Hairdressing end-point assessment

Assessing the learner’s practical skills – from styling techniques to customer service.

Hairdressing end-point assessment

All hairdressing apprentices now complete an end-point assessment.  

The end-point assessment (EPA) is designed to take a snap-shot assessment of the learner's practical skills – from styling techniques to customer service. The end-point assessor usually comes to the learner's site to complete the assessment and will assess multiple learners at once. The learner must work on a minimum of 2 models and bring their own products and tools. The EPA will last no longer than 6 hours, not including breaks. 

What are learners assessed on?  

The EPA is designed to mimic salon life, so learners need to complete a full range of salon services to industry standards within commercial timings. They'll be assessed on each stage of the client journey – including consultation, hair washing, cutting techniques, professionalism and safe working practices. Learners will be assessed on their practical skills and asked questions while they complete these assessment tasks: 

  • 1 creative restyle and finish using a minimum of 3 cutting techniques.  
  • 2 finished looks using a minimum of 4 techniques – 1 above and 1 below-the-shoulder look, 1 setting technique, a blow dry with a round brush, a hair-up style (80% of the hair should be taken up) and 3 dressing techniques.  
  • 2 colour and/or lightened hair services using a minimum of 2 products – 1 woven highlights, 1 other colouring technique, minimum T-section of the head, and a change in depth and tone. 

How is the EPA graded?  

The learner is graded on these 4 themes: ways of working, technical skills, understanding and customer services. The technical skills are broken down into: 

  • Consultation  
  • Shampoo, condition and treatment of hair 
  • Cut hair 
  • Style and finish  
  • Colour and lightening 

Each skill is weighted differently – the largest weighting is colouring at 20%. The results are then converted into points out of 700, and the learner is awarded a grade depending on their point score. 634-700 points is a distinction, 500-633 points is a pass and 0-499 points is a fail.  

How can apprentices prepare?  

The learner needs to choose 2 models and equip their workstation with all the products and tools they'll need during the EPA. The learner will also need to prepare a portfolio of before-and-after photographs. This portfolio will be used as evidence and shown to the independent assessor during the EPA.  

It's a good idea for apprentices to build this portfolio throughout the programme, and select their best examples to showcase during the EPA. Building a large portfolio can be tricky – but with OneFile's portfolio showcase feature, it's really easy. Apprentices can upload before-and-after photos and assign them to the apprenticeship criteria. At the end of their programme, learners can then create an online collection of their best evidence and download it into a read-only zip file. This can then be sent to the EPAO before the assessment and presented to the assessor during the EPA. There's no paperwork or photographs to keep track of, it's all stored in one easy-to-use system.  

To find out more about OneFile and how it can be used to deliver, track and manage hairdressing apprenticeships, download our free guide 

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This article includes research and opinion sourced by OneFile at the time of publication. Things may have changed since then,
so this research is to be used at the reader's discretion. OneFile is not liable for any action taken based on this research.