TQUK Just Designed Three New Qualifications for Apprenticeships
Month: June 2019
Our Qualifications Team is always on the cutting edge, creating new and in-demand qualifications. This month, we’re putting the spotlight on three new qualifications for apprenticeships that we deliver End-Point Assessment (EPA) for. These apprenticeships are:
Healthcare Assistant Practitioner;
Customer Service Practitioner; and
Customer Service Specialist.
These qualifications are mapped against Apprenticeship Standards so that Apprentices will acquire all the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours they’ll need to excel in their role. Employers and Training Providers that work with us will benefit from being able to get their qualifications for their apprenticeships and their End-Point Assessment services from one place.
Check out all the details below.
TQUK Level 5 Diploma for Assistant Practitioners in Healthcare (RQF)
The TQUK Level 5 Diploma for Assistant Practitioners in Healthcare (RQF) has been designed for Healthcare Assistant Practitioner apprenticeships.
HAPs work as part of a wider health and social care team, having direct contact with patients, service users or clients to provide high-quality care. HAPs work at a level above Healthcare Support Workers and have a more in-depth understanding of factors that influence ill-health, including anatomy and physiology. HAPs can work in a wide variety of roles that have been developed locally by Employers to meet individual service needs.
The TQUK Level 5 Diploma for Assistant Practitioners in Healthcare (RQF) will teach Apprentices all the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours required to be a HAP, preparing them for work in areas such as Cancer Services, Physiotherapy, Genito-Urinary Medicine, Orthopaedics, Hospice Care, Mental Health, Social Care, Community, Occupational Therapy, Learning Disabilities as well as hybrid roles that cross traditional occupational areas.
The qualification includes units on:
Understanding safeguarding of children and young people for those working in the adult sector;
Working in partnership in health and social care or children and young people’s settings;
Developing health and safety and risk management policies, procedures and practices in health and social care or children and young people’s settings;
Managing quality in health and social care or children and young people’s settings;
The philosophy, ethics and models of healthcare;
Anatomy and physiology for care practitioners;
The principles of infection prevention and control within a work setting;
The awareness of specific conditions related to healthcare outcomes;
Care planning and therapeutic interventions in healthcare settings.
A Customer Service Practitioner (CSP) is the face and, in many cases, the first point of contact a customer has with a company. The Apprentice’s raison d’être, as a CSP, will be getting to know their customers and clients and resolving any problems with products and services delivered from the workplace, digitally or by travelling in person to the customer’s location.
In general, they resolve one-time anomalous issues, or more routine issues like taking orders, payments, transfers and more. They also help customers by offering guidance, care, service recovery and more, along with conducting sales activities and gaining customer feedback for the company.
The TQUK Level 2 Diploma for Customer Service Practitioners (RQF) will teach Apprentices all the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours required to be a Customer Service Practitioner.
The qualification includes core units on:
Customer service knowledge;
Principles of working in customer service within an organisation;
TQUK Level 3 Diploma for Customer Service Specialists (RQF)
The TQUK Level 3 Diploma for Customer Service Specialists (RQF) has been designed for Customer Service Specialist Apprenticeships.
The Customer Service Specialist (CSS) works at the level above the CSP. This is a more senior role where the Apprentice acts as a point of contact for more complex customer service requests, complaints and queries. They act as an escalation point for difficult and ongoing customer problems.
The CSS, in the normal course of their duties, will gather and analyse data that influences change and improvements in service, utilising both organisational and generic IT systems to carry out their role. CSSs can operate in almost any business environment, including contact centres, retail, service industries and more.
The TQUK Level 3 Diploma for Customer Service Specialists (RQF) will teach Apprentices the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours to work in a high-level customer service environment: improving customer service delivery and satisfaction, attracting new customers, business knowledge, customer journey, service improvements and utilising both organisational and generic IT systems.
The qualification includes units on:
Business knowledge and customer service;
Understand the customer journey;
Customer service culture;
Providing business-focused customer service;
Providing a positive customer experience;
Develop personal skills to enhance customer service.
One of the little things that increase the chance of success for your Apprentice during their EPA is doing a mock assessment.
Mock assessments are basically simulations of real assessments. They are done in order to prepare the Apprentice for the real deal.
Think about it: an Apprentice is going to have a larger chance of success if they know the format, the type of questions they’ll be asked and how they’ll be judged.
Your EPAO, with some early engagement, should be able to provide some guidance on mock assessments for your Apprentice.
(If you’re doing EPA with TQUK, mock assessments can be taken at any time during the apprenticeship. You can also do as many as you think your Apprentice needs.)
On-Programme Assessor Standardisation Training
As assessment experts, we know how important it is to standardise our assessment practice. Training Providers and/or Employer-Providers will have on-programme assessors (sometimes acting also as the Trainer) to track the Apprentice’s progress through the delivery of the apprenticeship’s associated qualifications.
All on-programme assessment should ideally be informed by the End-Point Assessment and should have a consistent approach to assessment and advice given to Apprentices.
TQUK provides on-programme standardisation training for all our Training Providers. Get in touch with your EPAO to see if they do the same.
Higher Pass Rates
We saved the most delicious reason for last.
In our experience as an EPAO so far, Employers and Training Providers that engage with us early on in the apprenticeship process have Apprentices that are much more prepared for their EPA, which gives them much higher pass rates.
