An apprenticeship is a job with training. It enables someone to develop and demonstrate the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to perform effectively in a particular occupation. This is defined in the apprenticeship standard (scroll down the page for more information about standards).
Apprentices are aged 16 or over and will have a contract of employment. They will be employees of the company which takes them on. They must be paid at least the appropriate rate of the minimum wage for the duration of their apprenticeship, although many employers pay more.
Apprenticeship programmes must last a minimum of 12 months, with 20% of the time as structured off-the-job training (for example one day per week at a college - known as on-programme training). The apprentice must be knowledgeable and competent in their occupation before end-point assessment (EPA) takes place.
Information and guidance from the Education and Training Foundation is available:
Apprenticeships are developed by trailblazer groups. These are groups which:
Each apprenticeship training programme will have an apprenticeship standard, produced by the trailblazer group for the particular occupation. The standard will be used by the person training the apprentice on behalf of an organisation which is on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers to ensure all aspects are met.
The standard should not be treated like a list which is ticked off when the apprentice has achieved something. This is often referred to as the tick box culture, i.e. ticking things off and then moving on to something else. Whilst the apprentice might feel they have achieved something, they might not be able to competently do it again in a month’s time, or when they will be formally assessed (by end-point assessment) at the end of their training programme. The apprentice will need to demonstrate their competence over time, not just on one occasion.
You can view various apprenticeship standards here.
In England, the term assessment plan for an apprenticeship programme is not the same as an assessment plan for a learner working towards a qualification. An apprenticeship assessment plan outlines the way in which the full programme will be delivered, assessed and quality assured for a particular occupation. It might or might not also include a relevant qualification. If it does, the normal qualification requirements of formative and summative assessment will apply.
Whilst the nature and methods of assessment will differ between occupations and job roles, all assessment plans will focus on the end-point assessment process.
The assessment plan will set out measures for internal quality assurance which each end-point assessment organisation (EPAO) will need to undertake to ensure quality and consistency. This may include assessor experience and qualifications, training, standardisation and observations.
External quality assurance will also take place from one of the following:
• professional body
• Institute for Apprenticeships
You can view various assessment plans by clicking on the relevant standard at this link.
End-point assessment (EPA) is carried out at the end of an apprentice's training programme. It is performed by someone other than the person who has been involved with training the apprentice. It often takes place at an end-point assessment organisation (EPAO) and away from the usual apprentice's work place.
If you are the apprentice’s trainer, you will need to prepare your apprentice for end-point assessment and will need to see the assessment plan (see section above) to find out what’s involved. For example, ensuring your apprentice knows how to take part in a professional discussion, prepare for a test or give a presentation. Your training organisation will need to liaise with the apprentice's employer and the end-point assessment organisation to arrange assessment. You will need to know when your apprentice is ready to progress to the end-point assessment process. This is known as the 'gateway'. Formative assessment should take place throughout the training period, to ensure the apprentice is progressing. All training organisations must be on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers.
Most apprenticeship programmes are graded pass, merit, distinction or not yet achieved (NYA) and the apprentice must pass the end-point assessment to achieve their apprenticeship. It might be possible for them to re-take an assessment if they fail.
If the apprentice is also working towards a qualification, it’s probable you will be able to train as well as assess, providing you meet the requirements of the qualification’s assessment strategy. This can be found in the relevant awarding organisation's qualification specification for the occupational area. However, you will only be assessing towards the qualification, not the apprenticeship programme.
End-point assessment occurs at the end of the apprentice's training programme and is based on the content of the assessment plan, which will:
If you are an end-point assessor, your role will NOT include training your apprentices towards the aspects which you will assess. You will therefore be working for an end-point apprenticeship assessment organisation (EPAO) and you should never have met the apprentice prior to assessing them.
The qualifications an end-point assessor will need to have will depend upon the requirements outlined in the specific occupational standard and assessment plan.