Customer Service Specialist Level 3 – ST0071

Customer Service Specialist 

The main purpose of a customer service specialist is to be a ‘professional’ for direct customer support within all sectors and organisation types. You are an advocate of Customer Service who acts as a referral point for dealing with more complex or technical customer requests, complaints, and queries. You are often an escalation point for complicated or ongoing customer problems.

As an expert in your organisation’s products and/or services, you share knowledge with your wider team and colleagues. You gather and analyse data and customer information that influences change and improvements in service. Utilising both organisational and generic IT systems to carry out your role with an awareness of other digital technologies. This could be in many types of environments including contact centres, retail, webchat, service industry or any customer service point.

Gateway Requirements

The decision to take an apprentice through Gateway is made between the employer, training provider and apprentice.  Full-time apprentices will typically spend 15 months on-programme working towards the apprenticeship standard. The apprentice must have completed all on-programme elements before they enter Gateway, including the completion of a Portfolio of Evidence, and Level 2 in English and Maths.

End-point Assessment (EPA)

EPA consists of three discrete assessment methods. These can be delivered in any order – via remote assessment – and are weighted equally in their contribution to the overall EPA grade.

Assessment MethodTimescalesTo achieve a PassTo achieve a Distinction
Practical Observation with Q&AsWithin 3 months from the start of the EPA period.Must meet 100% of the pass criteriaMust meet all of the pass criteria AND 100% of the distinction criteria
Work-based project, supported by an interviewWBP is completed within 2 months from the start of the EPA period. The interview will take place before the end of the 3-month EPA period.Must meet 100% of the pass criteriaMust meet all of the pass criteria AND 100% of the distinction criteria
Professional discussion supported by portfolio evidenceWithin 3 months from the start of the EPA period.Must meet 100% of the pass criteriaMust meet all of the pass criteria AND 100% of the distinction criteria

Practical Observation with Q&As

The practical observation will be pre-planned and scheduled to when the apprentice will be in their normal place of work and will be carried out by the IEA over a minimum of one hour. The observation should enable the apprentice to evidence their skills, knowledge and behaviour within the standard to demonstrate genuine and demanding work objectives. The practical observation is covered in one session, lasting 60 minutes +/- 10% tolerance either way with questioning taking no longer than 15% of the total time allowed.  The observation will include open questioning to clarify knowledge and understanding are being applied. During the practical observation, the apprentice will be given the opportunity, if required, to move from one area/function of the business to another in order to best demonstrate how they have applied their KSBs in a realistic work environment to achieve genuine and demanding work objectives.

The observation can be before or after the work-based project but it is recommended not before the professional discussion.

Work-based project, supported by an interview

The project will be undertaken after Gateway over a two-month period.  The subject of the project report will be agreed upon with Skillsfirst with guidance from the employer in order to allow them to comment on appropriateness for their business.  Following the project, the apprentice will submit a written report consisting of 2500 words (+/- 10%), excluding annexes

The interview will then take place 2 weeks after the project is submitted and will consist of 10 competency-based questions, lasting for 60 minutes (+/- 10%) focusing on the written project and any supporting annexes.

Professional discussion supported by portfolio evidence

The professional discussion will last for 60 minutes (+/- 10%).  During the professional discussion, evidence from the on-programme portfolio of evidence will be used as a base to support the professional discussion. This evidence will consist of a minimum of 10 pieces of evidence to a maximum of 15 pieces and related to the standards which apply to the professional discussion.


The IEA will not provide the apprentice (or their manager) with a preliminary grade, as it will be subject to Skillsfirst internal quality assurance processes.  Skillsfirst will aim to confirm the apprentice’s final and overall grade approximately 10 working days after the last assessment.


Once moderation is complete and the apprentice has successfully completed all EPA methods, Skillsfirst will activate certification through the Apprenticeship assessment service.  Certificates will be sent directly to the employer.   

You can download a copy of the information on this page here

A link to the Customer Service Specialist standards page can be found here