Different organisations we’ve worked with, including PGL and Creative Support, are always on the ball and have had high Pass, Merit and Distinction rates for their apprentices as a result.
With the right preparation and early engagement, there’s nothing that will stop your Apprentice from knocking their EPA out of the park!
Did we convince you? We hope so.
Need extra convincing? Call 03333 583 344 to talk to our dedicated team so we can help you with all the preparation and guidance that you need.
The End-Point Assessment (EPA) is coming up, and your Healthcare Assistant Practitioner Apprentice is probably preparing as best as they can.
As the Apprentice’s Trainer/Mentor, you’re doing everything you can to make sure they have all the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours they need.
But there are also loads of extra things you can do to make sure their chances of success are even greater.
In this blog, we’ll offer you some guidance and tips on how to make the EPA a true showcase of your Apprentice’s amazing abilities.
Before we get into any of the assessment components, you’ll need to do some checks.
Make sure that your Healthcare Assistant Practitioner Apprentice has completed everything below so that they can proceed on to the EPA.
In order for your Healthcare Assistant Practioner Apprentice to proceed on to EPA, they must meet the 15 standards of care as set out in the Care Certificate.
The Care Certificate is an identified set of standards that health and social care workers adhere to in their daily working life. Meeting this set of standards ensures that all workers have the same Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours to provide safe, compassionate and high-quality support.
By the end of the Formative Study, your Apprentice should be able to demonstrate the following standards:
Understand their role;
Their personal development;
Duty of care;
Equality and diversity;
Work in a person-centred way;
Privacy and dignity;
Fluids and nutrition;
Awareness of mental health, dementia and learning disability;
Basic life support;
Health and safety;
Infection prevention and control.
You can find a full description of the Care Certificate standards here.
Your Healthcare Assistant Practitioner Apprentice must have received their certificates in Level 2 English and Maths by the Gateway stage to use as evidence for their readiness to undertake EPA.
Level 5 Qualification
As part of their Formative Study, your Apprentice will need to complete a regulated Level 5 occupational competence qualification.
You should keep in mind that your Apprentice needs to have achieved their qualification and received their certificate before Gateway. Keep in contact with your Awarding Organisation to ensure your Apprentice gets their certificate at the agreed time.
Throughout the apprenticeship program, your Apprentice will have kept a Learning Journal to reflect on their development. The Journal needs to be completed in the 3 months leading up to the EPA. Ensure that all evidence for the Journal is gathered before this point.
Once all the above criteria have been met, the Employer will make their final approval and the EPA can begin!
The EPA for the Healthcare Assistant Apprenticeship is made up of three assessment activities:
Multiple-Choice and Short Answer Test;
Observation of Practice;
Reflective Journal and Interview.
Multiple Choice and Short Answer Test
First up, Knowledge!
Your Apprentice will be required to complete a Multiple Choice and Short Answer Test. This component will test their Knowledge of the following criteria in the Apprenticeship Standard:
Principles and philosophy of health and social care;
Physiology, organisation and function of the human body;
Lifespan developments and healthcare needs from prenatal to end of life/bereavement;
Research and development in the health and social care sector to inform and improve quality of care;
Provision and promotion of holistic person centred care and support, duty of care and safeguarding of individuals;
Importance of the strategic environment in health and social care and the implications for the individual;
Importance of current evidence based practice within the scope of the role.
In this test, there will be 40 multiple-choice questions worth one mark each and four short answer questions (approx 250 words each) worth five marks each.
Below is the grading table for this assessment component:
Combined multiple choice and short answer score
TQUK uses online testing software that will allow your Apprentice to take their test on a computer. This software allows for digital invigilation and eliminates the need to book a place in a test centre.
Here are tips to help your Apprentice totally knock this assessment out of the park.
Book extra time to review knowledge criteria: Some Apprentices might struggle with knowledge components. Even if it’s just an hour or two, try to sit down with your Apprentice to make sure their knowledge is sufficient to pass the test.
Do a mock assessment:Mock assessments help your Apprentice get used to the assessment conditions and get a better sense of what questions will be asked of them. They’re also easy to set up and, with TQUK, free of charge. Give them a try!
Check to see if your Apprentice has difficulties with sit-down tests: Some Apprentices don’t do well with sit-down exams as it can make them nervous and apprehensive. Once you know, you can suggest some coping strategies to help them better perform during the test.
Review terminology: There are lots of terms specific to health and social care, and it’s easy to forget a definition here and there. Review the terminology of the sector to make sure your Apprentice understands them and is using them correctly.
Confirm the time and date: The EPA portion of the apprenticeship can be a stressful time. Make sure your Apprentice has the times and dates right.
Observation of Practice
Next up, Skills!
During this portion of the Healthcare Assistant Practitioner EPA, the End-Point Assessor will observe the Apprentice during their normal course of work in their workplace. The Observation should take a minimum of 90 minutes but can last several hours.
