Category Archives: Uncategorized

Apprenticeship Framework Certification Price Increase Announcement

7th September 2020

 

From 1 October 2020, the price of an Apprenticeship Framework certificate in England, claimed and issued via the Federation’s online ACE system, will increase by £3.00 to a new cost of £25.00 per Apprenticeship completion certificate.
The reasons for this modest increase is that the Federation has been providing a high quality and efficient certification service since 2012 at the original charge of £22, with no previous price increases.
In addition to the actual certification service itself, the Federation also: –

  •  provides and maintains the secure IT platform on which ACE is hosted
  •  developed and enhanced the ACE software over the last 8 years, in line with regulatory requirements and customer feedback
  •  offers a highly rated online and telephone customer services facility
  •  provides comprehensive, user friendly online support and guidance materials, which are regularly updated in line with current legislative and quality requirements
  • uses rigorous quality control processes to ensure all certification claims are processed correctly and within agreed SLAs
  •  undertakes routine audits of its member bodies, who certificate on their behalf
  • maintains an online library of the most recent versions of Framework documents plus links to archived versions.

 

We acknowledge that the economic situation is tough for everyone at the moment, and there is no good time to increase prices, but The Federation itself is a registered charity and provides all of the above services at no cost to the public purse. However, as the designated Certifying Authority in England, the Federation must be able to continue to manage and deliver the service on an economically sustainable basis, until such time as the last Apprenticeship Framework certification requests have been received and processed (circa 2025).
 

Like many businesses, in the face of the current economic challenges, the Federation has already taken extensive steps to reduce its own fixed costs but in order that we are able to continue to fulfil our statutory duty, and maintain a high quality certification and support service to training providers, employers and Apprentices, a small price increase is now necessary.
 

As you are aware, Apprenticeship Frameworks in England are now closed to new starts, with the last Apprentices commencing their training on 31st July 2020. All new Apprenticeship starts must now be on an Apprenticeship Standard. The knock on effect of this transition is that the volume of Framework certification claims, being made via ACE, will continue to reduce significantly year on year, between now and 2025.
 

The new certification price of £25 will be implemented from 1st October. The ACE system will be updated to reflect this change and all tokens purchased on, or after 1st October 2020, will be charged at £25 each.
 

APPRENTICESHIP CERTIFICATION – How we‘re trying to help

27th March 2020

Providing a high-quality and efficient service for our customers is at the forefront of everything that we do in the Federation – especially during these challenging times. We are all having to do things differently, and it’s very likely that we all need to adjust to new ways of working.
 

With this in mind, we wanted to let you know about the interim measures that we have put in place to support training providers. We need to ensure that you -on behalf of your Apprentices- are still able to submit a claim for an Apprenticeship certificate, and receive confirmation that completion has been successfully approved.
 

All of our Sector Bodies have business continuity plans in place, and are continuing to process Apprenticeship certification claims submitted via our online certification system.  However, the batch printing and dispatching of actual certificates has already become a challenge for many of our partners, and this will probably become increasingly problematic over the coming weeks.
 

We want to reassure you – the Federation has been working in partnership with relevant governmental departments and has taken the appropriate steps to address this issue.
 

The plan calls for Sector Bodies to continue processing certification claims in the usual manner and -if everything is in order- to change the Apprentice’s status to “Approved”.
 

At that point, the system will automatically send out an Apprenticeship Achievement Confirmation notification to the relevant Centre.  This e-mail will confirm the date of Achievement Approval, and will contain all the relevant Apprentice data – including details of the Apprenticeship achieved.
 

Finally, a copy of the Apprentice Achievement notification will be sent out to the specific system user submitting the certification claim, as well as the Centre Admin User account.
In the interim, you can use the e-mail notification system to confirm Apprenticeship Achievement with the individual Apprentice, their Employer, and relevant Funding Bodies etc.
 

All printed certificates will be generated and dispatched once business operations are able to return to normal.
 

We plan to implement this new process early next week, and will be sending out further notifications to confirm when it is operational.
 

Should you have any further questions or require additional support, please make sure to contact your relevant Sector Body.  A full list of Sector Body contacts can be found here.
 

You can also contact the Federation for Industry Sector Skills and Standards directly via our e-mail or by calling 0300 303 4444 option 1 and option 1 again.
 

We want to offer this interim certification confirmation facility, as an alternative and flexible solution in cases where the printing of certificates is not going to be possible. We hope that this will help both you and your Apprentices, by enabling you to receive confirmation of their Apprenticeship Achievement.
 

Thank you for your continued support and cooperation during this incredibly challenging time – rest assured that we, and our members, are here to help you.

 

Acceptable Evidence Guidance – 18th March 2020

18th March 2020

In January 2020, we updated the latest version of the Acceptable Evidence Guidance for ACE. Since then we have made the following changes:
 

New Page; University of the Arts London (UAL): We have added a UAL certificate.
 

If you have any questions relating to the changes then please contact the ACE Support Team via ace.helpdesk@fisss.org or by calling 0300 303 4444 option 1 then option 1 again.
 

