Making and repairing saddlery products.
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This occupation is found in the fashion & textiles sector, an integral part of the equine industry and is fundamental in the saddlery trade. There are 27 million people in Britain with an interest in the equestrian industry.
Bespoke saddlers supply saddlery products for many professional equestrian sports such as horseracing, eventing, dressage and show jumping but also cater for the amateur rider.
Investing in a bespoke saddlery product could serve both horse and rider for many years if regularly maintained and cared for.
Most bespoke saddlers also offer a repair and restoration service as well as having an appreciation of the saddlery fitting process. The ability to assess the condition of leather is very important from a strength and durability perspective, if leather has been well cared for it is a very sustainable material that can last a very long time.
Finished saddlery products are key to equine welfare and must meet health and safety requirements as well as fitting both rider and horse comfortably.
Most employers are based in a rural setting and classified as micro-businesses.
The broad purpose of the occupation is to produce a range of hand-crafted saddlery products such as saddles, bridles or harnesses from leather to specific measurements for both horse and rider. Additional fittings and materials can be used also.
Preparatory duties include confirming customer order requirements to produce a bespoke specification to then produce a standard or bespoke product that is cut and made to a unique pattern or measurement for a horse. The skills involved in producing saddlery products cover a wide area of expertise that includes craft, technical, creative and design.
Bespoke saddlers implement a variety of hand craft practical skills in the manufacture of saddlery products including measuring, pattern construction, cutting, hand and machine stitching and finishing. Based in a workshop, bespoke saddlers may have to sit or stand for long periods of time at a bench whilst working.
A typical working week is around 37 hours a week, from Monday to Friday but could occasionally include work overtime, which could include weekends.
In their daily work, an employee in this occupation interacts with other work colleagues, customers and end-users. The level of interaction and responsibilities with external organisations would be dependent on whether the bespoke saddler is self-employed or an employee of a company.
In most cases, they will work independently and will be responsible for attaining orders and may also come into contact with external suppliers of leather, fittings, materials and other accessories.
An employee in this occupation will be responsible for carrying out hand craft practical skills in order to produce saddlery products that fit precisely to a customer’s requirements. These skills are fundamental to the bespoke saddlery industry and ultimately have to be employed with great precision, to high standards of excellence and within realistic time constraints and are central to the efficiency and effectiveness of manufacture.
As an example, once the leather has been selected, little can be done to rectify mistakes and such errors will lead to problems at the assembly stage. Minimising loss of time and waste is key and contributes towards sustainability. All work must be completed in line with health, safety and environmental regulations and follow workplace safety rules in the workshop at all times.
A bespoke saddler may work alone self-employed or more occasionally work in a larger workshop where the different stages are shared between several saddlers.
This summary page outlines the information that you and your employer need to know about your end-point assessment (EPA). You and your employer should also read the end-point assessment plan for the full details including roles and responsibilities, assessment method requirements and re-sits and re-takes.
An EPA is an assessment at the end of the apprenticeship. It assesses your competence against the knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) on the occupational standard. You will have been trained on them during your training, both on and off the job. The EPA is your chance to show an independent assessor you can do the occupation you have been trained for. Your employer will only recommend you start the EPA when you have finished your training and both your employer and you think you are ready. Your employer will choose an end-point assessment organisation (EPAO) to deliver the EPA. Your employer and training provider should provide you with support on what to expect and how to prepare for your EPA.
The grades available for this apprenticeship are:
At the end of the apprenticeship, and having passed the EPA, you will be awarded with your apprenticeship certificate.
The gateway is the point when all on-programme training and any mandatory qualification requirements have been met. When you have completed your training and your employer says you are competent in your occupation, you enter the gateway. The EPAO will check any mandatory qualifications are complete. They will tell you how to submit any necessary documents (for example, a portfolio). After the EPAO confirms that you have met all the requirements, the EPA starts.
When you reach the gateway, you need to complete the following:
Have passed English and maths at level 2.
1For those with an education, health and care plan or a legacy statement, the apprenticeship’s English and mathematics minimum requirement is Entry Level 3. British Sign Language (BSL) qualifications are an alternative to English qualifications for those who have BSL as their primary language.
