ACE Customer Satisfaction survey 2018

5th February 2018

As we begin a new year we would like to take some time to reflect on 2017. 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 you get from both the Federation and individual Certification Bodies.

This year’s survey is now available for you to give us your feedback and will remain open until 5pm on Friday 16th March. 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 tell us what you think.

By completing the survey in full, you will be entered into our prize draw to win one of three prizes of either £100, £50 or £25 in high street vouchers. 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.

Festive Office Closure

12th December 2017

The FISSS offices will be closing on Friday 22nd Dec 2017 and reopening on Tuesday 2nd Jan 2018. During this period the ACE system will be available for you to load/amend apprentice records, however we will be unable to provide any additional system support. We will endeavour to resolve any outstanding queries upon our return.

Acceptable Evidence Guidance – 11th December 2017 Update

11th December 2017

In September 2017, we updated the latest version of the Acceptable Evidence Guidance for ACE. Since then we have made the following changes:

New Pages

We have added a new Awarding Organisation:  BIIAB.

Changes to Existing Pages

Cambridge International Examiniations (CIE) have rebranded and are now known as Cambridge Assessment International Education:  we have added an additional Statement of Results.

City & Guilds: we have amended the minimum requirements on the Walled Garden report.

Pearson:  we have added a new certificate to reflect the GCSE English and Maths numeric grading and an unacceptable screenshot.

SQA: we have added a SQA Connect Candidate Services printout.

If you have any further questions relating to this issue then please contact the ACE Support Team via or by calling 0300 303 4444

Federation Oracle

8th December 2017

Can you hear the bells jingling? It’s that time of year, time for another issue of the Federation Oracle!  Packed into this straining-at-the-edges edition you will find information on:

    • ACE360
    • The Assessors Guild
    • UKFT
    • And a very pink Federation!

Password Policy

22nd November 2017

On Thurs 7th December 2017, a new password policy will be introduced to the ACE site for all users. In an effort to guarantee that the data held within the ACE database is kept as securely as possible you will be required to change your password.
Your new password should contain the following characteristics:


  • Contain as least 12 alphanumeric characters
  • Contain both upper and lower case letters
  • Contain at least one number (0-9)
  • Contain at least one special character (!,!$%^&*()_+|~-=\`{}[]:”;'<>?,/)

Passwords containing the above characteristics are considered to be strong.

Please read the below sections for further guidance on password creation and best practices –


Password Creation

    1. All passwords should be reasonably complex and difficult for unauthorised people to guess. Users should choose passwords that are at least twelve characters long and contain a combination of upper and lower case letters, numbers and other special characters.
    2. In addition to these requirements, users should also use common sense when choosing passwords. They must avoid basic combinations that are easy to crack. For example “password”, “password1” and “pa$$w0rd” are all equally bad from a security perspective.
    3. Users should choose unique passwords for all of their system accounts, with meaning only to the user who chooses it.
    4. If the security of a password is in doubt – for example, if it appears that an unauthorised person has logged into the account – the password must be changed immediately
    5. Default passwords-such as those created for new users when they start or those that protect new systems when they are initially set up-must be changed as quickly as possible


Poor or weak passwords have the following characteristics:


    1. Contain less than eight characters
    2. Contain personal information such as birthdates, addresses, phone numbers or names of family members, pets, friends and fantasy characters.
    3. Contain work-related information such as building names, system commands, sites, companies, hardware or software
    4. Contain number patterns such as aaabbb, qwerty, zyxwvuts or 123321


Protecting Passwords


    1. Users should never share their passwords with anyone else in their organisation, including co-workers, managers, admin assistants, IT Staff members etc. Everyone who needs access to the ACE system should be given their own unique password.
    2. Users should never share their passwords with any outside parties, including those claiming to be representatives of a business partner with a legitimate need to access the ACE system.
    3. Users should take steps to avoid phishing scams and other attempts by hackers to steal passwords and other sensitive information.
    4. Users should refrain from writing down passwords and keeping them at their workstations.


If you have any queries relating to this or concerns that your password integrity may be compromised please do not hesitate in contacting the System Support Team or 0300 303 4444.

