Every few years hairdressing and barbering standards are reviewed and updated. New Level 2 standards – developed by employers in the hair and barbering sector – were introduced in May 2017, they are referred to as the Hair Professional Standards and include knowledge, skills and behaviours taken from Level 3.
New Level 3 standards are to be introduced in early 2020. These are referred to as the Level 3 Diploma for Advanced and Creative Hair Professionals and are designed to lead directly on from the new Level 2 standards to allow an apprentice to develop advanced skills. The entry requirement for the new Level 3 is that an apprentice must have successfully completed the new Level 2 standards.
From May 2017, a very different approach to assessment was also introduced alongside the new standards and, to achieve a new standard hair or barbering award, apprentices must successfully complete a final ‘trade test’ called an end point assessment or EPA. An EPA is where the apprentice demonstrates their skills and knowledge to an independent assessor employed by one of the awarding organisations, for example City & Guilds or VTCT.
Provided the EPA is completed successfully, apprentices will be graded as either a ‘pass’ or a ‘distinction’ depending on their performance. If an EPA is not completed successfully, the apprentice must retake the assessment and although there is no limit on the number of retakes an apprentice may take, there are additional costs for each retake and the employer may be required to pay these costs.