I have received a number of enquiries recently from small sector specialist organisations interested in becoming end-point assessment organisations (EpAO). This is fantastic news for the sector, demonstrating continued growth and awareness of Standards and end-point assessment, alongside the opportunity for the emergence of real sector specialisms in assessment, adding rigour and robustness to the assessment process, to create safe and competent workers.
When it is an organisation new to end-point assessment, I email them the key reference documents to read, and then hold a workshop, if required, on Standards, End-point Assessment, and the stages and key considerations to becoming and EpAO. What I have learnt from my experience to date is that, despite there being information available online, many people remain confused and/or nervous about EPA and applying to become an EpAO. So, to try and help reduce the confusion, here is a summary of some of the key documents to read, actions to take, and considerations to take on board when you are interested in applying to become an end-point assessment organisation. This is not an exhaustive list, but it will help get you started:
Identify which apprenticeship standards you are interested in – details of the standards, their funding bands, their EQA organisation, and the anticipated apprentice volumes are all publicly available via the .gov (ESFA) and IfA websites.
- Download and read the introductory document produced by the ESFA.
- Download and read the application guidance produced by the ESFA.
- Download and read the ESFA Conditions for end-point assessment organisations.
- Download and read the Apprenticeship/EPA sections of the Funding Rules.
- Download and read the apprenticeship Standard and its associated Assessment plan.
Register on the Bravo solution tendering portal
- Consider your audience/market – you cannot assess those you have trained.
- Consider the size of the market – End-point Assessment is a commercial and competitive environment, you will need to understand the size of the market (likely apprentice volumes are shown on the Standard, accessible via the IfA website), and your competitors (shown on the register of EpAOs).
- Check who the EQA organisation is – if it is Ofqual you must meet Ofquals conditions of recognition before you can apply to be an EpAO (shown on the list of standards downloadable from the .gov website).
- Consider your area of expertise – your organisation must prove to have occupational competence in the apprenticeship you are applying to assess. This includes access to occupationally competent assessors.
- Check your financial and legal status - Download and Read the financial health self-assessment guidance.
- Consider the upfront investment – you will need to design EPA tools, processes and policies, and identify, recruit and train assessors, in advance of delivery, which means upfront investment.
- Consider timeframes – your organisation must be ready to deliver within 6-9 months (depending on the apprenticeship) of your approval on the register.
If you would like to find out more, please do not hesitate to contact Jacqui.
I am able to offer Business Planning days to determine priorities, actions & next steps. I can also offer workshops on the rules/regulations/conditions, support for the production of applications to the register of end-point assessment organisations, and/or bespoke consultancy on specific elements of end-point assessment
This article was written by Jacqui Molkenthin; check out her profile on our expertspage.