What’s the employer’s role in end-point assessments?
Put simply, the employer’s role is huge.
Employers are involved in every stage of apprenticeships. They set the standards, fund the training, employ the apprentice and decide when they're ready to take the end-point assessment (EPA). But it’s the last point that many employers are nervous about: the EPA.
Most employers have never gone through end-point assessment before – even if they’ve had experience with apprenticeships. So now that employers are involved, what do they need to know about the EPA? First, let’s get back to basics:
What is end-point assessment?
The EPA is an assessment taken at the end of the apprenticeship. It tests that an apprentice has developed all the knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) in the standards and can do their job effectively.
The EPA isn’t carried out by the employer. Instead, an independent end-point assessment organisation (EPAO) – someone with no affiliation to the employer or training provider – will assess the apprentice.
Designing the standards
Employers are involved in end-point assessment from the very beginning – designing the apprenticeship standard. The groups of employers involved in designing the standard decide what needs to be tested, how it’s tested, and how apprentices are graded. Even at this early stage, the employers’ role is fundamental to the EPA.
The EPA can come in a range of forms – like professional discussions, portfolio reviews or practical tests. Employers need to work with their training provider to prepare learners, so they know what to expect come the EPA.
Employers are a crucial part of gateway. Gateway is simply a discussion between the employer, training provider and learner to decide if the learner is ready to take the EPA. All 3 parties must agree that the learner has developed the KSBs to sit the EPA. As the employer spends time mentoring, managing and monitoring their learner’s progress, they play a major role in the gateway decision.
Paying for the EPA
It’s important that the learner is 100% ready to sit the EPA – as if they fail, the employer has to pay for resits.
The cost of the initial EPA is included in the apprenticeship price, but any resits are paid by the employer. Employers can’t use their apprenticeship levy or co-investment funds for resits, the payments must come out of their pocket.
Getting a good grade in the EPA is the cherry on top for apprentices. And for employers, it provides validation of their apprentice’s achievements. To make sure your apprentices is ready to take the EPA – and avoid those pesky resit fines – download our handy checklist.
Or to find out more about the EPA, download our employers’ guide to end-point assessment. It covers everything you need to know about the EPA – from apprenticeship agreements to assessment methods.