To pass the Observation of Practice, your Apprentice must be able to meet the following requirements:
Communicate complex, sensitive information through a variety of methods;
Manage information, keeping accurate records and ensuring confidentiality;
Use and promote a range of techniques to prevent the spread of infection including hand hygiene, the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and waste management;
Promote and maintain a safe and healthy working environment;
Identify and manage risks;
Demonstrate and promote what it means in practice to provide person centres care and support;
Treat people with dignity, respecting an individual’s diversity, beliefs, culture, values, needs, privacy and preferences;
Show respect and empathy for those you work with – have the courage to challenge areas of concern and work to best practice – be adaptable, reliable and consistent;
Show discretion and self-awareness;
Promote effective inter-professional and multi-disciplinary team working with peers, colleagues and staff from other agencies;
Provide appropriate leadership within the scope of the role;
Undertake defined clinical or therapeutic interventions appropriately delegated by a Registered Practitioner.
Here are some tips to help your Apprentice totally nail their Observation.
Take some extra time to review Skills criteria: Go through the Apprenticeship Standard with your Apprentice and identify, in detail, what each criterion may demand, and make sure your Apprentice can do it.
Do a mock assessment: Doing a mock assessment for an Observation would require you to come up with a structure and know what to look for. Get in touch with TQUK to get guidance on how to conduct a great mock Observation.
Relax: An Observation can be very stressful for an Apprentice. After all, the End-Point Assessor is reviewing their every move. Calming the Apprentice’s nerves will help them relax and allow them to do their best work.
Make sure the Apprentice knows where everything is: Your Apprentice may need to use particular items during their Observation, and they may struggle to remember where they are during the Observation. Make a checklist of important items they may need and have them double-check their location before the assessment.
Reflective Journal and Interview
Last up, the Reflective Journal and Interview!
Throughout the course of the apprenticeship, the Apprentice will complete a Reflective Journal where they will reflect on their development and the following components of the Apprenticeship Standard:
Case management: Manage own work and caseload and implements programmes of care in line with current evidence, taking action relative to an individual’s health and care needs.
Supervision and teaching: Allocates work to and supports the development of others and may supervise, teach, mentor and assess other staff as required.
The Journal must be 2,000 words (+/- 10%) and must include evidence of the Values and Behaviours being applied in the context of case management and supervision and teaching.
The Journal must be completed and submitted by the Apprentice in the three month period leading up to the EPA. It will then be reviewed by the End-Point Assessor and serve as a reference point for the Interview.
The Interview will be an opportunity for the Apprentice to further showcase their Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours. If the End-Point Assessor has any questions that arise from their review of the Journal, Observation or Multiple Choice and Short Answer Test, they will raise these issues during the Interview in order to clarify anything. The Interview will be a two-way dialogue.
The Reflective Journal and Interview are graded on a Pass, Merit, Distinction basis by the End-Point Assessor.
The following is a description of the grading criteria from the Apprenticeship Standard assessment plan:
Pass = Meets the Standard
The content of the Reflective Journal:
is organised and uses a recognised referencing system;
uses appropriate language and sentence construction but with some inaccuracies in grammar and spelling;
is able to relate some concepts and theories to practice;
makes satisfactory connections between learning and future practice;
does not go outside the word limit;
is able to engage in a professional discussion and is able to provide evidence that supports practice;
demonstrates the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours set out in the Standard have been met.
Merit = Exceeds the Standard
The Reflective Journal content:
is well organised and uses recognised referencing systems;
uses appropriate language and sentence construction with accurate grammar and spelling;
is able to relate a range of concepts and theories to their practice;
makes good connections between learning and future practices;
does not go outside word limit;
is able to engage in and actively take forward a professional discussion and provides evidence that demonstrates a good level of analysis and synthesis across the range of theories and concepts applied to their practice.
Distinction = Far exceeds the Standard
The Reflective Journal content:
is highly structured and uses a recognised referencing system extensively;
uses appropriate language and sophisticated sentence construction with accurate grammar and spelling;
is able to relate a wide range of concepts and theories to their practice;
draws conclusions and makes insightful connections between learning and future practices;
does not go outside word limit;
is able to engage in a professional discussion in a way that demonstrates a very good exceptional knowledge of the concepts and theories they apply to their practice, including an awareness of the limitation of their knowledge and how this influences any analyses and interpretations based on that knowledge.
Encourage your Apprentice to start their Reflective Journal early: Some Apprentices have trouble expressing themselves well in writing. If your Apprentice has trouble with their writing, advise them that the earlier they start their Reflective Journal, the better. It will give them time to review and make changes over the course of their apprenticeship.
Reference the grading criteria: Advise your Apprentice to follow the grading criteria above for a Distinction when creating their Reflective Journal and encourage them to live up to those criteria. By following this guidance, they will be put in the best place to succeed.
Do a mock assessment: While you can’t do a mock assessment for the Journal, you can do one for the Interview. Submit a request to TQUK asking for mock assessment materials, including mock interview questions and assessment reports, so that your Apprentice is prepared for every eventuality.
Relax: Interviews can be stressful. Do you what you can to prepare your Apprentice and make them feel confident and comfortable before their assessment.
Time and date: Make double-sure your Apprentice has the right time and date for their Interview.
With the guidance above, your Apprentice should have every chance to succeed during the Healthcare Assistant Practitioner EPA.
Thinking about hiring an Apprentice? You’ve come to the perfect place! As an End-Point Assessment Organisation, we’re passionate about apprenticeships and the amazing benefits they bring to businesses across the UK. We think that all companies should hire Apprentices, and we’re not afraid to shout about it!
