With the twelve-month anniversary of the Apprenticeship reforms looming large on the horizon, the question of end-point assessment (EPA) is on everyone’s lips – Exactly how will they work? And will the end point assessment organisations be able to cope with the number of learners that are coming down the line?
Apprenticeship end-point assessment is here with the first digital Standards completer, Alex Burns of 3aaa Apprenticeships having completed with a Distinction in August last year, which is a big gear shift from the continuous assessment of a framework-based apprenticeship.
The rigour and impact of end-point assessment is now starting to feature on everyone’s radar; training providers, employer’s and EPA organisations alike with the first significant numbers of learners start to approach the Gateway.
Adapt and Survive
Training providers are adapting from the focus being on training and the assembly of the portfolio and its continuous assessment, to the apprentice’s success in passing through the new Gateway, and ultimately on their preparation for end-point assessment – which is a key focus for employers too.
Employers are now more involved with their Apprentices final assessment as they are asked to contribute an employer reference which is included as part of the end-point assessment. Employers are also concerned that there will be a delay between their learners going through the Gateway and being assessed by the EPA organisation, dragging out the process for the apprentice and the employer.
End-point assessment organisations are also feeling the strain but as John Pritchard, Head of Apprenticeships at BCS discussed recently at the 3aaa Apprenticeships Levy Conference, they have plans in place to combat this.
Watch what John had to say about BCSs approach to EPA:
One of the biggest issues BCS has at the moment is the lack of assessors. John quotes 20,000-25,000 learners who are currently on Digital standards which will all need to go through the Gateway and onto EPA in due course. John estimates this demand means BCS require circa 200 independent assessors of which there are currently only 18 assessors.
“The learner is at the heart of everything we do.”
The biggest problem the BCS is having when looking for assessors is finding people who have the correct balance of up to date technical skills and knowledge alongside the time, skills and inclination to become an assessor.
With the contracting of EPA organisation due to change in April seeing the employer able to negotiate directly with the EPA organisations the cost of their EPA, there are still further changes for employers, training providers and EPA organisations to navigate their way through. BCS are currently working with five large IT companies to prepare for the changes to make the contracting process as easy as possible for employers.
If you would like any further information about EPA for any of 3aaa Apprenticeship programmes, contact Lee Marples on firstname.lastname@example.org