As an End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO), TQUK is dedicated to maintaining high quality standards in apprenticeships. The very root of what we do – assessment – is about making sure that apprentices are fully job-ready when they finish their programme and that national standards have been met.

That’s why recent revelations that 4,443 apprentices enrolled in certain higher level apprenticeships have gone unregulated since 2016/17 are so disappointing. In this particular instance, apprentices enrolled in these programmes were with training providers that were not inspected since the programmes began. In short, oversight is missing and there is now a lot of doubt about whether quality standards for these training programmes are being met.

So how did this happen?

Quality Concerns

According to the Department for Education’s apprenticeship accountability statement, responsibility for ensuring the quality of training for higher level apprenticeships is the responsibility of the Office for Students (OfS). However, the OfS has said that their remit only extends to those apprenticeships with a prescribed higher education qualification and that these apprenticeships had no degree element. The way the document is worded, it is not entirely clear who is responsible for what, and when the story broke, Ofsted and the OfS started playing pass the parcel.

A Larger Issue

This situation is representative of an ongoing structural problem with establishing and implementing the required oversight and quality procedures needed for apprenticeships. It is not limited to higher level apprenticeships.

Since TQUK started delivering End-Point Assessment, we have encountered level 2 and 3 apprenticeship standards that do not have confirmed external quality assurers (EQA), despite the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) stating that EQAs would be in place for all apprenticeship standards upon launch. As we have discussed in a previous blog, TQUK is doing everything we can to establish quality procedures that all apprentices deserve. EPAOs are also forced to navigate the often poorly written assessment plans without any support or comparability framework. Apprenticeship standards can easily slip when proper quality assurance procedures aren’t put in place by the regulators.

The Institute for Apprenticeships also continues with its ‘Better, Faster’ campaign to publish more apprenticeship standards while improving the experience for trailblazer groups. This is great and standards need to be released faster. However, not enough has been done to resolve issues raised around some early produced assessment plans which lack detail and have no comparability. Support for EPAOs has also been lacking. There needs to be far more effort to ensure that no apprentice is left behind and that rigorous quality procedures are in place for all apprenticeships.

As an EPAO, we are all about quality. It’s our job to make sure that apprentices receive a quality assessment, and by extension that employers get quality apprentices. We welcome more quality assurance into the apprenticeships process. Above all, we want all organisations involved in apprenticeships to be held accountable.

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To keep to date with the latest EPA news, return to our blog or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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We’ve got exciting news!

TQUK now offers End-Point Assessment for Retail Team Leader apprenticeships!

Retail Team Leaders are vital to any retail establishment. They provide crucial support to their managers and deputise for them in their absence. A large aspect of their role requires guiding and coordinating their retail team to complete tasks and meet business targets that help drive sales. They must also ensure that their team members maintain business standards in regards to product merchandising, customer service and promotional activities.

In this apprenticeship, apprentices will be trained to the highest standard in multiple areas of a retail business. They will gain vital knowledge and skills across the customer, financial, marketing, leadership and sales and promotion aspect of their business, among many other areas.

After they complete their training, apprentices will undertake the final stages of assessment, also known as End-Point Assessment, in order to pass their apprenticeship. End-Point Assessment consists of thorough assessment procedures that ensure an apprentice is able to meet nationally set standards.

The End-Point Assessment for the Retail Team Leader apprenticeship is split into three parts:

  • On-Demand Test
  • Retail Business Project
  • Professional Discussion

On-Demand Test

This 60-minute On-Demand Test will be in multiple-choice format. The questions will test apprentices on the knowledge and skills covered in the Apprenticeship Standard. They will be scenario based and will require apprentices to demonstrate reasoning and joined up thinking against key elements of the Standard. Some questions will require the apprentice to consider a course of action to a problem based on a real-life workplace activity.

Some examples of the subjects the apprentice will be tested on include:

  • Understanding how to support effective communication, quickly determining the situation and needs of individuals and how to respond in the most appropriate way
  • Knowing methods of merchandising throughout the retail operation
  • Understanding the principles of stock control, from sourcing to sale
  • Understanding the knowledge, skills and behaviours required of themselves and others to develop a high performing team in the business

The On-Demand Test will be on-screen and computer marked unless the apprentice requires an alternative method, such as a paper-based exam. The Test will take place in a controlled environment, away from the pressures of work.

