Apprenticeships have changed! Previously apprentices had to complete a framework of qualifications; usually a professional qualification related to their work and English and maths qualifications if they had not already achieved them. Apprenticeships are now moving to standards. The new apprenticeship standards are set by employers so they are occupationally focused and do not necessarily include qualifications. The learning happens throughout the apprenticeship, however, it is tested at the end of the apprenticeship – this is called ‘End Point Assessment’ or EPA.
Another major difference is the new apprenticeship standards are graded so successful apprentices can achieve pass, merit or distinction (or fail).
The government has set a target of 3 million apprenticeships by 2020, this means there will be a huge demand of End Point Assessors. Many Independent End Point Assessors are freelance and are paid attractive daily rates.
What is an Independent End Point Assessor?
End Point Assessments must be completed by an Independent End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO). This means that the apprentice will have an independent assessor, who has had no previous contact with them, assessing them at the end of their apprenticeship.
Different apprenticeship standards have different methods of assessing the knowledge and skills of apprentices, but these can include observation of practice, professional discussion, tests, witness statements and portfolios of evidence.
What does an End Point Assessor do?
The Independent End Point Assessor is employed or contracted by an End Point Assessment Organisation. The EPAO will allocate apprentices to independently assess and the Independent End Point Assessor will arrange to carry out the apprentice’s End Point Assessment; this is usually at the apprentice’s place of work or it could be carried out remotely.
Every single apprenticeship standard has an Assessment Plan. This clearly explains what assessments the Independent End-Point Assessor has to complete with the apprentice. So, it is not the responsibility of the Independent End-Point Assessor to create the assessment plan themselves.
The Independent End Point Assessor will:
- Guide the apprentice through their End Point Assessment
- Make judgements about the quality of the evidence
- Collate the evidence during the End Point Assessment
- Return all documentation to the End Point Assessment Organisation for quality assurance and final certification.
What qualifications and experience do I need?
Independent End Point Assessors must have an understanding of the sector that they are assessing as well as an understanding of the apprenticeship standard. They must be occupationally competent and have relevant and up to date Continuous Professional Development (CPD). The Independent End Point Assessor must be independent and have no previous relationship with the apprentice. Independent End Point Assessors must be able and willing to work independently and have excellent written and verbal communication skills.
Some End Point Assessment Organisations are advertising for Independent Assessors to hold or be working towards Highfield Level 3 Award in Undertaking End Point Assessment. Currently, this is not a mandatory qualification but gaining it may make your application stand out!
This qualification will enable you to apply new EPA methodologies while making the distinction between end-point and ongoing assessment. It covers learning outcomes and assessment criteria that focus on EPA grading and quality assurance processes.
This course will also help you if you work for an organisation that delivers the new apprenticeship standards as it will enhance your understanding of the EPA process and help you prepare your apprentices for their EPAs.
For further information on how to become an End Point Assessor and how to get qualified:
call 07102 770030