Want to know more?

Click below to find out more about end point assessments.

Do I have to use the same end point assessment organisation (EPAO) I used for the on-programme part of the apprenticeship to complete the EPA for my apprentice?

No, employers can choose which end point assessment organisation (EPAO) to use.

The following organisations offer hair end-point assessments:

City and Guilds



How should my apprentice be prepared for the end-point assessment?

Timescales for the end-point assessment should be planned and agreed with the apprentice, employer and training provider. The end-point assessment should be booked well in advance.

The apprentice should take mock tests, both observation and oral questioning.  The client selected should be informed, well-prepared and all arrangements made to ensure everything goes to plan on the day, including back-up plans to avoid any disruptions. 

All EPAOs have extensive guidance on their websites explaining the EPA process, centre requirements and the support they provide:

City and Guilds



Can an apprentice complete their EPA in their own salon/workplace?

The EPA can take place at the employer’s salon, a training provider’s salon or a college’s salon. As far as reasonably practicable the location of end-point assessment should match conditions of a real work environment. The salon or barbershop must have a clearly separated area, where the apprentice will not be disturbed and can operate, e.g. no assistance provided and no risk of collusion or support.

Is there additional support, time allowance, reasonable adjustments or special consideration for apprentices with learning difficulties or social barriers?

You would need to follow the guidance detailed in the policy for the EPA on the EPAO website.

City and Guilds



What should the appointment schedule include?

Times, client’s names, and services being carried out. However, it is good practice to include as much detail as possible, for example: services, products and techniques that will be used per client. 

Can clients bring in their children?

No, they need to be aware that the apprentice is under exam conditions and this could be a distraction.

If an apprentice attends college on a weekly basis can the EPA be in the college?


What needs to be presented to the apprenticeship assessor on the day of the EPA?

A valid form of photographic ID for the apprentice, completed and signed Client Declaration Forms and an EPA schedule.

Is a copy of the apprentice’s ID okay rather than the original?

Yes, as long as it is clear and contains a photograph. 

What happens if the apprentice does not bring their photographic ID on the day of the EPA?

If there are concerns over the validity/identity of the apprentice, the IEPA will liaise with the EPA team who will make that decision in liaison with the EPA customer. 

What would happen if the documentation presented to the apprenticeship assessor was incomplete?

The EPA cannot go ahead if the documentation requested by the EPAO has not been completed.

Should the end-point assessor interact with the model/client?

An assessor may interact with a model/client on occasion. For example, they may check that the model/client is happy with the service or to ask their permission to take photographs. On occasion the assessor will check the model’s hair to ensure all criteria has been met. If one model is checked all models will be checked. 

What interaction is permitted between the apprentice and other salon colleagues during the assessment?

During the assessment, interaction between apprentices should be limited to their clients and end-point assessor only. This is to ensure that the assessment is conducted under controlled conditions. The employer, senior stylist or designated person can be an intermediary for recording and validation purposes only as directed by the assessor. This will be monitored by the assessor. It is advised that this is made known to any persons that may be present in other parts of the assessment location during the assessment period. 

The assessor will monitor this throughout the assessment. Assessments can be done in-house only if the salon has a clearly separated area e.g. separate floor, operating under exam conditions e.g. no talking to learners, no assistance provided, no risk of collusion, no shared areas e.g. colour bars.

What would happen if the apprentice does not meet the minimum health and safety standards?

If the apprenticeship assessor believes there is a risk relating to health and safety, then the EPA will be stopped. If the risks are appropriately addressed the EPA may continue. The assessor will make a judgment on whether the EPA can continue or not

Should the apprentice wear a uniform for the EPA?

Apprentices are expected to look professional and wear their usual salon/training academy uniform on the day of the EPA. This must be in accordance with health and safety requirements (no open-toe shoes) and salon standards of presentation and dress. 

Are male clients suitable for the hairdressing EPAs?

Yes, male clients can be used for the EPA as long as they meet the requirements of the Hair Professional Assessment Plan.

Can the clients be known to the apprentice?

Yes, the clients can be known to the apprentice. 

Can the apprentice use more than one client for the hair professional assessments?

Yes, the hair professional assessment plan requires a minimum of two clients. The advanced and creative plan requires a minimum of one client. The apprentice and employer are responsible for providing suitable models for the EPA. The employer and training provider should provide support, where necessary. The models can be familiar to the apprentice.

Is there a limit to the number of services that can be completed on a single model/client during the EPA?

There is no limit to the number of services that can be completed on one model/client, as long as the apprentice adheres to having the minimum of two models/clients. When performing multiple services on one model/client, an apprentice will also need to take into consideration the effect multiple services can have on the hair. Multiple models/clients are therefore required and advised accordingly.

If the apprentice drops a comb/hairbrush or any other piece of equipment, will they fail their EPA?

The apprentice will not fail; however, they must ensure that they have spare equipment ready and it is clean and sterilised prior to use.

If the apprentice cuts their finger, will the apprentice fail the EPA?

The apprentice will not fail if they accidentally cut their finger. However, the apprentice must take the appropriate action to deal with the cut

Can the apprentice use their own tools during the EPA?

Yes, it is recommended that the apprentice uses their own tools.

If the apprentice changes their order for completing clients during the assessment, will they fail their EPA?

No, the apprentice will not fail  if they change their order on the day/during the EPA. However, the apprentice will have to provide the apprenticeship assessor with a rationale for any changes made. 

Do all tools and equipment need personalised labels?

No, the apprentice’s tools and equipment are not required to have personalised labels.

Do the clients need to be present for all of the EPA?

The clients only need to be present for the section of the EPA that they are required for. 

Can background music be played?

It is acceptable for music to be on in the background.

Does the salon need to be closed for the EPA?

The salon does not need to be closed; however, the apprentice must have a dedicated space for their EPA and have no direct distractions. 

Is there a minimum age requirement for the clients?

The clients must be a minimum of 16 years old. 

Is there a maximum number of clients that an apprentice can have in the EPA?

There is no restriction on the maximum number of clients that the apprentice can have.

If the apprentice achieves a pass can they resit to achieve a higher grade?


What will result in a fail?

An apprentice will fail if they are shown to not meet the desired criteria for any of the assessment components. As well as their practical skill being assessed, they must also ensure that they adhere to all health and safety practices. 

If the assessor identifies practice which results in the assessment being graded as a fail, will the assessment be stopped?

An assessment will not be stopped if an assessor identifies practice which is graded as a fail unless the assessment has become life-threatening or has put others at risk. In all other circumstances, the assessment will continue as normal.  This allows the apprentice to receive feedback on all areas of the assessment to aid a more successful retake.

If an element of the assessment is graded as a fail, is it just this element that has to be retaken or the entire assessment?

Apprentices who fail their Hair Professional EPA will be required to re-sit/retake their entire EPA. For example, an apprentice who fails part of their practical assessment will have to re-sit/retake the entire practical observation and oral questioning.

If my apprentice fails the EPA, how quickly can they re-sit it?

The apprentice will not be able to retake the EPA until they have completed a period of further learning agreed by both the employer and training provider. A minimum period of 30 days is required before the EPA is taken. Additional mock tests are highly recommended to ensure the apprentice is prepared. The apprentices should only resit the EPA when the employer and training provider agree they are ready to re-sit it. The apprentice will need to select a different client, not the same one they used on earlier EPAs.

I am interested in becoming an independent end point assessor, where can I find further information?

Please find below links to information on current vacancies and how to become an EPA independent assessor from the three EPAOs. 

City and Guilds