End-point assessment, or EPA, refers to the series of independent tests an apprentice completes at the end of their apprenticeship training. EPA is one of the biggest changes to apprenticeships. It is designed to enable the apprentice to show they have developed the skills, knowledge and behaviours outlined in the apprenticeship standard. The tests are often graded, and the apprentice must achieve at least a pass in all elements to achieve their apprenticeship certificate, although re-sits are sometimes allowed.
What happens at end-point assessment?
End-point assessment is matched to the specific apprenticeship standard, and so varies between apprenticeships. The employer group which developed the apprenticeship also decide what the EPA will entail. This way they can be sure that the assessment will be fair and based on what they have learnt during their apprenticeship training. They produce an ‘assessment plan’ outlining the end-point assessment and submit it to the Institute for Apprenticeships for approval.
Although there’s no common format for EPA it’s likely that a food industry end-point assessment would involve a combination of the following:
To find out what’s involved in a specific apprenticeship see the Institute for Apprenticeships standard page. Here you can search for an apprenticeship and download the assessment plan.
The earliest an EPA can take place is 12 months after the apprenticeship began, though usually it is later than this. Once the apprentice has completed all the requirements of the apprenticeship standard they enter what is called the ‘gateway’ to end-point assessment. The gateway simply means a period of review between employer and apprentice, often involving the training provider. Providing all are satisfied that the requirements have been met the employer ‘signs off ‘ the apprentice as ready for EPA.
End-point assessment can only be delivered by independent end-point assessment organisations, approved by the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA). The ESFA hold a register of approved EPA organisations and employers are free to choose from this.
EPA is still new and employers, training providers and even EPA organisations are learning all the time. Whilst the only legal requirement is for the EPA organisation to be featured on the ESFA register it’s also important for the employer to have confidence in their organisation. This handy checklist might be useful when choosing an EPA organisation for your apprentice.
|Are their assessor’s experts in the occupation?||Yes/ No|
|Have they delivered EPA in this occupation before?||Yes/ No|
|Is their service independently quality assured?||Yes/ No|
|Do they provide support materials to help my apprentice prepare?||Yes/ No|
|Will they work with me to tailor the EPA to my business ?||Yes/ No|
|Is this an organisation I can trust?||Yes/ No|
As the methods of assessment vary, the cost of EPA varies between apprenticeships, and even within the same apprenticeships. This is because individual factors, such as the location of the EPA need to be considered. Government funding for end-point assessment is part of the overall apprenticeship funding. Twenty percent of the total government funding for an apprenticeship is held back to cover EPA, though the final cost of the EPA may be less than this.