A best practice guide for employers on how to support your apprentice through end-point assessment.

Applies to England

How apprentices are assessed

Apprenticeships should meet the skills needs of apprentices and the needs of employers of all sizes.

Every apprentice should have a high-quality experience that prepares them for a successful career and supports their progression to higher level skills.

In England, every apprentice on an apprenticeship standard must successfully undertake an independent assessment at the end of their training to confirm they have achieved occupational competence. If they do not pass the assessment, they have not completed their apprenticeship. This is known as an end-point assessment.

End-point assessment is an independent assessment of the knowledge, skills and behaviours which have been learnt throughout the apprenticeship and tests the apprentice’s ability to apply them in the workplace.

Assessments need to be conducted by approved independent end-point assessment organisations.

You can find out who is approved to assess your standard on the register of end-point assessment organisations and agree assessment organisations with your provider.

Awareness of and preparation for assessment is part of the whole apprenticeship journey and should be introduced at the start of the programme. This will help to ensure an apprentice gets the best out of their apprenticeship and successfully completes their training.

This best practice guide is for employers of apprentices. It outlines the roles and responsibilities of employers with regard to assessment throughout the whole apprenticeship.

Prepare to employ an apprentice

Complete a role needs analysis

When preparing to employ an apprentice, you should complete a role needs analysis to ensure the apprenticeship standard selected is appropriate for your organisation.

The role you advertise must allow the apprentice to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours set out in the apprenticeship standard. You should talk to your training provider to confirm if the role and standard align.

If you can’t find an apprenticeship standard appropriate for the role, you might want to consider being a trailblazer group.

Your role and responsibilities

Discuss end to end apprenticeship delivery, including assessment, with the training provider before the start of the programme. Be clear on employer, apprentice, training provider and end-point assessment organisation responsibilities.

You should work with your training provider to understand the assessment methods that the apprentice will need to complete.

End-point assessment is different for each apprenticeship. The assessment plan will outline the end-point assessment for each apprenticeship.

You can view the assessment plan by searching for the apprenticeship standard your apprentice is completing.

Ensure that anyone in your organisation involved in training the apprentice understands their responsibilities and has the right skills and resources.

When recruiting an apprentice, make sure you are clear on any qualifications that they must pass to complete the apprenticeship, such as English and maths.

Starting to deliver apprenticeships

Support for your apprentice

Go through the assessment plan with your apprentice to make sure they understand what their end-point assessment will involve from the beginning of their apprenticeship.

Outline what support will be offered to prepare them for end-point assessment.

You should take an active role to develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours the apprentice needs for their apprenticeship at work.

Make sure the apprentice’s line manager is aware of the assessment process and success criteria. You should make sure they have access to any mock or example end-point assessment materials.

If the apprentice needs any reasonable adjustments, you should work with your training provider to submit an application to your end-point assessment.

Make sure you and your apprentice are aware of any professional body timelines and regulations that may apply. You can discuss these with your training provider.

Working with your end-point assessment organisation

You can find an end-point assessment organisation to assess your apprentice.

Make sure you understand how you, your training provider and your end-point assessment organisation will work together.

With your training provider, you should discuss the potential date the apprentice will be ready to complete end-point assessment.

You should engage with your chosen end-point assessment organisation at the start of the apprentice programme.

You should discuss with the end-point assessment organisation and training provider:

  • charges for assessment and resits or retakes
  • what resources will be available to support the apprentice in preparing for end-point assessment
  • how to apply for reasonable adjustments for the apprentice
  • how far in advance the apprentice’s end-point assessment will need to be booked
  • how you will inform the end-point assessment organisation that the apprentice is ready to take their end-point assessment
  • the logistics of assessment, such as any technology that will be used
  • any supporting documentation end-point assessment organisations will require to confirm the apprentice is ready for assessment
  • how and when the apprentice will receive feedback
  • what the appeals process involves

For niche occupations, you may need to support your end-point assessment organisation to find independent assessors within your industry, while ensuring the independence of the assessment process.

Ongoing apprenticeship delivery

During the apprenticeship, you should attend regular meetings with your training provider to track the apprentice’s progress.

If timelines of the end-point assessment change, you should give your end-point assessment organisation sufficient notice.

Throughout the apprenticeship, you should regularly review the apprentice’s reasonable adjustments as these may change over time.

Supporting your apprentice through gateway and end-point assessment


During a period called gateway, you and the training provider will decide if your apprentice is ready to complete end-point assessment.

Details of the gateway requirements for each apprenticeship standard can be found in the individual assessment plans on the Institute’s website.

To prepare for gateway, you should:

  • check with the apprentice to make sure they feel ready for end-point assessment
  • make sure the apprentice is given enough time to complete any requirements for gateway
  • check that any work required as evidence for gateway is submitted to the end-point assessment organisation in advance
  • make sure the apprentice has achieved any required qualifications, such as English or maths

To progress to end-point assessment, you and your training provider must agree that the apprentice:

  • is fully competent in the occupation as described in the apprenticeship standard
  • has achieved any required qualifications, such as English and maths
  • has met any regulatory requirements that are in the assessment plan
  • has completed any work, such as a portfolio or logbook

You, your training provider and your end-point assessment organisation should agree end-point assessment dates, venues, timings and any logistical arrangements.

End-point assessment

Leading up to end-point assessment, check that the apprentice feels prepared. Check that their line manager and colleagues know they’re about to take their end-point assessment, so they can provide support.

The apprentice’s line manager and colleagues can support apprentices with any mock assessments.

You should discuss your apprentice’s position within your organisation, to identify potential career options after end-point assessment.

To prepare for end-point assessment, you should make sure:

  • the apprentice knows the location details of their assessment
  • the apprentice has a contact for the day of their assessment
  • health and safety requirements are met if any assessments are taking place in the workplace
  • that any required IT equipment is in good working order
  • the assessor can access the building if required

Results and celebration

Check with your apprentice how their end-point assessment went. Provide any support they need while waiting for the results.

Your end-point assessment organisation will provide you with the results. Make sure they do this within the agreed timescale.

If your apprentice is successful

If your apprentice is successful, you should let them know the next steps in their career within your organisation.

Make sure the apprentice has received their certificate. The end-point assessment organisation is responsible for requesting this.

With the apprentice’s agreement, celebrate their success. You could consider graduation events with the training provider and using social media to promote their success.

You can also nominate your apprentice for the national apprenticeship awards and any in-house awards programmes.

If your apprentice is unsuccessful

If the apprentice is unsuccessful in any part of their end-point assessment, you should work with the training provider and end-point assessment organisation to decide whether they need to resit or retake.

A resit involves the apprentice resitting one or more components of their assessment without further training.

A retake involves an apprentice doing further training before they do their assessment again.

A resit or a retake cannot be taken to improve the original grade if an apprentice has passed their end-point assessment.

If a retake is required, work with the training provider to provide the apprentice with an action plan that outlines what re-training they need and the estimated time it will take.

You are required to pay for the resit or retake fees as agreed with the end-point assessment organisation at the beginning of the apprenticeship.

If you do not agree with the result, contact your end-point assessment organisation for details on how to appeal.

If you are still not satisfied, you can appeal to the external quality provider. Your training provider can give you their details.

Help and support

You can get more information on the apprenticeship service support site.

Published 28 September 2021 Contents