How to prepare apprentices for the end-point assessment (EPA)
The EPA is one of the biggest changes to happen to apprenticeships in modern years.
Instead of being continually assessed throughout their course, apprentices must now complete a final end-point assessment (EPA) once they've completed their training. Each EPA is set out in the apprenticeship standards, and can include a variety of assessment methods – from tests and exams to a full portfolio showcase. EPAs are also graded.
Sounds pretty straightforward, right?
Well, here's where it gets a little tricky. The EPA must be delivered by an independent registered apprentice assessment organisation (RAAO), not the training provider or employer, so all parties have to work together to make sure their apprentice passes the EPA. If not, employers will have to pay for retests.
So how can you help apprentices prepare for the EPA?
1. Practice makes perfect
We all know practice makes perfect, so make sure your apprentices have plenty of experience completing a range of assessments. You can check what methods will be included in their EPA and plan their assignments around that. It's also a good idea to keep track of their progress throughout their course, so you know exactly how they're progressing.
2. Use an eportfolio
With an eportfolio, you can track your apprentices' progress online and send assignments remotely – making the whole training process incredibly easy to manage. Employers can also track their learners' progression throughout their course, ensuring they're not scheduled to sit the EPA before they're ready. With an eportfolio, you'll also have clear evidence of learning and a full audit trail available at any time.
3. Collaboration is key
The EPA really is a group effort. The employer and training provider must work together to ensure their apprentice is really to take the EPA – only then should they be put forward for the test. Using an eportfolio will really help this collaboration grow, as the employer and training provider can communicate directly with the apprentice and monitor their progress in real-time.
4. Make sure they're ready
If you monitor your apprentices' progress throughout their course, you should have a pretty good idea of when they're ready to take the EPA. When both you and the employer agree, the apprentice can enter the gateway, where they can take mock tests to see how they'd perform during the EPA.
Remember – when an apprentice gets to the gateway, they must have passed English and maths at the level set in the standard.
The EPA has completely changed how apprentices are assessed. You'll have to work closely with employers to make sure your apprentice is ready, and has all the knowledge, skills and evidence they need to pass the EPA.
To help you ensure your apprentice is ready to take the EPA, download our handy checklist.