So, if you’re an Employer interested in hiring an Apprentice, we’re here to help! We know that there are a few rules and regulations you need to get your head around, but we’re dedicated to guiding you through the process. Below, we’ve compiled all the information that you’ll need, from start to finish, in order to hire an Apprentice and take your business to the next level.
1. Why You Should Hire an Apprentice?
Hiring an Apprentice can benefit your business in so many ways. Apprenticeships are designed to train individuals with little or no experience to become fully competent workers who have all of the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours needed to excel in their occupation.
Here are just a few things your business will benefit from by hiring an Apprentice:
An increase in productivity – according to research by the National Apprenticeship Service, a whopping 76% of Employers said that productivity in their workplace had improved because of implementing apprenticeship programmes. 75% of Employers also reported that hiring an Apprentice improved the quality of their product or service!
A decrease in staff turnover – investing major time and energy into training your Apprentice helps secure their loyalty to your company and decrease your staff turnover. In fact, Whitbread, the UK’s largest hotel, restaurant and coffee shop operator, found that turnover rates for entry-level, back-office roles were reduced by 15% on the apprenticeship level. Additionally, nearly three-quarters of their Apprentices stayed with the company for more than 12 months, whereas only a quarter of other employees did.
You contribute to your community – hiring an Apprentice helps combat youth unemployment in your area while also raising your company’s profile! According to a 2015 report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research, five million consumers were more likely to buy from an Apprentice Employer, and one in four consumers would even pay more for goods and services from companies that employed Apprentices.
2. Take the Plunge and Pick Your Standard
The first step to hiring an Apprentice is to identify a role within your company which you would be happy to offer an Apprentice. After that, you can pick an Apprenticeship Standard at a suitable level that matches the job role that you’d like to offer. Before you go ahead, you must ensure that you can offer your Apprentice a role which has 30 paid hours a week or more throughout their entire programme. Your Apprentice’s hours will also include any Off-the-Job Training that they must undertake.
There are a huge variety of Apprenticeship Standards available across many sectors that could benefit you and your business. As an End-Point Assessment Organisation, we offer End-Point Assessment for standards across these sectors:
Before hiring an Apprentice, you should check the government funding that you’re eligible for. If you’d like more information about government funding, then you can check out our article Apprenticeship Funding Rules: Your Ultimate Guide which Employers, Employer-Providers and Training Providers can use to navigate the funding rules. Here’s a short summary below:
The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in 2017 in order to encourage large Employers in the UK to get more involved in the funding and execution of apprenticeships. The Apprenticeship Levy is a tax on businesses with a pay bill of over £3 million. 0.5% of their annual pay bill is collected by the government and reserved to be used as funds for apprenticeship programmes. Funds from the Apprenticeship Levy not used by Employers are reallocated to other apprenticeship programmes.
Do you pay the Apprenticeship Levy?
If you’re hiring an Apprentice and already pay the Apprenticeship Levy, then you can collect your Levy money through setting up an account on the apprenticeship service. This service will allow you to manage your funding and pay Training Providers and End-Point Assessment Organisations for their services as well. You’ll have monthly instalments sent to your apprenticeship service account, and you’ll also receive a 10% top-up from the government.
What are funding bands?
All Employers will receive funding according to the funding band allocated to their Apprenticeship Standard. Funding bands refer to the maximum amount of money the government has allocated to fund each Apprenticeship Standard and ranges from £1,500 to £27,000. Funding bands are numbered from 1-30, with one band allocated to each Apprenticeship Standard. If you pay the Apprenticeship Levy and the costs of your apprenticeship go over the funding band maximum, then you’ll need to pay the difference with other funds from your own budget.
Are you exempt from the Apprenticeship Levy?
Employers who do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy will have to pay a co-investment rate of 5%. This means that the government will pay 95% of the costs of the apprenticeship up to the funding band maximum, and you’ll have to pay the remaining 5% of the costs. However, if the costs of the apprenticeship exceed the funding band maximum, then you’ll need to pay the difference.
4. Does Your Apprentice Tick All The Boxes?
Before hiring an Apprentice, you must check that they meet the following checklist. Your Apprentice must be:
16 years old or older;
Out of full-time education;
Live in England or the country where your company is based;
Have the right to work in England or the country where the company is based;
Spend at least 50% of their working hours in England or the country where your company is based.
If you’re an Employer based in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, it may be worth contacting your local apprenticeship authority to find out more details:
Next, you should find a Training Provider for your Apprentice that offers training for your selected Apprenticeship Standard. The Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers is a great place to start looking, as it contains an extensive list of Training Providers who are eligible to train Apprentices.
If you’re based in England, you can also use the find apprenticeship training tool from gov.uk. Simply click on the link and search for an Apprenticeship Standard by job role or keyword. When you click on your chosen standard you can then start finding a Training Provider. If you already know the name of a Provider which you might be interested in using, then you can also find a Training Provider directly by name.
6. Spread the Message and Advertise Your Apprenticeship
After you’ve chosen your Training Provider, you’ll need to advertise your apprenticeship vacancy and wait for those applications to roll in! Conveniently, you won’t have to do this yourself, as your Training Provider will do this for you through the find an apprenticeship service.
Top Tip: If you’re writing the job description for your Apprentice, include the same details that you would if advertising for a normal job role. Outline the desired qualities that you’d like in a candidate, include a job title, and describe the main duties that your Apprentice will be undertaking along with the purpose of their role.
