Prepare to Achieve were delighted to provide this month’s “Expert Insight” for the Skills for Care Registered Managers bulletin. You can find our contribution below:
Sandra Evans, CEO of Prepare to Achieve, looks into End- Point Assessments, part of the Government’s apprenticeships reforms. She looks at what they are, what’s involved and how they can help registered managers and their staff.
What is End-Point Assessment (EPA)?
EPA is a key part of the Government’s apprenticeship reforms, which came into effect in April 2017.
Instead of simply completing their apprenticeship, apprentices must now go through ‘rigorous independent assessment, focused primarily on testing their competence’ at the end of their apprenticeship. This is EPA.
All staff enrolled on the new Adult Care Worker and Lead Care Worker apprenticeships will have to undertake EPA after at least 12 months of apprenticeship training.
For both adult care standards, there are two assessment methods. One is a test, with 60 questions primarily testing knowledge; the other is a professional discussion, looking more at behaviours and skills. In a key change, assessments and apprenticeships are now graded as fail, pass, merit, or distinction.
What does a registered manager have to do?
Managers have an important role to play in EPA. When the apprenticeship begins, the employer needs to say who they want to conduct EPA. The next section looks at why choosing the right EPA organisation (EPAO) is so important.
Then at the end of the apprenticeship, you are one of the three people who must judge whether the apprentice is ready for EPA, along with the training provider and the apprentice themselves.
What to look for in an EPA Organisation?
There are some key things to look out for in an EPAO. Firstly, do they know your sector? Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, look for an EPAO that understands the needs of you and your workforce. For example, are they flexible around assessment dates/times, or do they expect you to know shift patterns three months in advance?
Some EPAOs are charging registrations fees, which may be lost if the apprentice doesn’t make it to EPA. Others are charging several hundred pounds for resits or appeals. Inhibitive costs could leave you out of pocket, or end up with your apprentices not completing. That’s why at Prepare to Achieve we’ve decided not to charge any of those fees.
Finally, ask them what resources they make available. We provide employers and apprentices with ‘one page summaries’ and videos of key features of EPA, mock assessment tools, and a monthly apprentice bulletin to keep them up-to-date on the latest development in the care sector. Look for an EPAO that will go the extra mile to provide you with the EPA resources you and your apprentice need.
Benefits for registered managers
In spite of the challenges of the apprenticeship reforms, we believe EPA is a really positive step forward. It boosts the credibility of apprenticeships, which have typically played a key part in our sector’s workforce. It provides new apprenticeship grades to encourage apprentices to work harder to demonstrate their abilities.
But above all, it will give you the confidence of knowing that your apprentices have been independently verified as having the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to do their job.
Sandra Evans, CEO, Prepare to Achieve