hairdresser cutting hair

Hairdressing end-point assessment

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

Hairdressing end-point assessment

All hairdressing apprentices must now complete an end-point assessment (EPA) to gain their qualification.   

The EPA is designed to be a practical, real-life snapshot assessment of the learner's practical skills – from styling techniques to customer service. An end-point assessor usually visits learners on site – assessing multiple candidates at the same time. Learners must work on a minimum of two models, and bring their own products and tools. The EPA will last no longer than six hours, excluding 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:  

  • One creative restyle and finish using a minimum of three cutting techniques 
  • Two finished looks using a minimum of four techniques – one above and one below-the-shoulder look, one setting technique, a blow dry with a round brush, a hair-up style (80% of the hair should be taken up) and three dressing techniques 
  • Two colour and/or lightened hair services using a minimum of two products – one woven highlights, one 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 in four key themes - Ways of working, Understanding, Customer services, and Technical skills – which comprises: :  

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

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

How can apprentices prepare?   

Each learner needs to choose two models and equip their workstation with all the products and tools they'll need during the EPA. Learners will also need to bring a portfolio of before-and-after photographs, which 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 showcase their best examples during the EPA. Building a large portfolio can be tricky – but not with OneFile's portfolio showcase feature. Here, 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.