7. Interview Your Batch of Candidates
Interview your Apprentice candidates as you would any other candidate. Make sure you prepare a list of questions you can use to fairly assess their personality and competence that allows them to show the very best of themselves. If you already have a bank of questions that you use for the role that you’re advertising, you can also use those in your interviews.
Top Tip: Apprentices don’t need to have any former work experience to apply for or enrol in an apprenticeship, so they may not have any. By putting more value on their character than their CV, you’ll have a better chance of finding the right candidate.
8. Pick Your Winner and Sign those Contracts
After you’ve picked the right candidate, you’ll need to sign an apprenticeship agreement with them. Your apprenticeship agreement will describe what you agree to do for your Apprentice, and will outline things like:
You’ll also have to sign a commitment statement with your Apprentice and your Training Provider. Your commitment statement must include:
The planned content of the apprenticeship programme and the schedule for training;
What is expected and offered by you, the Employer, the Training Provider and the Apprentice;
How to resolve queries or complaints.
9. Check How Much You Should Pay Your Apprentice
The minimum that you can pay your Apprentice is the National Minimum Wage, which is currently £3.90/hour. This rate applies to Apprentices who are under 19 and those who are over 19 in the first year of their apprenticeship.
If your Apprentice is over the age of 19 and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship, then you’ll need to pay them the minimum wage rate for their age. So, for example, if your Apprentice is 20 and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship, then you’ll need to pay them the minimum hourly rate for their age group. You can check the minimum wage rates here.
You must pay your Apprentices for their normal working hours, which includes training that is part of their apprenticeship, such as Off-the-Job Training. Apprentices are also entitled to the other benefits and pay that employees at your company receive who are at a similar level. This could include paid holidays and sick pay.
10. Pick Your End-Point Assessment Organisation
End-Point Assessment is the final test for Apprentices during their apprenticeship. This final test includes a mix of assessment activities that Apprentices must complete in order to pass their apprenticeship.
We offer End-Point Assessment for a range of Apprenticeship Standards across multiple sectors. If you’re interested in using our services then you can fill in our contact form or alternatively give us a ring at (+44) 03333 583344. We’d be happy to help!
11. Support Your Apprentice throughout their Programme
There are many things that you can do to support your Apprentice as they begin to work for you. Some tips include:
Providing them with a great induction to their role and making their introduction period as thorough as possible;
Helping them feel comfortable in their surroundings and remaining approachable and open throughout their programme in case they have any questions or concerns;
Offering support and training opportunities in order to show them that you’re dedicated to helping them with their personal and professional development.
As an End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO), we do everything we can to make sure that our Apprentices have every chance to succeed during their End-Point Assessment (EPA). In order to do this, we provide mock assessments for any Apprentice we can.
Mock assessments are, basically, simulations of a real assessment. They’re a great way for the Apprentice to prepare for their final tests.
Whether it’s a written test or a face-to-face interview, a mock assessment can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful EPA.
Why we do mock assessments
There are two main reasons to do a mock assessment before an Apprentice’s EPA: preparation and acclimation.
A mock assessment can help an Apprentice prepare for their real assessment. It allows them to get a better idea of, among other things:
the format of their assessment;
the types of questions that will be asked;
the experience of taking the test; and/or
which sections of the assessment will take longer than others.
Mock assessments also help Apprentices acclimate to the test conditions.
Some Apprentices don’t do well during a sit-down test or an in-person observation. They may not express their knowledge as well in writing as they could in other mediums, or they may feel nervous about being watched during an observation.
When an Apprentice is properly prepared for an assessment, they will not be as frequently tripped up by nerves. As a result, their Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours will be given the best opportunity to shine through when the real assessment takes place.
When to do mock assessments
TQUK’s mock assessments can be taken at any time, but most of the mock assessments we’ve helped conduct take place before Gateway.
After all, the EPA stage of an apprenticeship can be busy and stressful. It’s best to choose a time during the Formative Study when the Apprentice is free to effectively consider the process of the mock assessment and is not too distracted by other work.
Here are two different types of mock assessments and how they might help your Apprentice.
TQUK, as an EPAO, is required to have a large bank of test questions at the ready for any apprenticeship that requires a Knowledge Test for the EPA. We use some of these questions in our mock Knowledge Tests.
In general, these tests take the form of a series of multiple-choice questions, with a stem and four possible answers. They will present a range of hypothetical situations that an Apprentice could encounter in their job role.
In answering, the Apprentice will need to choose the most appropriate response to the situation among the four options given, using their knowledge and judgement.
Questions in each mock Knowledge Test will be written at the same level of difficulty as the real assessment to give the Apprentice an accurate experience of the types of questions that will be asked.
Training Providers can access a mock Knowledge Test for their Apprentice through their Verve EPA account. A test paper and answer key can be downloaded so that the test can be marked in-house.
Doing a mock Knowledge Test will, among other things:
help the Apprentice get a feel for the nature and difficulty of the questions; and
help the Trainer identify which areas the Apprentice may need to improve on.
IMPORTANT: Questions created for mock Knowledge Tests are not used in any EPA activity.
How we create a mock Professional Discussion is similar to how we create a mock Knowledge Test.
