From education to employment


Ange Page, Tilly Grunwell, Barbara Ashford, Becky Adams and Managing Director Helen Shinner

Thriving end point assessment organisation, 1st for EPA (@1stforEPA), has been named Best New Business at the prestigious Tees Businesswomen Awards 2021.

The Ofqual-recognised EPAO won the judges’ approval for its hands-on approach to end point assessment, working with training providers to support apprentices through EPA in a range of disciplines. The company’s ‘apprentice first’ philosophy has seen 1st for EPA grow from concept to a major player in the EPA market in under 2 years. Today, 1st for EPA assesses hundreds of apprentices and counts some of the UK’s biggest household name employers and most respected training providers amongst its clients.

In addition to being named ‘Best New Business’, the fast-growing company was a finalist in the Best Small Business and Training & Apprenticeships categories.

Managing Director, Helen Shinner, said:

“I’m so proud of the whole team and all the hard work they’ve put in. To be recognised with this award is a true testament to their dedication and commitment to changing the EPAO landscape.

“The starting point for 1st for EPA was recognising the need to break away from the traditional image of assessment – there’s no room for separation between awarding organisations and those they’re assessing. Instead, both EPAOs and training providers should be working together to support apprentices, allowing them to perform to their best. When we do that, everyone wins – apprentices, employers and the economy.”

The EPAO beat tough competition from local and national businesses. Helen continued:

“It’s such an honour to be named alongside some amazing businesses that were all founded in Teesside.”

The Tees Businesswomen Awards 2021 are a celebration of women-led and women-inspired businesses that were born in Teesside. Now in their fourth year, the awards have become a supporter of the north east Power of Women campaign. Past award winners include Wander Films and Sir Robert McAlpine.

1st for EPA assesses nine apprenticeship standards, including Digital Marketer, Marketing Executive, Marketing Assistant, Marketing Manager, PR & Communications Assistant, HR Consultant, HR Support, Business Administrator and Junior Content Producer.

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