1. Insights into the world of End-Point Assessment

It’s nearly a year now since we undertook our first eagerly awaited End-Point Assessment (EPA) at NCFE Apprenticeship Services. Since then, we’ve developed some fantastic insight into what it takes for apprentices to be successful at EPA. During National Apprenticeship Week, I’ll be sharing key insights from my experience of leading EPA during this time. Through sharing these insights with our current and future customers, we hope to play our role in enhancing of the value and integrity of Apprenticeships - something that we care about very much

1. Begin with the end (point assessment) in mind

Words and an idea made prominent in the contemporary business world by Stephen Covey, although admittedly, he wasn’t referring to end-point assessment at the time! Covey was encouraging his readers to look back at their life from an imaginary future death bed and to use this most poignant of perspectives to identify what is important to them. Then, to use this perspective to inform their current self how best to live through good behaviours and to achieve success and fulfilment in life. Applied to Apprenticeships, i.e. the Standard and the Assessment Plan, the principles hold true. Understanding what is truly important at the ‘end’, should inform every step of the Apprenticeship journey.

Whilst most training providers and some employers have endeavoured to understand exactly what the ‘end’ of an Apprenticeship really entails, on occasions this understanding has been incomplete. On odd occasions the Apprenticeship Standard and Assessment Plan has not been understood at all, until it’s too late. This creates a huge challenge for apprentices to showcase the best of their ability at End-Point Assessment (EPA).

To give apprentices the best possible chance of success, it’s crucial that training providers, employers and apprentices have a comprehensive understanding of what the EPA ‘looks like’. And whilst EPA Organisations (EPAOs) cannot teach providers, or apprentices how to ‘pass the test’, it is a core part of their role to provide all of the relevant information to inform programme design and delivery from the very beginning. In such a new and rapidly changing environment, the challenge of keeping knowledge up to date and accurate cannot be underestimated. Regular refreshes are key and as experts in the ‘end’, NCFE can provide information and support that can make all of the difference.

It will be heartening to know that the best EPAOs will care about the success of your apprentices as much as you do, whilst maintaining their impartiality, objectivity and the integrity of EPA. At NCFE Apprenticeship Services we believe that training providers and employers must work together with EPAOs as trusted partners, in order to realise all of the benefits of our improved Apprenticeship system.