Acceptable Evidence Guidance – 7th February 2020

5th March 2020

In December 2019, we updated the latest version of the Acceptable Evidence Guidance for ACE.
 

Since then we have made the following changes:
 

Changes to Existing Pages;
 

UK NARIC: We have added two screenshots to comply with the latest ESFA guidance.
 

If you have any further questions relating to this issue then please contact the ACE Support Team via ace.helpdesk@fisss.org or by calling 0300 303 4444 option 1 then option 1 again.
 

ANNUAL CUSTOMER SATISFACTION SURVEY 2020

2nd March 2020

Each year the Federation carries out an annual, online survey of its key customers, to collect their views on a number of issues, such as the operational performance of ACE itself and specifically on their experiences of the support and guidance that they get from both the Federation and individual Certification Bodies.
 

This year’s survey for Training Providers is now available and will remain open until 5pm on Thursday 9th April. Previous year’s surveys have had a tremendous response rate and we really appreciate and value all of your feedback. Please do take the time to give us your feedback.

 

By completing the survey in full, you will be entered into our prize draw to win one of three prizes of either a £100, £50 or £25 One4All vouchers which are accepted in 1000s of shops: fashion, tech, food & more. Winners will be randomly selected once the survey has closed and winners will be individually contacted. A list of winners will be published, on our ACE website, in due course.
 

Instructus Office Closure on Friday 27th September

27th September 2019

The Instructus office is closed today for a staff event. Phone calls and emails will not be answered today. It will be re-opening as normal on Monday 30th September at 9am and they will respond to your queries then.

SASE Higher Apprenticeships – Impact of Change in Funding Rules

10th July 2019

Changes in the Apprenticeship funding rules for 2018/19 impacts existing SASE Higher Apprenticeship frameworks in that it states that those undertaking a Level 3 or Higher Apprenticeship are required to hold, or achieve as part of their Apprenticeship, a Level 2 qualification in both English and Maths. Furthermore, the funding rules state that, to attract government funding, at least 20% of the Apprentice’s paid hours, over the planned duration of the Apprenticeship training period, must be spent on off-the-job training.
 

All training providers are aware of this change as it came into effect on the 1st August 2018. However SASE regulations were not updated at the same time and therefore do not require those on a Higher Apprenticeship to achieve Level 2 English and Maths as mandatory requirements or to undertake 20% of off-the-job training.
 

DfE, have confirmed that, given the transition to Apprenticeship Standards, there are no plans to revise and reissue SASE to reflect these changes but that Training Providers will be expected to comply with funding rules when accessing public funding for the provision of their Apprenticeship delivery, and maybe audited
 

They do accept that for those Apprentices who are currently in learning and/or due to complete their Apprenticeship, and have not met these requirements, it would not be fair for them to be denied their Apprenticeship certificate.
 

Therefore for any Apprentices starting a Higher Apprenticeship on or after 01/08/2019, there will be the requirement for them to have achieved Level 2 English and Maths and fulfil the 20% off the job training requirement to align certification with funding rules
 

For the purposes of certification, for Higher Apprenticeship learners starting after 01/08/2019, Certification Bodies will review each claim against the requirements of the current framework document and, in addition, evidence of English and Maths achievement will be required to be submitted.
 

So from 01/08/2019, all current SASE Higher Apprenticeship framework documents will display a banner message, on the front cover, to remind Employers/Providers that the achievement of Level 2 English and Maths and the completion of 20% off the job training are conditions of funding and that the ACE claim will require the relevant achievement evidence to be uploaded.
 

If you have any questions relating to this then please contact the ACE support team via ace.helpdesk@fisss.org or by calling 0300 303 4444.
 

Apprenticeship Certification Checklist.

8th July 2019

In an effort to improve the service we provide we have revised and updated the Apprenticeship Certification Checklist on how to make a successful ACE claim.
 

If you have any questions relating to this then please contact the ACE support team via ace.helpdesk@fisss.org or by calling 0300 303 4444.
 

ACE360: Free webinar information sessions for Training Providers

3rd July 2019

ACE360 Apprenticeship Management

The Federation for Industry Sector Skills and Standards is delighted to announce that we are hosting a series of webinar information sessions on the ACE360 Apprenticeship Management System.

 

Our next information sessions for training providers take place on the following dates:

 

8th July 2019: 13:30pm Sign up here

 

25th July 2019 10:00am Sign up here

 

6th August 2019 10:00am Sign up here

 

20th August 2019 10:00am Sign up here

 

ACE360 is an industry-wide Apprenticeship management system that enables you to manage Apprenticeship Standards efficiently, securely, and paper free. You can find out more about ACE360’s benefits to training providers here

 

Acceptable Evidence 6th December update

6th December 2018

In September 2018, we updated the latest version of the Acceptable Evidence Guidance for ACE. Since then we have made the following change:
 

We have added a new page for UK NARIC which is in line with the latest SASE changes.
 

If you have any questions relating to this issue then please contact the ACE support team via ace.helpdesk@fisss.org or by calling 0300 303 4444.