Retail Business Project

The Retail Business Project requires the apprentice to plan and undertake a project that focuses on an immediate problem, opportunity or idea relevant to their day to day role. It should include a research proposal, identify measurable improvements in their business and make recommendations for implementation. An example of a Project could be to identify a potential cost-saving measure the business could use through improving efficiency, reducing waste or finding alternative ways of working to achieve business objectives.

The Project will be identified by the apprentice and discussed with their line manager first, then with their on-programme assessor at least one month before their readiness for independent end assessment. This allows the apprentice time to prepare a one-page synopsis of their proposed project which they must bring to their independent end assessment planning meeting. The independent end assessor and the employer will then determine whether the proposed project has the potential to meet the criteria of the Retail Business Project. The Project must contain the following:

  • Introduction and background
  • Outline of challenge or opportunity
  • Aims and objectives
  • Identification of measurable improvements and benefits to the organisation
  • Evidence of consultation and engagement of stakeholders
  • Analysis of costs and commercial context
  • Legislative requirements explained and adhered to
  • Evidence of effective research
  • Justified recommendations for implementation
  • Proposed timeframes for implementation

Once the project proposal has been approved by the independent end assessor, the apprentice will need to undertake their project and present their findings to the assessor within the three month end assessment period. The presentation will take place in a controlled environment and will last 30 minutes long, which includes time for questions and answers at the end.

The apprentice will also need to provide supporting evidence to show that they’ve completed each of the underpinning activities that lead them to make their recommendations to the independent end assessor. Additionally, the apprentice must supply evidence of the actions that they’ve undertaken as part of the Project at least five working days before the presentation. There is no word count and the apprentice can present this information however they’d like, such as in a business report. They must include details of how and what research was undertaken, the costings and how the legal implications have been considered.

Professional Discussion

The Professional Discussion is a structured one-hour discussion between the apprentice and their independent end assessor. Their employer will be in the discussion to provide further examples and support the apprentice, but will not lead or score the Discussion. The independent end assessor who conducts the Professional Discussion should normally be the same person who assessed the Retail Business Project. This allows them to ask the apprentice questions regarding:

  • The period of learning, development and continuous assessment
  • Coverage of the standard
  • Personal development and reflection

The apprentice will be informed of the requirements of the Discussion at least five days in advance. The Professional Discussion is an opportunity for the independent end assessor and employer to discuss the apprentice’s performance across the whole Standard. As part of this, the apprentice can bring materials to the Discussion to help demonstrate their competence. The Professional Discussion will recognise areas that have already been covered in the Retail Business Project so that apprentices will not be re-assessed in an area which they’ve already demonstrated competence in.

Here are a few examples of areas the apprentice must display capability in to pass their Discussion:

  • Explain why it is essential to instil the importance of following procedures to staff
  • Provide examples of how staff are managed effectively, including motivation and development of teams and individual staff members
  • Provide an overview of how the retail operation meets the needs of the business
  • Explain the importance of keeping up to date with current industry trends and provide examples of how this has been achieved

Here are a few examples of areas in which the apprentice must display capability to achieve a Distinction:

  • Demonstrate staff engagement, motivation, performance management and how this has led to increased performance
  • Describe how recommendations for the improvement of quality, cost, value or efficiency have been made and implemented in the organisation
  • Provide mentorship to team members with measurable improvements to the performance of individuals and the team

The Discussion will be conducted in a controlled environment, away from their normal place of work. If all parties can’t meet in the same place, then the Discussion may be conducted using technology such as a video link, as long as fair assessment conditions can be maintained.

After their apprenticeship, apprentices can progress into a junior retail management position.

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Whether you’re an apprentice or employer, we hope this gave you more insight into the Retail Team Leader apprenticeship!

If you’d like to see the range of standards we provide End-Point Assessment for, click here. Otherwise, to keep up to date with the latest news from TQUK EPA, return to our blog or follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

See you around The Hive!

 

 

Every kitchen is an orchestra. One station is the woodwinds, another is the strings, the next is percussion. Every person in each station plays a role that is vital to the overall production, and their contributions must be balanced against each other as they work towards a larger product.

Senior Production Chefs are the conductors of these orchestras who make sure all sections hit the right notes.