UKFT Sector Skills Body for the fashion and textile industry

1st November 2017


The UK Fashion & Textile Association (UKFT) is to become the Sector Skills Body for the Fashion & Textiles industry.


UKFT will take over the management of current Apprenticeship frameworks with the responsibility of both registration and certification of Apprentices in England, Scotland and Wales and work with devolved nation’s stakeholders, to ensure that National Occupational Standards and Apprenticeship provision for the sector are maintained and developed.


The transfer of responsibility from Creative Skillset to UKFT goes live on 1st November 2017.


UKFT is the most inclusive British network for fashion and textile companies in the UK. We bring together designers, manufacturers, agents and retailers to promote their businesses and our industry, both in the UK and throughout the world. UKFT is in a unique position, representing businesses from spinning, weaving and knitting, right through to catwalk.


Adam Mansell CEO of UKFT:


“With industry skills and training being a huge part of UKFT’s commitment to the sector, this is very welcome news. We are proud to take over from Creative Skillset, which has supported the industry since 2010 and we thank them for the achievements made during that time. It is extremely important to ensure the management and certification of Apprenticeships and other vocational qualifications is closely aligned to the needs of the industry.”


Mark Froud, Managing Director, Federation for Industry Sector Skills & Standards (FISSS): 


“We look forward to working with UKFT; being close to the Employers is critical and they have their trust and respect. UKFT has a strong approach to ensuring that Apprenticeships and training are kept up to date in what is an increasingly fast paced world.”
Seetha Kumar CEO of Creative Skillset:
“Creative Skillset would like to thank the employers and professionals who have been involved in developing standards and frameworks for Fashion and Textiles over the past 7 years. We wish UKFT the very best of luck as they continue the crucial job of supporting Apprenticeship and vocational training in the Fashion and Textiles sector.”
For further information please contact:
Tamara Rizvi: 0207 843 9460

Acceptable Evidence Guidance – 11th September Update

8th September 2017

In May 2017, we updated the latest version of the Acceptable Evidence Guidance for ACE. Since then we have made the following changes:
New Pages

We have added a total of 3 new Awarding Organisations:  Open Awards and due to the latest changes to SASE to include British Sign Language as a Transferable Skill we have also added IBSL and Signature

Changes to Existing Pages

CACHE: due to re-branding we have added updated acceptable and unacceptable evidence.

CCEA:  due to the latest changes to SASE to include Northern Irish Essential Skills we have added a new certificate.

City & Guilds: we have added an unacceptable Unit Credit Certificate which we have also added to Pre-2006 Transferable Skills Evidence.

NCFE:  due to re-branding we have added updated acceptable evidence.

NOCN: we have added an acceptable NOCN/Quartz report.

OCR: we have added a new acceptable piece of evidence showing the latest GCSE grading.
WJEC: due to the latest changes to SASE to include Essential Skills Wales we have added a new certificate.

If you have any further questions relating to this issue then please contact the ACE Support Team via or by calling 0300 303 4444.

31.8.17 SASE Framework Withdrawals Update

31st August 2017

Following the announcement made in early January 2017, regarding the withdrawal of a third batch of SASE frameworks, 18 frameworks will be withdrawn to new starts from 1st Oct 2017. The last date for new starts on these frameworks will be 30 September 2017.

The list of Batch 3 frameworks for withdrawal can be found here.

This withdrawal announcement does not impact any current learners on any of these frameworks, as they will continue to complete their Apprenticeship as usual. Once the withdrawal date for a framework has passed, any existing learners will continue to complete their Apprenticeship, on their agreed funding arrangements, and their Apprenticeship Completion Certificate can be claimed as normal.

The last date for new starts on withdrawn Frameworks will be updated on Apprenticeship Certificate England (ACE) and on the learning aims search on the Hub. On the agreed withdrawal date, the Frameworks will be archived on Apprenticeship Frameworks Online.

In due course, the ESFA will announce the proposals for withdrawing the remaining “live” SASE frameworks.

