Choosing the right End-Point Assessment Organisation
For the benefits of our clients, Sysco have looked into End-Point Assessments, part of the Government’s apprenticeships reforms, in order to provide some information on why we have chosen to work with the EPA organisations (EPAO) we have. In this article we explain what they are, what’s involved and how they can help registered managers and their staff.
What is End-Point Assessment (EPA)?
EPA is a key part of the Government’s apprenticeship reforms, which came into effect in April 2017.
Instead of simply completing an apprenticeship, apprentices must now go through ‘rigorous independent assessment, focused primarily on testing their competence’ at the end of their apprenticeship. This is EPA. The process has often been likened to learning to drive. Learning during the programme is essentially driving lessons whilst the EPA replaces the driving test.
All staff enrolled on the new apprenticeship standards will have to undertake EPA after at least 12 months and 1 day of apprenticeship training.
For each apprenticeship standard, the assessment methods vary. Assessment can involve tests that focus on knowledge; professional discussions that look more at behaviours and skills and examine how the knowledge has been embedded during learning; or the completion of a work project or portfolio that documents how the apprentice has been enable to implement the knowledge, skills and behaviours the qualification has included. In a key change, assessments and apprenticeships are now graded as fail, pass, merit, or distinction.
What does a registered manager have to do?
Managers have an important role to play in EPA. When the apprenticeship begins, the employer works with us to appoint a manager or mentor that can support their apprentice through the learning journey and help to prepare for the EPA. We have found that having a clearly defined manager or mentor that the apprentice is able to confide in and seek guidance from helps the apprentice to achieve to their maximum potential. The next section looks at why we have worked to choose the right EPA organisation (EPAO) for each of our qualifications.
At the end of the apprenticeship, the registered manager or mentor is one of the three people who must judge whether the apprentice is ready for EPA, along with the Sysco and the apprentice themselves.
What we looked for in an EPA Organisation?
There are some key things we have looked out for in an EPAO in order to choose the right one for our qualifications. Firstly, do they know the sector? Rather than a one-size-fits-all approach, Sysco have sought an EPAO that understands the needs of our clients and their workforce. As Sysco aims to offer bespoke programmes that are flexible to the needs of the employers we work with, we want the EPAOs we work with to be flexible too. We want EPAOs that are flexible around assessment dates/times so we can work with our clients to perform EPAs at a time that is suitable for them.
Some EPAOs are charging registrations fees, which may be lost if the apprentice doesn’t make it to EPA. Others are charging several hundred pounds for resits or appeals. Sysco have aimed to minimise these costs by choosing EPAOs that either don't charge these fees or are competitive in the marketplace with the fees they charge.
Finally, we have sought EPAOs who make resources available. We provide employers and apprentices with ‘one page summaries’ and videos of key features of EPA, as well as more in depth looks at the assessment criteria, and mock assessment tools including one to one tuition that focuses on the EPA. We looked for EPAO organisations that will go the extra mile to provide the EPA resources our clients and their apprentices need.
Benefits for registered managers
In spite of the challenges of the apprenticeship reforms, we believe EPA is a really positive step forward. It boosts the credibility of apprenticeships, which have typically played a key part in our sector’s workforce. It provides new apprenticeship grades to encourage apprentices to work harder to demonstrate their abilities.
But above all, it gives our clients the confidence of knowing that their apprentices have been independently verified as having the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to do their job.
If you want to find out more about how Sysco can help your organisation with its apprenticeship training, get in touch with us at or call 0151 236 1748