Portfolio of evidence requirements: Apprentices must compile a portfolio of evidence during the on-programme period of the apprenticeship. It should contain evidence related to the KSBs that will be assessed by this assessment method. The portfolio of evidence will typically contain 20 discrete pieces of evidence (must contain a finished Saddle and Bridle). Evidence should be mapped against the KSBs. Evidence may be used to demonstrate more than one KSB; a qualitative as opposed to quantitative approach is suggested. Evidence sources may include: This is not a definitive list; other evidence sources can be included. The portfolio should not include reflective accounts or any methods of self-assessment. Any employer contributions should focus on direct observation of performance (for example witness statements) rather than opinions. The evidence provided should be valid and attributable to the apprentice; the portfolio of evidence should contain a statement from the employer and apprentice confirming this. The EPAO should not assess the portfolio of evidence directly as it underpins the discussion. Independent assessors should review the portfolio of evidence to prepare questions for the discussion assessment method. They are not required to provide feedback after this review.
For the professional discussion you must submit: portfolio of evidence
Portfolio of evidence requirements:
Apprentices must compile a portfolio of evidence during the on-programme period of the apprenticeship. It should contain evidence related to the KSBs that will be assessed by this assessment method. The portfolio of evidence will typically contain 20 discrete pieces of evidence (must contain a finished Saddle and Bridle). Evidence should be mapped against the KSBs.
Evidence may be used to demonstrate more than one KSB; a qualitative as opposed to quantitative approach is suggested. Evidence sources may include:
This is not a definitive list; other evidence sources can be included.
The portfolio should not include reflective accounts or any methods of self-assessment. Any employer contributions should focus on direct observation of performance (for example witness statements) rather than opinions. The evidence provided should be valid and attributable to the apprentice; the portfolio of evidence should contain a statement from the employer and apprentice confirming this.
The EPAO should not assess the portfolio of evidence directly as it underpins the discussion. Independent assessors should review the portfolio of evidence to prepare questions for the discussion assessment method. They are not required to provide feedback after this review.
Passed any other mandated qualifications listed in the occupational standard. For the bespoke saddler,
The qualification(s) required are:
City & Guilds Level 3 Diploma in Saddlery (Saddle and Bridle pathways)
Test / examination: you will be asked to complete a test that will have short written answers. The EPAO will let you know if this is at an assessment centre or if it can be completed remotely. The test will be closed book so you will not be able to have any books or reference materials. The test will have 20 questions. You will have 75 minutes to complete the test. You will get at least 2 weeks notice of the test.
Practical assessment: you will be observed by the independent assessor completing a task or set of tasks that they give you. These tasks will be similar to your normal work. All equipment and information will be provided, and you will be told where this will take place. The practical assessment will last 4. You will be asked a minimum of 5 questions by the independent assessor about the task(s). You will get at least 2 weeks notice of practical assessment.
Discussion: you will meet with the independent assessor in a quiet place that is free from distractions and be asked questions. The professional discussion will last 60 and the independent assessor will ask a minimum of 15 questions to find out how well you can do your job. You need to compile a portfolio of evidence during the apprenticeship. Your training provider and employer should discuss this with you. You can use your portfolio of evidence to help you answer questions in the .This method may take place remotely, though the EPAO will confirm the details. You will be given at least 2 weeks notice of the professional discussion.
If you have a query that relates to your job, then please speak to your employer. You should speak to your training provider if you have any other questions about the apprenticeship including the end-point assessment. You should get detailed support from the EPAO before the EPA begins. Your employer and training provide should talk to you when they think you are ready to take the EPA. The EPA is for you to show how good you are at your job. You should speak to your training provider about what to expect in the EPA and how to prepare. You should speak to the EPAO if your EPA has already started, and you have a query.
If you have a disability, a physical or mental health condition or other special considerations, you may be able to have a reasonable adjustment that takes this into account. You should speak to your employer, training provider and EPAO and ask them what support you can get. The EPAO will decide if an adjustment is appropriate.
This apprenticeship aligns with The Society of Master Saddlers (SMS) for Intermediate Saddler. The experience gained and responsibility held by the apprentice on completion of the apprenticeship will either wholly or partially satisfy the requirements for registration at this level.
Please contact the relevant professional body for more details.