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Teesside EPAO first in the UK to assess sustainability standard

Helen Shinner, 1st for EPA

Ofqual-recognised end point assessment organisation (EPAO), 1st for EPA, is celebrating after becoming the first organisation in the UK to be accepted onto the Register of EPAOs to assess the Level 4 Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Practitioner standard.

With over a third of the UK’s biggest companies committing to net zero, and the UK’s low carbon economy worth almost £200bn and growing, the apprenticeship has quickly become a popular option for employers since its launch in 2021.

Managing Director of the Middlesbrough-based company, Helen Shinner, said:

“This standard is a crucial one for today’s employment market. It will be instrumental in helping organisations shape and push forward their own green initiatives, including commitments to net zero.

“We are also increasingly seeing companies, big and small, not living up to their environmental standards and they are now being held accountable. It has increased the desire for effective corporate responsibility management within companies and makes this a very valuable skill set for apprentices to have.”

A recent survey found that half of 18 to 34 year olds have expressed a desire for a career that helps protect the environment. Speaking about the recognition for the business, Helen continued: “I am delighted to welcome the Level 4 apprenticeship to the standards that 1st for EPA assesses.

“In just a few years, we have grown to assess 13 standards across a range of business improvement disciplines. We very much see our approach as a challenge to the existing EPAO approach. We focus on transparency with support and guidance for apprentices, employers and providers. This ensures apprentices fully understand the expectations and are able to focus on showcasing skills instead of worrying about the assessment itself.”

The standard is designed to innovate and drive ambitions for social and environmental change and is equivalent to a Higher National Certificate (HNC). Areas of focus can include carbon reduction, waste management, energy efficiency, fundraising and supply chains.

The apprentice’s role is to facilitate change and shape strategy to impact the greater good and typical job titles for apprentices on this standard include Corporate Social Responsibility Administrator, Sustainability Coordinator and Responsible Business Coordinator.

The Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Practitioner apprenticeship has a funding band of £14,000 and details can be seen at

1st for EPA is an Ofqual-recognised EPAO. The company assesses multiple apprenticeship standards, including Data, Marketing, PR and HR standards, Business Administrator, Digital Marketer and Junior Content Producer.

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