Planning for a successful gateway
Since the new apprenticeship standards were introduced, the gateway has been a mystery for many. Training providers, employers and learners alike have been imagining a metaphorical marble arch the learner can only pass through when all three parties chant a magic spell in unison. Well, it doesn’t work like that.
So what exactly is the gateway?
The gateway is a period of time between when an agreement is made by the learner, employer and training provider that the learner is ready to take their EPA (end-point assessment), and the learner actually taking it. Depending on the assessment methods and EPAO availability, the gateway can be between a week or even a few months long – so it needs to be carefully planned for.
How to make the gateway successful:
1. Start at the end
Plan the end-point assessment into your apprenticeship curriculum and make sure you have enough time for gateway. Look at the assessment plan to see which methods are used and if they’ll take time to complete – like the portfolio showcase or a practical observation. Then get in touch with your EPAO to find out how long they recommend for preparation, waiting and marking.
2. Go back to the beginning
Apprentices may be assessed against any part of the standard in their EPA, so give them time to recap the all the KSBs during the gateway. For example, engineering apprentices may cover health and safety at the beginning as they’re working on site – they tick the box and never come back to it on programme. This means the apprentice could forget the exact knowledge covered in the standard and fail the EPA on a simple question. Give them time to cover all bases.
3. Introduce different tutors
In the EPA, apprentices will be assessed by a person they’ve never met, which could make them more nervous. Use the gateway to practice mock assessments with a different tutor – especially if their assessment methods include professional discussions or practical observations.
4. Use the assessment plan
Refer back to the assessment plan and share it with all the delivery staff – the tutors on the ground, not just the people at the top. Make sure learners understand it too – it'll help them understand what’s expected of them in the EPA and help them prepare for gateway. Ofsted will ask apprentices if they’ve seen the plan and if they know what their EPA consists of, so it’s necessary for quality too. It’s your assessment bible, so use it!
5. Pay attention to GDPR
Make sure there are no breaches of GDPR in the learner’s portfolio – things like personal patient information, bank details and confidential company information. If the EPAO find personal details in their portfolio showcase or during other assessment methods, they’re likely to fail the apprentice automatically.
6. English and maths
Apprentices must complete their Functional Skills in English and maths before they enter into the gateway, so make sure they have enough time. This is especially important with the new Functional Skills reforms – new content and new assessments may take longer to complete.
7. Stick to the timeframe
Learning must take place within on-programme timeframe. Apprentices can’t take their EPA early like with the old frameworks, and they can’t get extensions either.
When it comes to the gateway, there are quite a few things to remember throughout the programme – from initial assessment to curriculum planning to GDPR. That’s why we’ve created a handy checklist to help you prepare your apprentices for gateway.