NEW apprenticeships from May onwards will see many apprentices on a ‘Standard’.
The ‘Standards’ differ from the current apprenticeship ‘Frameworks’ in a number of ways. The most significant difference is the introduction of an end-point assessment.
What is an End Point Assessment (EPA)?
The EPA occurs once all of the apprentice’s learning has been completed and any qualifications within the programme have been achieved. It also follows an agreement by the employer, apprentice and training provider that they jointly believe the apprentice is ‘ready’ for their End Point Assessment.
Each apprenticeship standard will have a specially-designed End Point Assessment. It could include anything such as:
* An exam.
* A panel interview.
* A specific work place project.
* A formal presentation.
* A portfolio of evidence.
The above could be singular or in combination with each other.
For example, an apprentice may need to sit an exam, undertake a project and attend an expert panel ‘viva’ in order to pass the EPA.
Who delivers the EPA?
An independent third party will be responsible for the End Point Assessment. It is they who will determine if the EPA has been completed.
If it is completed successfully then the apprenticeship certificate will be issued.
However, if it is not completed then the apprentice has the option to retake it. Your training provider can advise on the most appropriate third party to use.
Think of it like learning to drive.
Learning to drive is a good analogy
1. The driving lessons constitute the learning programme.
2. The theory test constitutes a milestone, showing progress and readiness.
3. The instructor assesses on an ongoing basis the student’s increasing skills.
4. The practical test is the final assessment of competence and qualification as a driver.
As with a really good driving instructor, an excellent training provider will deliver such thorough and comprehensive training that the EPA (driving test) is a mere formality. A weaker provider will focus on ‘getting the student through the test’, with little or no thought as to why.
As you enrol or progress apprentices you may discover that they are on an Apprentice Standard.
Your training provider will take you through the process so that you can share in the decision about how and when the EPA is taken.
This is just one way in which employers have more control over their apprenticeship programme.