A best practice guide to end-point assessment for apprenticeship training providers.

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 (EPA).

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 end-point assessment organisations.

Awareness of and preparation for assessment is part of the whole apprenticeship journey and should be introduced right 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 outlines the roles and responsibilities of training providers with regard to assessment throughout the whole apprenticeship journey.

Prepare to offer apprenticeships as a training provider

Only organisations on the Register of apprenticeship training providers (RoATP) are eligible to receive government funding to train apprentices. You will be assessed for your suitability to deliver each specific apprenticeship standard you apply to deliver.

The full list of apprenticeships standards is maintained by the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute).

Each apprenticeship standard has a specific end-point assessment (EPA) plan. As apprenticeship standards are maintained and updated over time, there may be different versions of a standard. You’ll need to be familiar with the requirements for each standard version.

Refer to the Institute’s website for information about each standard, standard versions and EPA plans. The Institute publishes a report every 8 weeks to show which live standards have entered the formal revisions process and the progress made.

If you have been added to the register as a training provider, you’ll need to ensure you:

  • are familiar with and have the appropriate knowledge and technical ability to support the assessment methods in each apprenticeship standard you are eligible to deliver
  • prepare for the correct EPA plan specific to the standard version you are delivering
  • consider the training of your workforce in readiness for delivering the apprenticeship standard

Working with employers and apprentices

You should explain the requirements of EPA at the start of the programme with the employers and apprentices you are working with. Discuss the roles and responsibilities of the apprentice, the employer and the training provider and ensure all parties agree to an apprenticeship commitment statement.

Prepare apprentices for their EPA by planning assessments throughout their training based on their assessment plan.

Work with employers to ensure that the job their apprentice is undertaking will allow them to develop and practice all the knowledge, skills and behaviours required by the apprenticeship standard. Use this insight to plan in any additional work required to prepare the apprentice adequately for EPA.

Deliver apprenticeships

Put a contract in place for end-point assessment

You must support the employer to choose an end-point assessment organisation within the timescales set out in the funding rules.

You should support the employer to negotiate a price for end-point assessment (EPA). It should usually cost no more than 20% of the apprenticeship’s funding band maximum.

You must put a contract in place with the end-point assessment organisation the employer has chosen. This will allow you to pay the end-point assessment organisation on behalf of the employer.

In the contract, you must set out arrangements for:

  • sharing the apprentice’s information for EPA and certification
  • resits or retakes and charges for these
  • the process if there is a change of circumstances which may lead to the delay or cancellation of the assessment

Apprenticeship induction

With support from the employer, you must complete an initial assessment with the apprentice to assess their prior learning and establish the ‘starting point’, or baseline, for the apprentice.

The initial assessment informs how much of the apprenticeship training content the individual requires. It checks that the apprenticeship is an appropriate training programme for the individual and is about the whole standard, not just English and maths.

During the apprentice’s induction, you must:

  • give an overview of the assessment plan
  • explain the skills, knowledge and behaviours you will train them in to become occupationally competent
  • explain that the apprentice must pass their EPA to complete their apprenticeship
  • discuss the support you will offer apprentices
  • make sure the independent learner record contains the correct information on the apprentice so the apprentice’s certificate can be issued
  • make sure you are aware of any professional body timelines

With the employer and end-point assessment organisation, you should discuss:

  • any reasonable adjustments the apprentice requires
  • potential EPA dates
  • the venue, timings and any other logistics for the EPA
  • how much notice the end-point assessment organisation will need when the apprentice is ready for EPA
  • the process if there are any changes in circumstances for the EPA
  • any professional body timelines or regulations

Ongoing apprenticeship delivery

You need to ensure that the apprentice is familiarised with the end-point assessment methods. You need to mark and assess all their assignments in line with the end-point assessment grading criteria.

Encourage the employer to familiarise themselves with the end-point assessment grading criteria so they can share responsibility in monitoring the apprentice.

Preparing for gateway and end-point assessment

To prepare apprentices for end-point assessment (EPA), you must:

  • familiarise them with their EPA methods including where reasonable adjustments have been made
  • hold mock end-point assessments based on the knowledge, skills and behaviours in the apprenticeship standard
  • provide constructive and tangible feedback on their performance in mock assessments that can be used to support employers to decide if an apprentice is ready for EPA


During gateway, you and the employer must decide if the apprentice is ready for EPA.

You need to review the apprentice’s knowledge, skills and behaviours against their apprenticeship standard. Use the results of their mocks to decide if the apprentice is ready for EPA.

You need to confirm with the employer that the apprentice has met all the gateway requirements.

You will need to let the end-point assessment organisation know whether the apprentice is ready for EPA. Make sure you do this well in advance of the proposed EPA date.

If the apprentice is ready for EPA, confirm the dates, venues, timings and any logistical details with the end-point assessment organisation and employer.

Make sure you respond to requests from the end-point assessment organisation quickly. This could include submitting gateway evidence.

Inform the end-point assessment organisation as soon as possible if there are any changes in the apprentice or employer circumstances.

Results and feedback

You should support the employer to celebrate the apprentice completing their apprenticeship. This could be through graduation ceremonies and sharing their success on social media. You could join in with national, geographical, or sector specific celebrations.

You should seek feedback on your performance from the employer and end-point assessment organisation. Use this feedback to improve apprenticeship delivery, including training methods and resources.

Conduct formal analysis of your delivery to evaluate the results achieved by your apprentices. As best practice, this is conducted at standard and EPA component level, and across the delivery sectors for the organisation as appropriate to the size of the training provider.

Resits and retakes

Apprentices who fail one or more assessments in their end-point assessment (EPA), can 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 EPA.

If the end-point assessment organisation recommends a retake, you should work with the employer to create an action plan. The action plan should address the apprentice’s areas for improvement identified in their EPA to make sure they are successful in their retake.

You will have to hold another gateway meeting with the employer to decide if the apprentice is ready to retake their EPA.

Help and support

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

Published 28 September 2021 Contents