Thomas Burton, Director of Apprenticeships, NOCN

#EPA Live

The new decade is upon the apprenticeships sector and with End Point Assessment becoming such an integral part of the process, NOCN is running a one-day professional development workshop to support both employers and providers.

The need for information and knowledge within the End Point Assessment space is constant, the development of new apprenticeship standards in non-traditional industries has advanced a sector which is constantly evolving, requiring apprenticeship stakeholders to have a detailed understanding of the assessment process for their programmes.

The End Point Assessment process is not a new one and was a key reform proposed in the 2012 Richard’s review, now almost eight years old. However, a large amount of programmes ran with the apprenticeship frameworks until the last available cut off, allowing time for the EPA industry to bed in and develop. Now in 2020 and with the removal of framework starts by the summer, the focus on the end of the apprenticeship will begin to become an important requirement on future curriculum and programme planning.

In June 2019, the ESFA also amended a number of provider funding rules to ensure that the planning for and selection of the End Point Assessment Organisation was done in a manner which avoids last minute selection, hopefully ensuring that apprentices have a clear understanding of their EPA.

Why is stakeholder development key?

As mentioned, End Point Assessment continues to pose questions and unknowns for a lot of delivery staff, the what, where and by whom are the questions we at NOCN are posed the most.

1. The what?

The content of the End Point Assessment is usually the first question people ask, “what are you going to test my apprentices on?” This is rightly one of the first questions anyone should have in mind, does the curriculum I am teaching match the requirements of the Apprentice occupation standard. The knowledge, Skills and Behaviours listed by the IfATE is the content of the EPA. Ensuring curriculum delivery ticks off all the knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSB’s) is the first check to put your apprentices on the right path the EPA success.

2. The where?

Remote, face-to-face or a combination of e-exams? In the main, most assessment plans are quite flexible, but the logistics of where your apprentice is going to take their EPA should be a primary question in your planning. If the EPA requires a practical observation, this may need specific setup or access to places of work. Materials or resources may be needed, and technical setup may also be required.

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3. The whom?

End Point Assessors are human - although the advancement in Artificial Intelligence is progressing quickly, we are yet to reach the point of the cyborg assessor.

They are industry experts recruited in line with the requirements of the employer group who designed the EPA. They are however different – their approach is closer to that of a driving instructor than a traditional work-based assessor. They have some specific instruction and processes, so will talk to the apprentices and ask questions but ongoing positive or negative feedback during the assessment will not be possible.

As part of EPA Live, NOCN will be running three workshops which explore best practice, key steps for consideration and important steps to take when working through curriculum, gateway planning and then EPA elements.

The conference will also hear from a range of guest speakers, from employers and providers sharing experiences and what to look out for when designing, delivering and facilitating the End Point Assessment process.

Thomas Burton, Director of Apprenticeships, NOCN

EPA Live takes place January 30th 2020 at Wembley Stadium and offers an opportunity for delegates to get under the bonnet of EPA, offering the chance to speak to NOCN’s EPA development, deployment and curriculum experts.

We have a limited number of tickets remaining, to find out more and book your place visit: https://www.nocn.org.uk/epalive/

As part of the conference FE News will be recording a Podcast featuring key insights from the speakers and discussing the EPA sector.

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