If you are involved in an apprenticeship scheme, you will be aware of the need for trainees to take an End Point Assessment (EPA) to test their skills and knowledge. The nature of the assessment will depend on what type apprenticeship it is, but there are some basic principles which are useful to bear in mind when making preparations.
The government Apprenticeships website explains that the assessments are designed in consultation with the relevant employers in the sector, and to ensure impartiality, they are carried out by independent bodies known as end-point assessment organisations (EPAOs).
The EPAO is selected by the employer or through the training provider early in the apprenticeship. To help the apprentice successfully complete the EPA, there are a number of steps that the training provider or employer should take.
The apprentice may need to take preliminary qualifications in maths and English, so it is important that they are aware of this and given time to prepare. The structure of the assessment should be discussed with the apprentice during review meetings, so that they know what is expected of them, and there are no surprises further down the line.
It is in the employers’ interest to help prepare the apprentice as thoroughly as possible, because if they fail, a resit will need to be paid for. The EPA could involve tests, a portfolio, or formal examinations. The apprentice’s progress should be reviewed regularly, to make sure they are learning the right skills, and to identify any areas for improvement.
It is important to study the EPAO guidance for the apprenticeship. This will set out exactly what work is needed to be completed; for example, a practical assessment, an interview, a project, a written or multiple-choice test, or a presentation. The training provider may develop mock assessments and provide study leave for the apprentice.
If the apprentice requires any reasonable adjustments during the assessment to help them perform on a level playing field, these should be arranged in advance. After the apprentice has completed the agreed training period, they will enter a gateway period, which his designed for the training provider to see if the individual is ready for the EPA.
Once the training provider has agreed that the apprentice is fully ready and prepared for the assessment, and has completed all required qualifications and regulatory requirements, the logistical arrangements for the assessment should be agreed with all parties. This will include the dates, time, location, and venue, plus any reasonable adjustments.
Follow up the EPA with a discussion as to how the apprentice got on, and provide any support that is needed. If they were successful, they will receive a certificate through the EPAO. The next steps of the candidate’s career can then be discussed with the employer.
Should the DPA result in failure, there will be an opportunity for a resit or one of more of the components. If this is the case, feedback should be taken into account to identify what went wrong. The apprentice should then have the opportunity to re-sit in six month’s time.
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