For each EPA that contains a Professional Discussion, TQUK creates mock Professional Discussion briefs to help Trainers conduct a great mock assessment.
A Professional Discussion is a structured discussion between the Apprentice and the End-Point Assessor. The End-Point Assessor poses a series of prepared questions to the Apprentice in order to assess their Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours, often followed by a more open-ended discussion. The prepared questions are written against the Apprenticeship Standard criteria.
a mock agenda, which will outline the general structure of the Discussion and provide space to detail any occupational competency and/or learning amplification that needs to be addressed during the Discussion;
a mock feedback record; and
a series of mock base questions that the Trainer can ask the Apprentice during the mock Discussion.
Doing this mock assessment will help the Apprentice get a sense of the format and give them a chance to consider what answers to provide for the real assessment.
It will also help the Trainer identify any areas for improvement, whether it be in the Apprentice’s Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours, or in their performance during the assessment (ie the Apprentice may have become anxious halfway through the Discussionand the Trainer could suggest that they research stress-coping strategies).
During our time as an EPAO, the Professional Discussion is often identified as the assessment activity that Apprentices find the most stressful. With a great mock assessment, your Apprentice will be more likely to knock the real assessment right out of the park.
Other mock assessments
The above are just two examples of mock assessments for your Apprentice that will better prepare them for their EPA. Training Providers can create mock assessments for almost any EPA component.
Get in touch with our team of EPA specialists to get the best guidance on conducting mock assessments.
To keep up to date with the latest news on apprenticeships and EPA, return to our blog, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram.
As an End-Point Assessment Organisation, we are keenly aware of how difficult and confusing apprenticeship funding rules can be. You just want to deliver your apprenticeship program, and then you find out that there are all these complex rules you have to know.
We sympathise. After all, we have to follow them, too!
These rules can be labyrinthine, opaque and positively filled with asterisks of every variety.
But it doesn’t have to be that way. And that’s why we created this ultimate guide.
Whether you’re an Employer, Employer-Provider or Training Provider, we’re going to make all these apprenticeship funding rules as simple as possible.
But first, we need to get a handle on what we’re talking about.
What Are Apprenticeship Standards?
All apprenticeship programmes delivered by Employers are created and delivered against Apprenticeship Standards. Included in these new and improved standards, different from the apprenticeship frameworks that came before them, are a series of knowledge, skills and behaviour criteria created by groups of Employers and recognised by the government.
No matter what apprenticeship you’re delivering, your apprentice’s training must develop against these standards.
This was done in order for apprenticeship programmes to deliver the knowledge, skills and behaviours that employers need in their apprentices.
If you’d like to see the knowledge, skills and behaviours that your apprenticeship standard will require, visit the Institute for Apprenticeship and Technical Education and search for the apprenticeship programme you want to deliver. The corresponding standard will tell you everything they will learn during their training.
Naturally, the type of training they receive will directly affect the funding they get.
More on this later.
All About the Apprenticeship Levy
As part of the 2017 apprenticeship reforms, the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in order to get large employers more involved in the funding and execution of apprenticeship programmes.
This made a lot of sense. There were loads of large organisations out there sitting on large piles of money, not doing anything. So, the government thought, if there’s a skills shortage, why not give big employers a little push to invest in apprenticeships and further education?
And so, the Apprenticeship Levy was born.
In effect, the Apprenticeship Levy is a tax on businesses with a pay bill over £3 million. 0.5% of the cost of their pay bill is collected by the government and reserved for use by that Employer for apprenticeships. Any funds raised that are not used by that employer are reallocated to other apprenticeship programs.
Apprenticeship Funding Rules for Employers
The government funds the vast majority of apprenticeship provision. This is great news for you, the Employer. Apprenticeships are a great way of training new people and ensuring you have the skilled and dedicated staff that will take your company to the next level.
As an Employer, you’ll need to know quite a bit about apprenticeship funding rules, since the nature of the funding you receive is largely dependent on what kind of company you have and the apprenticeship you’re delivering.
Don’t worry, though. Take our hand and we’ll guide you through all the ins and outs of your funding journey.
Setting up an apprenticeship service account
In order to get access to government funding for your apprenticeship program, you’ll need to create an account on the apprenticeship service. This is a digital interface designed to support the uptake of apprenticeships.
You will use the apprenticeship service to manage your apprenticeship funding and pay Training Providers and End-Point Assessment Organisations for their services.
Negotiating prices for training
Once you’ve set up your apprentice service account and your apprentice has started their apprenticeship program, you will need to choose a Training Provider that can deliver your apprentice’s training. You can find an appropriate Training Provider on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers.
You and the Training Provider must negotiate a price for the total cost of each apprenticeship, including the training costs and any subcontracted training. This cost must include the cost of End-Point Assessment, which tends to be more no more than 20% of the funding band maximum.
Key things to keep in mind:
When negotiating the price, you should include any training that overlaps with an apprentice’s prior learning or qualifications. The Training Provider should take prior learning into account when negotiating with you.
Every apprenticeship is entitled to a certain amount of government funding. If the price you negotiate with the Training Provider is higher than the funding band maximum, you must pay the difference. This difference cannot be funded from your apprenticeship service account or co-investment. (More on the co-investment later.)
Levy-Payers and Co-Investors
Once you have negotiated a price for the training for your apprenticeship, you will need to start paying your Training Provider for their services.
