Apprenticeships – What’s Changed?
With the advent of End Point Assessment, apprenticeships in England have changed for good.
Under the old frameworks system (many of which we helped to develop), training providers would assess an apprentice’s competency along a linear path. Yet many employers found that this system created a gap between what the apprentice should have known, as per the framework, and what they actually knew once qualified.
End Point Assessment helps to close that skills gap by placing a renewed focus on occupational competency.
From an operational perspective it may seem like very little has changed. Your apprentice comes into work and takes half a day a week for training, as before. They still complete coursework, and still find new and interesting ways to tie work projects into their education.
If you’ve managed apprentices before it all feels very familiar. Yet there’s one key part of the puzzle missing.
Introducing Your EPAO
An End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) is an approved, independent third-party that carries out End Point Assessments. These assessments determine whether your apprentice has the skills, knowledge and behaviours required by the Standard.
Without getting into the details, many training providers suggest that you have no need to engage with your EPAO until your apprentice has reached Gateway. This is the stage at which you and your training provider agree that your learner is ready for assessment.
Yet with over 155,200 learners starting apprenticeship standards over the last year alone, and with just 236 approved EPAOs available to cover every English apprenticeship, it’s easy to see how leaving everything until the last minute will create problems.
Predictably, for some businesses End Point Assessment has already caused difficulties. We’ve spoken to several employers who have seen their own EPAO unable to schedule assessors in time, leaving their learners in limbo. It’s frustrating for all involved, and leaves apprentices unable to complete their training through no fault of their own.
That’s not the way that you would want it to go.
Better Value, Greater Security
So, you need to work with an EPAO for End Point Assessment. What can you do to make the most of the relationship?
While many EPAOs will simply turn up to check that your apprentice can pass assessment, there are some solutions on the market that provide a greater degree of value and security.
Our own End Point Assessment service is one such solution. As the pan-sector skills authority we’ve supported occupational competency in the UK since 1996. This experience, alongside our intricate knowledge of apprenticeship frameworks, has helped us to create an EPA service that gives you and your training provider clear insight into your apprentice’s progression.
We are the only EPAO to offer Assessment Edge, a cutting-edge tool that enables you to track your learner’s development against the Standard. It’s a powerful piece of software that gives you full visibility of your apprentice’s development.
And that’s not all. We partner Assessment Edge with a cloud-based portal that allows your apprentice to manage their own learning. It’s a combined suite that gives you confidence in your learner’s skills and knowledge.
The sooner you use our tools, the greater the value – and not just because of the tangible performance benefits. By booking your EPAO early you can ensure that your assessors are locked in and ready to go from the moment your apprentice hits Gateway.
If you’re just starting the apprenticeship process, take the chance to make the most of the opportunity. Contact Instructus Skills today and find out how we can help.