All 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
2.Part of the programme
Some of greatest ideas of all time have been the simplest and as is often true, your customers can be the best source of insights and new ideas.
Not long into my role at NCFE Apprenticeship Services, I met with a training provider and a room full of the employers that they worked with. We took them through an overview of how we do End-Point Assessment (EPA), including; the Gateway process, the assessment methodologies, the practicalities, and our experience of managing the requisite logistics. Towards the end of the session, one of the employers popped their hand up and said;
‘So, am I right in thinking that the EPA should just feel like another module? I understand that you are independent and objective, but essentially it sounds like you’re delivering the last part of the programme. And we’ll continue to support our apprentices, as you (the EPAO) deliver the last module. Is that right?’
To which I replied;
‘Erm, yes. When you put it like that, I suppose it is.’
There are of course some important compliance complexities underneath this simplified view of EPA, but in the minds of the apprentice, the employer AND the training provider, thinking of EPA as ‘just another module’, can be incredibly helpful. Helpful to highlight the importance of all parties working together to deliver a coherent programme that puts the apprentice at ease and gives them what they need to succeed, from beginning to end.
From providing suitable venues and settings, to making sure that line managers of apprentices are briefed and bought-in, to offering that last minute encouragement, advice and support, the ongoing role of employers and training providers during EPA is vital. Good EPA Organisations will work with you to ensure that roles, responsibilities and expectations are understood and fulfilled. Great EPA delivery will feel like a valuable extension of your programme.