But with what money, you ask?
That’s a great question.
Once you have registered your apprenticeship program on the apprenticeship service, you’ll have access to cash. The source of cash and how you pay it will depend on the size of your organisation.
Apprenticeship Levy Payers
If your organisation pays the Apprenticeship Levy, you will have monthly instalments sent to your apprenticeship service account. How much you receive will depend on how much your business has paid for the Apprenticeship Levy. The amount of funding you receive will also include a 10% top-up. Payments will be taken according to the planned duration of the apprenticeship regardless of how training is scheduled.
What about Employers with a Pay Bill Of Less Than £3 Million?
Employers that do not pay the Levy must pay a co-investment fee for their apprenticeship program.
The current co-investment rate stands at 5%.
The government will pay the remaining 95% of the cost of the apprenticeship, up to the funding band maximum.
Where the funding band maximum is exceeded, you must pay all the additional costs above the funding band maximum.
You may agree on a schedule of co-investment payments with your Training Provider, which does not need to match the payments made by each month. However, this payment should ensure that your contributions are at least equal to the required co-investment when your Training Provider reports your contributions.
In order for an apprentice to complete their apprenticeship, they will need to undergo End-Point Assessment.
End-Point Assessment is the final test that verifies that the apprentice has attained all the knowledge, skills and behaviours outlined in the Apprenticeship Standard.
An apprentice can only undertake End-Point Assessment once they have:
Met the minimum duration of the apprenticeship;
Satisfied the Gateway requirements set out in the assessment plan (you can access the assessment plan on the designated page for the apprenticeship on the IFATE website);
You, as the Employer, are confident that the apprentice is ready to undertake the final test.
After you have done so, the Training Provider will get into contact with the EPAO and will lead the relationship with them. This allows the Training Provider to make payment for the End-Point Assessment on your behalf. A written agreement will be drawn up, including arrangements for sharing information with the apprentice, re-takes and payment times.
Be sure that the price you agree with the Training Provider includes the cost of the End-Point Assessment. (This includes the cost of external quality assurance.)
End-Point Assessment tends not to cost more than 20% of the funding band maximum for the apprenticeship.
Apprenticeship Funding Rules for Employer-Providers
This section is for Employer-Providers: employers that have the ability to offer an apprenticeship programme and provide the necessary training.
The funding rules that apply to you are slightly different from those that apply to Employers.
Many of the rules that apply to Employers apply to Employer-Providers as well, so be sure to peruse the sections above.
However, the sections below detail many areas that apply to Employer-Providers specifically.
Assessing the cost of your programme
As an Employer-Provider, you will need to determine the cost of the apprenticeship programme you want to deliver.
You will need to assess the cost of your apprenticeship program and set it against the appropriate government funding band. Costs that are eligible for government funding include:
Delivery of training or Off-the-Job Training through a supporting Training Provider. This could include some or all of the training aspects of a licence to practice or a non-mandatory qualification. There must be a clear overlap between the training and the Apprenticeship Standard criteria;
Registration, examination and certification costs;
Self-directed, online and/or blended learning;
Materials used in the apprenticeship delivery (ie equipment and/or supplies);
Admin included in apprenticeship delivery, including End-Point Assessment;
Time spent by employees/managers supporting or mentoring apprentices;
Additional learning required to re-take an exam related to a qualification or a portion of the End-Point Assessment.
If any of the costs from the above activities are brought in from a third party, they will be funded.
Do not use any subcontractor that subcontracts out to a second level. All your subcontractors must be contracted directly by you.
Since you are delivering the training and assessment, you need to report the full cost of it, including the End-Point Assessment, to the ESFA. This will determine how much of the funds in your apprenticeship service account or government-employer co-investment can be used.
Must enter costs for training and End-Point Assessment into the individualised learning record;
Must evidence how all costs are calculated;
Must account for an apprentice’s prior learning;
Can include payroll, pay slips, expense claims, hourly pay rates for staff delivery training and assessment of apprentices and training plans that include the hours of training delivered;
Can claim salaries plus on-program costs of employees directly involved in the administration of apprenticeship training;
Can claim accommodation and facilities where you can show that it has been used for training or End-Point Assessment;
If the costs you calculate are more than the maximum allowed by the funding band, you must pay the difference between the band maximum and the total cost. This difference cannot be funded by your apprenticeship service account or your co-investment.
Apprenticeship Funding Rules for Training Providers
As a Training Provider, the funding rules you have to follow have a lot to do with the costing of the apprenticeship and the receipt of apprenticeship funding.
The sections below detail the specific apprenticeship funding rules that apply to you.
Learning support and reasonable adjustments
You can get financial support from the government for reasonable adjustments for apprentices with learning difficulties or disabilities.
If you are training an apprentice with learning difficulties, you will need to:
Conduct an assessment to identify the support needed;
Deliver support to meet the apprentice’s identified needs and review progress;
Record and gather the appropriate evidence to show that the actions have been completed and outcomes are recorded;
Report in the ILR that an apprentice has a learning support need and what that support need is.
Learning support will be fixed at a monthly rate of £150 when it has been reported in the ILR for the months in which there is an identified learning need. If your costs exceed £150 per month but are less than £19,000 per annum, you can claim via the earning adjustments statement.
