Becoming a successful End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) is no simple task.
There are a plethora of things you need to think about, but perhaps most importantly, is how you will recruit, train and retain end-point assessors that have the occupational credibility to stand before an apprentice and deliver a judgement of competency that won’t be brought into question by the employer or wider industry.
AIM Assessment is one such EPAO that has gone to great lengths to welcome ‘outsiders’ into the world of end-point assessment.
Their focus has been to recruit motivated people actively working in the creative industries and give them the tools to consistently assess knowledge, skills and behaviours based on their up-to-date industry insight.
We caught up with Delia Antoine Burdett, a PR and Comms professional (and now end-point assessor with AIM Assessment) to find out about her journey…
So, first off, how did you get involved in end-point assessing if you’d never worked in the education or skills sector before?
“I work for Campaign Collective, a social enterprise offering affordable professional communications advice and support to charities, public service organisations and other social enterprises. We were approached by AIM Assessment to see if any of our team would be interested in delivering end-point assessment to people taking their first steps into the PR industry.
“All our team members are experienced PR professionals that work flexible hours, so we were good candidates – we could provide the level of expertise and current knowledge that AIM needs and fit the requirements of end-point assessing around our existing work commitments.
“Campaign Collective members have a long history of supporting the next generation of comms professionals. And on a personal level, I’ve always had an interest in education and helping more junior colleagues develop their careers, so this seemed like a great opportunity to do something worthwhile, exciting and give a little back to the industry, which is why I decided to get involved and signed up to end-point assess.”
After signing up as an end-point assessor, what happened next? How did you learn the skills needed to end-point assess?
“After signing-up, AIM facilitated a Level 3 Undertaking End Point Assessment course, delivered by SDN. The course was just for AIM colleagues so was geared specifically to our industry and how AIM Assessment wanted to assess.
“There was a good mix of people on the course too; people like me, completely new to assessment, alongside former on-programme assessors and even AIM colleagues that wouldn’t be directly assessing but supporting the process. This mixture of experiences helped us all learn from one another and understand how to deliver a consistent service.
“I took a huge amount of learning from the course. Not just legislative and regulatory requirements, but the soft skills like how to put an apprentice at ease, help them show their best self, but still deliver a robust assessment. I couldn’t have started assessing without it.”
After training, are you just thrown in the deep end?
“Not at all. AIM Assessment gave me plenty of notice before the first few assessments, so I could arrange my work diary accordingly. I was able to contact the office team about any queries I had about the assessments and get good advice too.
“Then, during the first few assessments, I was accompanied by an Internal Quality Assurer (IQA). Having an IQA alongside me, when I was new to any form of assessing, was great. The IQA was so supportive and assured me I was conducting end-point assessments fairly and consistently. They picked out things that I’d done really well and made suggestions of things that I could do better.
“This support process allowed me to gain confidence in my new role and know I was working to the standard expected of me. I’m still visited by the IQA every now and again, to double-check the standards are still high, but it was an invaluable resource to have at the start of my end-point assessing career to help me settle into the role.”
Are there other ways your EPAO supports you in your work?
“Yes. AIM Assessment holds networking events, where all end-point assessors across the creative standards come together, meet and share best practice. These are really useful events, as you make new contacts and feel part of a team of people all motivated to support apprentices’ progress in the industry.
“It’s worth saying that being an end-point assessor has helped me in my day-to-day PR and comms work too. The young people I assess are impressive. They must deliver a project as part of the end-point assessment, and the ideas and talent that goes into that work is amazing. Their energy inspires my own work and helps me creatively.”
What would you say to other people in industry about getting involved in end-point assessing?
“If you’re into helping people develop in their careers, I would say go for it. You get a chance to meet young people passionate about their work and help put them at ease and showcase their ability.
“Although you may not have formally assessed someone before, you will know exactly what it takes to make it in the industry and can support apprentices to articulate what they’ve learned.
“When an apprentice relaxes into the end-point assessment, they can’t wait to tell you about their work. The enjoyment and pride shines through. It’s a real privilege to be part of a young person’s career journey in this way.”
Support for End-Point Assessment Organisations
If you’re an EPAO looking to recruit, train and retain talent from industry, do get in touch with SDN. SDN has worked with over 50 EPAOs, and can provide you with a unique recruitment and training service, in partnership with recruitment consultants Protocol, helping you attract and skill talented end-point assessors.
SDN also helps EPAOs to set-up, develop assessment instruments, materials and quality assurance processes. Give us a ring to chat this through.