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 ACW 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 ACW. 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 a Core Skill Confirmation Report and an unacceptable screenshot.

SQA: we have added a SQA Connect Candidate Services printout. and a SQA Connect Core Skills Printout.

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

Password Policy

22nd November 2017

On Thurs 7th December 2017, a new password policy will be introduced to the ACW site for all users. In an effort to guarantee that the data held within the ACW 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 ACW 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 ACW 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:  tamara.rizvi@ukft.org 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 ACW. Since then we have made the following changes:
New Pages

We have added a new Awarding Organisation:

Open Awards


Changes to Existing Pages

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

CCEA:  we added an Essential Skills 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.

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

Acceptable Evidence Guidance – 9th May 2017

9th May 2017

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

New Pages
Two additional Awarding Organisations have been added to the Guidance:

Changes to Existing Pages
AAT: have withdrawn an evidence example which has been moved into Withdrawn Evidence, but will still be acceptable until the 8th August 2017.
Cambridge International Examinations (CIE): we have added an acceptable International Certificate of Education.
OCR: we have added a new unacceptable piece of evidence.
Edexcel: we have added a new acceptable IGCSE certificate.
International GCSE (IGCSE): we have added a new acceptable IGCSE certificate.
SQA: we have updated the evidence to include screenshots and reports from their online systems as well as new Certificate examples.

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

Acceptable Evidence Guidance – 26 January 2017 Update

26th January 2017

In December 2016, we updated the latest version of the Acceptable Evidence Guidance for ACW.  Since then we have made the following changes:

OCR: It has been brought to our attention that it depends on the date of initial achievement as to whether a ****Final Certifying Statement of Results**** shows a Statement number (8) and we have therefore agreed with OCR that it will be removed with immediate effect as a minimum requirement.
We have also added 2 pieces of Unacceptable evidence from the interchange system which only show Test Results rather than achievement of the full qualification.
The Learning Record Service made some significant changes to the way they report qualification achievement last month. Subsequently, it has been brought to our attention that if the source of the information is the ILR or NPD then the level of the qualification will now be shown in the qualification title/aim description and not the Level field. Evidence is acceptable in this format and the guidance has been updated to reflect this.
Pearson have rebranded and we have added a BTEC certificate and an Edexcel certificate to reflect this.
CMIS: We have made a couple of minor alterations to the minimum requirements (points 4 and 5) to incorporate alternative report examples that have been brought to our attention.  Please hyperlink as above.
iSAMS:  We have added a new management information system (iSAMS) which is used within schools.  Please hyperlink as above.

Acceptable Evidence Guidance – 14th December 2016 Update

14th December 2016

In October 2016, we created  the Acceptable Evidence Guidance for ACW. Since then we have made the following changes:

The Learning Record Service have made some quite significant changes to the way they report qualification achievement. Learning Record Service (PLR) / Personal Learner Record (LRS)

Additions to Existing Pages:
•    EAL have added an External Assessment Report (unacceptable)
•    NCFE have added an updated Learner Achievement Report (acceptable)
•    AQA have asked us to remove the QAN requirement from all relevant evidence.

Thank you to everyone who has supported the update to this guidance. We plan to carry out quarterly updates of the guidance if there is a sufficient supply of new evidence suitable for inclusion. If you would like to submit an evidence example for consideration please contact the Support Team.

Modifications to the Specification of Apprenticeship Standards for Wales (SASW)

14th October 2016


From the 14th October 2016, Welsh Government will amend the Specifications for Apprenticeship Standards in Wales to allow proxies and alternative qualifications to be accepted in lieu of Essential Skills Wales (ESW) / Essential Skills Qualifications (ESQ) in Communication, and in Application of Number for transferable skills.


The modification means that the qualifications like GCSEs, A/AS Levels, Functional Skills, and nation specific qualifications for English and Maths, that were previously excluded, have now been brought into scope for acceptability within SASW frameworks.


No proxies or alternatives are currently being accepted for ICT/Digital Literacy.


An updated version of the SASW and guidance documents can be found here SASW Oct 2016


Please note since this involves a statutory process, proxies and alternative qualifications will only be accepted for people commencing their framework on or after the 14th October 2016. This will not apply retrospectively and anyone starting their framework prior to this date must comply with the previous SASW requirements. For further guidance on pre 14/10/16 requirements please click see the Transferable Skills (Starts up to 13th Oct 2016) document.


The Federation for Industry Skills and Standards (FISSS) have created an ACW Transferable Skills guidance document in line with these changes, and this can be accessed through the  ACW Knowledge Base .


We have also created an Acceptable Evidence guidance tool fully integrated with the ACW website, making it easier to navigate and find individual evidence examples.


Please also note that any SASW frameworks issued on or after 14th October 2016 will no longer include ERR as a compulsory element. However, some sectors may decide to retain the requirement for ERR so please check the specific framework document for further details.


The AFO online website where all SASW frameworks are held.  You can find current, archive, and legacy frameworks in the ‘Framework Library’. All current SASW frameworks will be automatically updated on the 14th of October with a new cover sheet detailing how the above changes impact on the framework document. If you are unsure about the requirements of a SASW framework please speak with the Issuing Authority contact as listed in the framework document


You can also sign up here for email notifications when a framework is issued or changed:


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

Updated ACW Guidance Document

23rd February 2016

Following on from discussions with the Welsh Government we are please to release our updated ACW Guidance Notes to version 3.  This guidance will replace the previous guidance issued in 2014, and includes information on the new Essential Skills Qualifications (ESQs).


If you require any further information please contact the support team.