You must promptly claim for learning support through the ILR and the EAS. The government will not pay you for claims from a previous funding year if you do not claim on time.
What can be funded?
Before you begin the training process, make sure your apprentice’s Apprenticeship Standard is approved on your Employer’s apprenticeship service account.
Funds received from this account (and the co-investment) must only be used to cover the costs of training and End-Point Assessment.
The following is a list of eligible costs for funding:
Off-the-Job Training through a Training Provider, or evidenced costs for Employer-Provider delivery. If the training includes a licence to practice or a non-mandatory qualification, there must be a clear overlap between this training and the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed for the Apprenticeship Standard;
Registration, examination and certification costs associated with mandatory qualifications;
Materials used in the delivery of the apprenticeship;
Any costs of administration directly related to the delivery of the apprenticeship;
Time spent by managers/employees supporting or mentoring apprentices;
Additional learning and/or the cost of re-taking an exam linked to a mandatory qualification or any component of the End-Point Assessment.
The activities above should be included in the price you negotiate with the Employer, which should include the price of End-Point Assessment.
Any of these costs can be brought in from a third party, and the government will fund them.
Where you buy the delivery of training from a third party, you must follow subcontracting rules (see below). Funds from an Employer’s apprenticeship service account or co-investment must not be used to fund other services from a third party.
You cannot claim government funding for the following costs:
Any training, optional modules, educational trips or trips to professional events in excess of those required to meet the Apprenticeship Standard. This includes training solely and specifically required for a licence to practice;
Any fees to a third party associated with a licence to practice;
Any fees for non-mandatory qualifications, including registration, examination and certification;
Student membership fees;
End-Point Assessment costs incurred but not included in the price negotiated between the Employer and EPAO;
Functional Skills qualifications;
Repeating the same regulated qualification where the apprentice has already achieved it;
Accommodation costs for the apprentice incurred because of their day-to-day work;
Capital purchases and their maintenance;
Time spent by managers/employees supporting or mentoring the apprentice in areas that are not directly related to apprenticeship training and assessment;
Specific services not related to the delivery and administration of the apprenticeship.
You and the Employer will receive a payment towards the additional cost associated with training if, at the start of the apprenticeship, the apprentice is:
Between 16 and 18 years;
Between 19 and 24 years and has either an Education, Health and Care plan provided by their local authority or has been in the care of their local authority.
As a Training Provider, you will be in charge of preparing the apprentice for the End-Point Assessment.
When working with an Apprenticeship Standard, the Employer will receive government funding up to the funding band limit, which will include the cost of the End-Point Assessment. Monthly instalments will be transferred to you via the Employer’s apprenticeship service account.
Upon completion of the End-Point Assessment, you will pay the End-Point Assessment Organisation for the End-Point Assessment. The Employer will then transfer the agreed amount for End-Point Assessment to you.
If the End-Point Assessment ends up costing more than the agreed cost up to the funding band maximum, you must pay the difference.
You must ensure that the price you agree with the Employer for the apprenticeship includes the amount the Employer has negotiated with the End-Point Assessment Organisation. This includes the cost of external quality assurance.
Be sure to keep records of payment to your EPAO.
Contracting and subcontracting
You can use subcontractors to complement your delivery if requested by the Employer and agreed at the start of the apprenticeship. Subcontractors can deliver full or part of the apprenticeship training.
If you are going to use a subcontractor, they must:
Be either the apprentice’s employer, a connected company or charity; or
Deliver less than £100,000 of apprenticeship training and on-programme assessment under contract across all main providers and employer-providers between 1 April and 31 March each year.
You must perform your own due diligence and research subcontractors to ensure they have quality provision and robust procedures. You must not use a subcontractor where they subcontract out to a second level.
Calculating the cost of an apprenticeship
You, along with the Employer, will negotiate a price for the total cost of each apprenticeship, including training costs and any subcontracted training. These costs must include the cost of End-Point Assessment, which will be negotiated between the Employer and the End-Point Assessment Organisation.
You must account for prior learning when negotiating a price and document how you assessed prior learning.
You must enter the prices for training and End-Point Assessment onto the ILR.
You must not offset the negotiated price with costs of any service provided by the Employer.
Once the price is negotiated, the price upon completion should not be higher.
Where apprenticeship training is not funded from the Employer’s apprenticeship service account, Employers will co-invest 5% of the total negotiated price up to the funding band maximum.
Ensure that you keep evidence of the Employer’s co-investment contribution. Doing so will ensure that funding from the government will continue to be sent to the Employer.
It will be up to you and the Employer to determine a payment schedule for their co-investment. This means the payments could fall outside of a monthly structure.
Exceptions to the Employer co-investments restrictions are:
English and maths;
Where the Employer qualifies for extra support for small employers;
Learning support for the apprentice;
For any additional payment and disadvantage funding; and
Where the Employer delivers their own staff as an Employer-Provider.
At least every three months, you must:
Have collected matching co-investment from Employers; and
Report the cash value, on the ILR, of total employer contributions.
We hope this gave you a better idea of the funding rules involved in apprenticeships. However, to get into the nitty-gritty detail, dive into the IFATE website to make sure your t’s are crossed and your i’s are dotted.
The new apprenticeship standards are designed to improve upon what’s gone before and help with the apprentice’s initial journey into their chosen career, before you know it, they’ll be on the road to success.