For any apprentice, the end-point assessment (EPA) is one of those milestones that will never be forgotten. Passing the EPA is a recognition of the hard work the apprentice has put in, the willingness to listen, watch and learn, and to accept the support of the training company assessor and, most importantly, the employer.
End-point assessment is taken at the end of the apprenticeship after what is often referred to as the ‘on-programme period’. It’s a major change from the previous reliance on continuous assessment throughout the course and, arguably, increases the pressure felt by the apprentice.
One of the changes is the requirement for the EPA to be assessed by an independent assessment organisation; in other words, not the employer or the training provider. Potentially this may be the first time that the apprentice has met the end-point assessor, so it can feel intimidating; but with the right support and preparation, it can be exciting and satisfying for the apprentice to show the skills they have developed.
This is where the active preparation support from the training provider and the employer can make such a difference to the outcome of the EPA.
Take Zak Holley for example; Zak didn’t feel that studying for A levels at the sixth form at his school was the right route for him to take. Instead, he signed up for the Officeworks programme with leading provider PM Training.
Officeworks helps trainees gain practical skills in customer service, IT and business administration; just the sort of practical focus that Zak needed to feel confident in his skills for future employment. The PM Training programme, though, was far more than just showing Zak what working in an office required, it also helped him to build those skills essential to actually getting a job, mastering English, writing applications and performing well at interviews.
Four months after joining, Zak passed his work trial and was offered a job at local company Johnson Tiles; it was a big day for him. “I was over the moon when I passed my work trial and got taken on by Johnson Tiles. I made some great friends. The company is amazing. There is more technology than I’ve ever seen before. I quickly learned from my mistakes and got settled into my role” he explained. “On a day-to-day basis I take orders, emails and phone calls relating to customer service. Speaking to customers is now second nature from when I first started, I’m much more confident”.
“I was over the moon when I passed my work trial and got taken on by Johnson Tiles. I made some great friends. The company is amazing."
That experience, plus the support of his manager at Johnson Tiles and the team at PM Training, meant that when the end-point assessment day came, Zak was able to complete the tests and demonstrate his customer service skills to the assessor with great confidence.
In fact, Zak not only passed the apprenticeship EPA, but he was awarded a Distinction for his efforts.