:


The survey will close at 5pm on Friday 20th March 2015. If you have any questions in the meantime please do not hesitate to contact the ACE support team using the online ACE Helpdesk.


In due course we will share the findings from the survey.


Many thanks and kind regards,


Federation team




Removal of the ACE Declaration Form

17th February 2015



The Apprentice Declaration & Authorisation Form for ACE is to be phased out!


Over the last few months, we have been looking at options for removing the need for the ACE Declaration Form to be completed and uploaded to ACE as part of every Apprenticeship Certification claim. We have been in discussions with colleagues in government to ensure that whatever solution is implemented complies with all the necessary legislative requirements.


We have now agreed a new process and this is currently being developed within ACE, ready for a launch in early April (actual date TBC).


In summary the new process will be as follows:


  • The current ACE Declaration Form will be replaced by a simplified Apprentice Consent Form which all Apprentices will be required to sign at the END of their Apprenticeship.
  • The signed Apprentice Consent Form will have to be retained by the ACE claimant (training provider), for audit purposes.
  • A copy of the signed Apprentice Consent Form will NOT be required to be uploaded to ACE for every Apprentice. However, ACE will be programmed to randomly ask for a copy of a signed Consent Form to be uploaded for an Apprentice and, if requested, an ACE claim cannot be completed without the requested Consent Form being uploaded for that specific Apprentice.
  • The individual making the Apprenticeship certification claim on ACE will be required to tick an online declaration that they confirm that the Apprentice has signed a Consent Form, which has been retained on file, and that they have the Apprentice’s authorisation to claim their Apprenticeship Completion Certificate on their behalf. Clicking this online declaration statement will automatically record the ACE username of the claimant and also date and time stamp the declaration being made.
  • This information will be permanently stored as part of the Apprentice’s ACE record and will be used for future audit/verification purposes.
  • Once the online declaration has been agreed and the tick box completed to record the claimant’s confirmation, the ACE claim will either be allowed to proceed in the usual manner or a signed consent form may be requested for upload to ACE before the claim can be submitted for review by the relevant Certification Body.




Our key driver for this change is to simplify the process for both ACE claimants and Certification Bodies and in turn reduce the level of current rejections that arise as a result of queries/problems with submitted V3 Apprentice Declaration & Authorisation Forms. We know from our consultation with, and feedback from, all ACE users that this is an issue which is particularly problematic for all concerned and has, on occasions, led to delays in the timely issue of Apprenticeship Completion certificates. This is not a situation that we can allow to continue and we are confident that the new process we are developing will bring benefits for everyone, not least your successful Apprentices.


Over the next few weeks we will be developing the process within ACE and working with a number of you to test its operation, ease of use and gathering general feedback on the new functionality.


We look forward to its implementation in early April and, as always, will welcome your feedback.