As the economy slowly returns to normal after disruption from COVID-19, now it’s the perfect time to hire or upskill current employees using an Apprenticeship program. The Government has recently extended Apprenticeship incentives which means your organisation can get up to £3000 for hiring a new apprentice until January 2022. Find out more about recruiting apprentices here or read along for more information about the End-Point Assessment.
What is an End-Point Assessment?
End-point assessment (EPA) is an examination of the knowledge, skills and behaviours that the apprentice has learned throughout an apprenticeship and it confirms that they are occupationally competent. An apprentice must pass all the elements of their EPA and required functional standards in English and maths in order to receive their apprenticeship certificate.
EPA is the final step of the apprenticeship and it’s conducted by the independent bodies called End-Point assessment organisations (EPAOs). You need to choose your EPAO here at the beginning of the apprenticeship and your training provider must contact them on your behalf within the first 3 months of the apprenticeship start date.
Types of End-Point Assessments
Each apprenticeship has an end-point assessment plan that outlines the most suitable methods to test against the appropriate criteria. That means an apprentice might need to complete an interview, a project, a presentation or undertake a test.
- Online tests – Although case studies and open-ended questions may be included, online tests frequently use a combination of multiple-choice questions and interactive theoretical situations. They are completed in a controlled and monitored environment. Sometimes the results are instantaneous.
- Written exams – Written tests are becoming less common, but they still exist. They frequently use open-ended or multiple-choice questions that must be completed in an invigilated environment. Employees will often take these alongside apprentices from other companies.
- Observations – The student will be shadowed and monitored for a set period as they complete various job-related assignments. This is analogous to a practical driving test, not least because the assessor will be from an outside authority.
- Portfolio assessments – Employees may be required to keep a logbook or create another type of portfolio to record their new skill developments and technical understandings of the job and certification and assignments related to the training strategy’s objectives.
- Project submissions – Like the portfolio, this EPA requires submitting a project, which is then graded as a standalone assessment, or alongside interviews. The project could be a written or practical assignment that relates to the business itself.
- Practical demonstrations – In this type of assessment, knowledge and behaviours are examined within a practical skills facility. Within the assessment centre, this could be a simulated work environment. Following the practical demonstration, discussions may be held to highlight competence.
- Presentations – The employee will be required to give a presentation to an independent assessor to demonstrate a thorough understanding of the apprenticeship content and its relevance to a career in the field. Even when multiple employees take on this apprenticeship, presentations are solo endeavours.
- Discussion projects – Whether it’s a one-on-one interview or a two-way discussion, apprenticeships must demonstrate to an independent assessor that they have theoretical, technical, and practical understandings to meet the EPA’s objectives.
Ultimately, it is up to the employer to determine when an employee has gained the confidence and capabilities to meet the proposed EPA criteria for certification – in whatever field or discipline it may cover.
As an employer, you must support your apprentice through mentoring, work shadowing, hands-on experience, developing them as an employee, and guiding them as they work and learn. This will take time and perseverance.
Purple Beard Training is a government-approved training provider that collaborates with the Crown Commercial Services and other government frameworks across the UK. We are on several frameworks that allow us to work with the public sector, and we work with both levy and non-levy employers.
Purple Beard Training is an excellent apprenticeship training provider for IT solutions companies, FinTech companies, SMEs, organisations looking to scale, public sector organisations such as the NHS, HMRC, police, schools, housing associations, charities, and so on. This is because we take the time to understand the technologies you are implementing and tailor our training to meet those needs.