Caz Walton

Caz Walton

Head of End Point Assessment

The new End Point Assessment Service from Explosive Learning Solutions.

What is an End Point Assessment and why do we need them?
In October 2013 the Government announced they were bringing the Apprenticeship Frameworks to an end and instead were going to introduce new Apprenticeship Standards written by employers.

In 2015 groups of employers “Trailblazers” started writing the new trailblazer apprenticeship standards, ensuring apprentices would be trained in the skills, knowledge and behaviours industry needed. Employers focused on raising the standard. Apprenticeship Standards have now replaced the old Frameworks.

Historically, apprentices undertook assessment activities throughout their apprenticeship programme. However, as part of the Governments Apprenticeship Reforms apprentices now have their formal assessments at the end of their apprenticeship programme and this is called End-Point Assessment (EPA).

What is the new EPA service from Explosive Learning Solutions (ELS)?
Explosive Learning Solutions are pleased to announce that we have launched a new End Point Assessment (EPA) service for organisations that have apprentices and apprenticeship programmes.

Each Apprenticeship Standard has its very own End-Point Assessment Plan written by the same Trailblazer Group who wrote the standard. Every end-point assessment plan clearly details what the end-point assessment looks like, who is involved, the assessment methods that are required and the amount of time that is required to complete the assessments.
ELS has designed and produced very detailed guides and support materials to help prepare apprentices for their end-point assessments, and to ensure employers have provided the appropriate training for the apprenticeship as specified in the standard, along with any pre-requisite skill tests or certifications that may be required.

Who are ELS?
Born out of the UK Defence sector, Explosive Learning Solutions (ELS) has been providing training and business development solutions for government departments since 2005. Supporting business training programmes in areas such as:
• Project development
• Sales
• Procurement and Contract Management
• Personal Development and Human Resources
As well as personal and professional development training for:
• Leadership
• Management
• Business improvement.
We undertake the research and analysis of people issues and the subsequent design (across all media), development and delivery of learning and its subsequent assessment. Also the provision of interim professionals across the project portfolio.

What assessment methods are involved in end-point assessment?
Due to every assessment plan being different, end-point assessment activities also differ. Some require practical demonstrations and knowledge tests, whilst others require presentations and professional discussions etc. The ELS Scheduling Team provide support to employers, apprentices and training providers throughout the full process from the “In-training” stage through Gateway, to end-point assessment.

What is Gateway?
“Gateway” is a new term used in apprenticeships.
Apprentices now go through two main key stages in their apprentice programme.
1. The first stage is called the “In-Training” stage and this is completed with the Training Provider.
2. The second stage is called the “End-Point Assessment” stage.

In order to move from the first stage to the second stage, there is a process called “Gateway” This usually in the form of a formal meeting which takes places between the employer, the training provider and the apprentice.

The employer must be confident and confirm, during this meeting, that the apprentice is deemed competent in all of the Apprenticeship Standard areas and any pre-requisites have been achieved i.e. Functional Skills tests have been achieved and certificates have been or can be uploaded to the End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO). ELS provides Declaration and Readiness Reports to help the Employer with this.

Who conducts the End-Point Assessment?
Once the gateway process has been completed, an independent end-point assessment organisation (EPAO) must carry out the end-point assessment with each apprentice.

As a registered independent EPAO, ELS provides independent end-point assessors (IEPAs) who assess the end-point assessment activities and will grade each apprentice against each assessment method.

Our quality assurance teams ensure assessor decisions are fair and consistent.

Why did ELS become an EPAO?
Our recent work in the Middle East reinforced our own skill and knowledge levels in the mapping of courses and job roles to qualifications and the changes to the way apprentices are being assessed. This provided a natural opportunity to develop our new end-point assessment service.

Our Head of End-Point Assessment, Caroline Walton, has been involved with apprenticeships for over 23 years.

Caroline was once an apprentice herself and has completed two apprenticeships. Over the years she has mentored and managed apprentices, managed national apprenticeship operational teams, assessed and has provided quality assurance for thousands of apprentices. So, naturally she was thrilled to learn she was now going to head up our end-point assessment organisation, completing the full apprenticeship journey. Caroline wants to be able to pass on what she has learnt.

“The team have worked extremely hard to produce our support and assessment materials and tools, so it’s a great feeling for all of us to see the hours of hard work pay off, to have people asking to be part of the team and to be able to hold the great quality products and support materials we have produced. It gives you a real buzz.”

What apprenticeship standards are ELS end-point assessing?
Since our journey began as an EPAO in March 2020, the team have been busy applying to The Institute of Apprenticeships and Technical Education to end-point assess an excellent range of apprenticeship standards, covering a range of routes, standards and industry areas.

Our applications to end-point assess different apprenticeship standards have so far been successful and we continue to receive our approvals for apprenticeship standards in:
• Business and Administration
• Transport and Logistics
• Sales Marketing and Procurement
• Engineering and Manufacturing
• Digital and Education.
We are also looking at apprenticeship standards in legal, finance and accounting.

Some industry areas are in desperate need of independent end-point assessors (IEPAs) and to try and support these industry areas ELS is working hard to upskill and train our internal staff and external subject matter experts (SMEs) through our Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (CAVA) qualification and the Level 3 Award in Undertaking End-Point Assessment qualification. Many SME’s are approaching us to do this with the hope of being part of our end-point assessment team. Caroline ensures she calls and speaks to every single person to give them advice and support and to explain our recruitment process.

How do people get in touch with you?
People can visit our website or contact ELS direct on 01235 861 805

If you would like to join our EPA team, visit the website and select “End-Point Assessment” and go to “Assessors IEPA” and upload your CV. You will also need to complete the competency templates for the apprenticeship standards you wish to end-point assess.

Employers who would like ELS to end-point assess their apprentices can call 01235 861 805, or can select “End Point Assessment from the menu and click on “Employers” and fill in the Enquiry Form, or click the link below:

EPA Enquiry Form

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