Updated SASE Regulations “Live” as of 22nd August 2017

22nd August 2017

The 6th version of the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for England (SASE) was published on 19th July 2017. This introduced a number of key changes to the range of acceptable qualifications for both English and Maths. However, the changes could not take effect until Parliamentary approval had been received. This approval has now been received and the changes, previously published in July, will be effective from Tuesday 22nd August 2017.
This notification gives more detail on the specific amendments that have been made to this version of the SASE regulations.
Summary of Changes:


    1. The list of acceptable English and Maths qualifications has been expanded. This now includes some Scottish, Welsh and Northern Irish qualifications. Please note that GCSE English Literature is also now back in scope.
      Please refer to Sections 5, 6, 28 & 29 of SASE for specific details of English & Maths qualifications that are now acceptable.
      2. The minimum requirements for the new numerically graded GCSEs have been included:-


        a.  For a Level 2, Intermediate Apprenticeship, the minimum acceptable Grade is a (remains as an E Grade for older GCSEs

        b.  For a Level 3, Advanced Apprenticeship, the minimum acceptable Grade is a remains as a C Grade for older GCSEs)
3. For Apprentices with special educational needs, learning difficulties or disabilities (NB: specific criteria have to be met and evidenced), exemptions are in place for the regular English and Maths minimum requirements. This exemption allows the Apprentice to use an Entry Level 3 qualification in English or Maths as an acceptable alternative.
Please refer to SASE Sections 15 – 23 for further details of how Providers are required to both assess and evidence whether or not they have learners who meet the “exemption” criteria.

4.The use of a British Sign Language (BSL) qualification (at the required level) is now approved
in place of the regular English qualification minimum requirement. This is only for Apprentices who use BSL as their primary
Please refer to SASE Section 5 (f) and 28 (f) for further details on the acceptance of BSL qualifications.


ICT Requirements
Please note that there have been NO changes to the list of acceptable ICT qualifications for SASE Apprenticeships.
Impact of the SASE Changes
The changes coming into effect on 22nd August 2017 will apply not only to all those starting an Apprenticeship on, or after, this date but also to those currently on an Apprenticeship programme who have not yet completed.


Removal of the 5 Year Rule for All Apprentices
It has also been confirmed that the “5 year rule” requirement for Apprentices, starting before 6 April 2015, has now been removed. This means that there are now no date achieved criteria for English, Maths and ICT qualifications for any Apprentice, irrespective of their Apprenticeship start date.


Updated Transferable Skills Guidance
The Federation have updated their Transferable Skills Guidance document to reflect the changes taking effect from 22nd August 2017.


Changes to ACE
There are now 2 new, optional radio buttons on the Framework Tab of ACE. They only relate to Apprentices who meet the specified SASE criteria relating to the use of either a BSL or an Entry Level 3 qualification. Where appropriate, ACE claimants will be required to tick one of these radio buttons and agree to an online declaration that the named Apprentice does meet the SASE criteria and wishes to submit an appropriate BSL or Entry Level 3 qualification as evidence of their achievement of the required English and/or Maths requirements of their Apprenticeship framework. Training Providers are required to retain suitable evidence that the Apprentice did meet the exemptions criteria, as stated in the July 2017 version of SASE. This may be required for future auditing purposes by the E&SFA.
Please note that, the new Automated Data Transfer Facility in ACE will be updated to include a search of a learner’s PLR for a suitable qualification, where either BSL or Entry Level 3 exemptions have been declared in ACE.


In the short term, all current SASE frameworks will have a red banner notification added to the front cover to alert readers to the recent SASE changes to the English and Maths requirements. In addition, a preface page has been inserted giving further details of these changes.
Please note that the English and Maths tables, within the Transferable Skills section of each framework document, have not yet been updated to reflect the recent changes. This will be done over the next few months. If you are in any doubt as to the requirements of a framework, please contact the relevant Issuing Authority/Certification Body for further guidance.


If you have any questions relating to the new SASE requirements then please contact the Federation Support Team.

Federation Oracle

16th August 2017

The latest issue of the Federation Oracle, the one stop shop for updates from within Apprenticeships and the Federation is available now. In this edition you will find information on:

  • Updates to SASE
  • Automated Data Transfer Facility