In order to achieve an apprenticeship, the apprentice must successfully pass the End Point Assessment (EPA). The EPA is carried out by an independent assessor from the End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) after the apprentice has met all the requirements of gateway.
Each apprenticeship standard has an EPA assessment plan which sets out the requirements, assessment methods and grading criteria for the EPA. The EPA format and requirements vary depending on the standard that the apprenticeship has been mapped to, and is designed to assess the apprentice’s achievement of the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours (KSBs) as set out in the apprenticeship standard.
Elements of the EPA
The EPA is usually split into two elements (dependent on the standard): a project showcase and a professional discussion. The assessment plan for each apprenticeship standard breaks down the KSBs into individual competencies and dictates which are to be covered in each element of the EPA.
- Report: 4000 words (+/-10%);
- Presentation: 20 minutes (+/-10%);
- Questioning session: 25-30 minutes duration;
- Completed in the last 6 months of the on-programme period.
The presentation must be face to face (except in exceptional circumstances) and is recorded for quality assurance purposes.
- A discussion consisting of a structured series of topic areas;
- Driven by the independent assessor's review of the apprentice's portfolio of evidence;
- 50–60 minute in duration;
- Explores aspects of the work, including how it was carried out, in more detail.
The professional discussion must be face to face (except in exceptional circumstances) and is recorded for quality assurance purposes.
The project showcase is based on a topic that is to be agreed between the employer and apprentice, and must be of benefit to the business. The project showcase must be achievable within the employer’s business constraints, whilst meeting the needs of the EPA.
Examples of projects are:
- The rebranding of a family business following diversification;
- The market research and business planning for a new service;
- Reviewing and making recommendations for improving a service delivery area;
- Designing and delivering service change across locations and teams;
- The development of data analytics to expand marketing opportunities;
- Strategic development of a global company;
- International marketing of a global company.
The project showcase must cover:
- What the apprentice set out to achieve, how they approached the work and dealt with any issues;
- The key outcomes of the work-based project;
- Recommendations and lessons learned from the work-based project.
The project showcase is made up of a report, presentation and questioning session. Apprentices must complete and submit a report based on their work-based project to the chosen EPAO and then subsequently present this to an independent assessor followed by the question session.
The project showcase can be integrated into the academic programme, for example, one module on the Executive MBA is an independent work-based project, which serves as the project showcase.
The professional discussion is a discussion that takes place between the apprentice and the independent assessor from the EPAO. During their apprenticeship, the apprentice must build and produce a portfolio of evidence which demonstrates how they have achieved and applied the KSBs in their workplace. From the portfolio, the apprentice will choose a number of key pieces of evidence, cross‐reference them to each competency criterion, and provide a narrative of how the evidence demonstrates the achievement and application of the KSBs in their workplace.
This portfolio, once complete and submitted, will be reviewed by the independent assessor, from which they will structure a series of discussion topics to explore aspects of the apprentice’s work, including how it was carried out, in more detail.
Who is the independent assessor?
The independent assessor is the individual appointed by the EPAO to carry out the EPA with the apprentice.
What is evidence?
The evidence contained in the portfolio will comprise a number of discrete pieces of work that cover the KSBs as set out to be assessed in the EPA in the professional discussion. This will be a range of materials and documents generated by the apprentice over the period of their apprenticeship which provide evidence of their achievement and application of the KSBs that they have acquired.
Examples of evidence could be:
- Reflective journals;
- Minutes of meetings;
- Demonstrations and presentations;
- Credible witness statements;
- 360 degree feedback from managers and peers;
- Project plans and documentation;
- Assignments, research projects etc.
A record of the on-programme progress reviews undertaken will also be needed as part of the portfolio of evidence.
How many pieces of evidence are required for the EPA?
This varies between 10-20 depending on the apprenticeship standard.
Can the professional discussion be online?
The professional discussion must be face-to-face with the independent assessor, or in exceptional circumstances via live media for example, where you are working abroad or based on a restricted site.
The professional discussion will be recorded by the independent assessor (using audio or video recording).
What are the confidentiality requirements for evidence?
Where necessary, confidentiality and data protection requirements must be adhered to, e.g. permissions for use of video/images containing identifiable third parties (e.g. clients), anonymisation of documentation and permissions from clients when submitting information relevant to them.
What happens if I don't have exposure to some aspects of the standard in my job (e.g. finance)?
Learners should be supported by their manager and provided with opportunities to gain exposure to areas required by the apprenticeship standard which they may not otherwise normally be exposed to. For example, if an apprentice does not have exposure to finance in their role, the manager should help them to identify areas they could gain this experience, such as attending budget meetings, for example.
Before the EPA can take place, the apprentice must proceed through gateway. Gateway is the point at which the employer must declare that they are confident that the apprentice is ready for their assessment. There are a number of requirements that must be evidenced before the apprentice can be put forward for their EPA. This includes reviewing the apprentice's portfolio, along with the training provider, to ensure that all competencies have been met and that the portfolio is in line with any guidance relating to the type and amount of evidence required.
Requirements of gateway
- Successful completion of a level 7 academic qualification stated in the apprenticeship standard (e.g. a master’s degree in management);
- Achievement of English and mathematics level 2 or higher;
- Completion of a work-based project (project showcase);
- Hold a portfolio of evidence (for the professional discussion).
The EPAO is an independent organisation which is responsible for assessing the apprentice's achievement and application of the KSBs set out in the apprenticeship standard. EPAOs have to be listed on the Register of End-Point Assessment Organisations for the standard on which they are assessing so that apprentices on each standard are assessed consistently. The EPAO is chosen by the employer, usually in conjunction with the apprentice.
Depending on the EPAO chosen, they may provide resources and further benefits to apprentices who have registered with them. Benefits could include dual accreditation and online library resources.
What are the EPAOs available for the standard my apprentice is studying on?
The Register of End-Point Assessment Organisations lists all the organisations that have been authorised to act as an EPAO for all active standards. The Register is updated monthly and can be found on the UK Government's website.
The training provider will be able to provide further information.
We have decided which EPAO we want; what now?
Inform the Masterships Team by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org with your choice and confirmation that you are happy for them to contact the EPAO to register the apprentice.
Will the EPAOs be able to see the apprentice's work prior to the EPA?
The EPAO does not have access to, and cannot provide feedback on, the apprentice's work throughout their apprenticeship. The EPAO only sees the portfolio of evidence once the apprentice is happy with it and it has been submitted at gateway.