End Point Assessments are a key element of Apprenticeship Standards and test the knowledge, skills and behaviours your apprentice has developed over the duration of their programme. Apprentices are assessed against the standard at the end of their programme by an approved End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO), receiving a grade reflecting their competence and knowledge developed throughout the duration of the Apprenticeship.
Unlike previous ‘Frameworks’ where the apprentice is assessed continually throughout their apprenticeship, the focus is on the accumulation of these skills and knowledge and the overall outcome of the journey. Learn more about the differences between ‘Frameworks’ and ‘Apprenticeship Standards’.
What is My Responsibility?
Only approved End Point Assessment Organisations (EPAO’s) can carry out End Point Assessments and with support from your training provider, you will need to find a suitable organisation to do so. In addition to this, your responsibility as an employer is to track the progress of your apprentice and ensure they are prepared for the EPA.
This can be achieved by holding regular reviews with the apprentice with input from the training provider, helping to identify strengths and areas of weakness. It is also recommended to engage with the chosen EPAO as early into the apprenticeship programme as possible to keep up to date with any changes or developments to the assessment plan.
Agreeing on a date for the End Point Assessment at least three months in advance will also allow the apprentice time to suitably prepare. This amount of time is necessary in order to give them a solid goal to work toward, rather than having the date set as some nebulous point in the future. It allows the apprentice to better focus their efforts on learning exactly what they need to in order to take the next steps in their career.
It can be helpful to give an incentive to the apprentice to do well in the assessment. Being able to tell them that there is a job awaiting them with your company if they can pass at merit or distinction level. This will give them something concrete to work toward and a tangible goal to hit. It will also show them that they have been a valued member of your team and that you don’t want to lose them.
Being able to motivate an apprentice in this way is a sign of a good management style and you will gain an employee who is motivated to repay your faith in their abilities. Everyone wins in this scenario as you also gain someone who can help to plug any skills gaps that your company is experiencing.
How Much Does the End Point Assessment Cost?
The cost of the EPA will be negotiated between you as the employer and the training provider but cannot exceed more than 20% of the overall funding band for the apprenticeship standard. The cost for re-sitting any part of the EPA lies with the employer, therefore it is vital the apprentice is provided with as much support as possible before taking the assessment.
What is the End Point Assessment Process?
Every apprentice must go through the same process when taking their End Point Assessment:
Before an End Point Assessment can take place, the apprentice must pass through the Gateway. This is a review of the learner’s progress and development and a check to see if they have met the minimum requirements of the apprenticeship standard, e.g. English and maths at level 2. Although you as the employer hold the final say, it is crucial all parties including the apprentice and the training provider, collectively agree the learner is ready for the assessment.
Each apprenticeship standard will have its own set of minimum requirements, and information on these requirements can be found on the Institute for Apprenticeships website.
End Point Assessment
The assessment itself will usually be booked and confirmed by the training provider, on a date suitable for everyone involved. It can be undertaken in the workplace or any other appropriate environment, with some EPAs now being able to be taken remotely from the apprentice’s home due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Training Providers will be able to work with the learner to provide support in preparing the learner for the assessment, which typically will involve an exam, interview and a presentation. The apprentice must be assessed by a minimum of 2 different assessment methods most relevant to the job.
End Point Assessment Organisations (EPAOs) are different from the training providers, as the training providers will have built up a relationship with the apprentice over the duration of their apprenticeship. It is to avoid the appearance of bias and to reinforce that any apprenticeship that is achieved has been worked for and qualified for on a fair basis. It is a further way of solidifying and strengthening the reputation of the apprenticeship standard system.
After completing the End Point Assessment, the apprentice will be graded either pass, merit or distinction. Grading boundaries and descriptions are found in the Standard’s assessment plan.
The EPAO will request a certificate on the apprentice’s behalf which is usually received within ten working days. If the grade produced is a fail, the apprentice will have the opportunity to re-sit the EPA or in some cases, on some apprenticeship standards, they will be able to retake individual elements of the assessment.
As the employer has the responsibility to fund any re-sit costs, it is important to carefully consider if the apprentice is fully capable and has a complete understanding of the requirements before allowing them to pass through the Gateway.
If the apprentice has to re-sit the End Point Assessment, this is a cost that will be borne by your company, so it makes sense to be sure that they are ready to complete the challenge ahead at the first time of asking. It is well worth devoting time and resources to helping them to prepare and to ensure that they are at the point in their learning that they should be, ahead of time.