Senior Production Chefs work in settings where food is often produced to a high volume, like hospitals, care homes, schools, high street dining establishments and pubs. They often work to the specifications of centrally-produced menus. One of the challenges that Senior Production Chefs face is not only working towards perfection but maintaining that perfection over time and across a large array of dishes. They will be able to work independently or lead a team to maintain their establishment’s brand and reputation.

Apprentices taking on this apprenticeship programme will be trained to the highest standard in a variety of areas. They will demonstrate a range of culinary, food safety, people and business knowledge, skills and behaviours.

After they complete their training programme, apprentices will undergo the final test – the End-Point Assessment. End-Point Assessment is a balanced and rigorous assessment procedure that guarantees an apprentice is able to meet nationally set standards.

The End-Point Assessment for Senior Production Chefs is split into three parts: an On-Demand Test, a Practical Observation and a Professional Discussion. In order to achieve their certification, apprentices must pass every assessment activity.

On-Demand Test

The On-Demand Test will be in a multiple-choice format, with test questions devised and written by the End-Point Assessment Organisation. (That’s us!) The test will take 90 minutes and contain 45 equally weighted questions. In most cases, the test will take place on-screen and will be computer marked. However, in certain instances, paper tests can be provided.

The apprentice, assessor and employer will schedule a time for this test to take place. It will take place in a secure environment free from distraction and interruption.

This activity is designed to test the knowledge the apprentice gained during their apprenticeship. Knowledge areas covered will include, and are not limited to:

  • The importance of monitoring the correct use and maintenance of food production equipment and the procedure for dealing with misuse and malfunctions
  • The importance of combining nutrient groups to produce balanced menu items and dishes
  • The importance of checking that the food production team is meeting the specific needs of individuals
  • How to support and influence the team positively to deliver a high-quality product

Practical Observation

During the Practical Observation, apprentices will demonstrate their skills to the assessor in real time. During the Observation, the assessor will observe the apprentice in their normal place of work for 4 hours and can ask questions to clarify their observations. The Observation will be planned in advance, with the time and place agreed by the apprentice, employer and assessor.

The apprentice will demonstrate key skills and behaviours by supervising the production kitchen while adhering to:

  • Brand / organisational quality, standards and specifications, customer’s individual needs, safe and hygienic working practices
  • Organisational standards to support, inform and update team members
  • Correct use of technology, equipment and resources in daily working practices

During the observation, the apprentice must, among other things:

  • Supervise the production of centrally developed menu items and dishes according to organisational specifications
  • Monitor the production of food to ensure clients’ needs are met
  • Monitor and ensure the effective implementation of food safety management systems
  • Strive to achieve the required outcome and support positive, open communications that help team members achieve the best result for customers and the business

Grading will on a Fail, Pass basis. To Pass the observation, the apprentice must, among other things:

  • Demonstrate commercial understanding by producing food which supports revenue targets, cost reduction, improved performance and maintains profit margins.
  • Supervise the production of quality food items with passion and enthusiasm while maintaining organisational / brand standards, procedures and ensuring clients’ needs are met
  • Monitor the efficient, safe use of kitchen tools, equipment and technology ensuring productivity and business objectives are met.
  • Act as a role model to the team applying communication skills to demonstrate fairness and empathy within a customer-centric culture.

Professional Discussion

The Professional Discussion will take place after all other assessment activities are completed. This assessment activity will be a structured discussion between the apprentice and the assessor and is designed to cover any areas of the apprenticeship standard that were not covered by the other activities. The assessor will ask a minimum of 10 questions based on the criteria in the apprenticeship standard. The Discussion must be structured so as to draw out the best of the apprentice’s energy, enthusiasm, competence and excellence.

The Discussion can be conducted remotely (e.g. using conferencing technology like Skype) if needed and will always take place in a quiet controlled environment, free from distraction and interruption. The Discussion will last 60 minutes and will be marked by the assessor using a standard template.

During the Discussion, the apprentice must demonstrate, among other things:

  • The organisation or brand specifications and how to use them to produce standardised menu items and dishes
  • The importance of keeping up-to-date with product range, brand development, promotions and current trends
  • How to operate efficiently to deliver profit margins, reduce wastage and support the overall financial performance of the business
  • The ability to acquire and share with the team up-to-date information regarding product range, brand development, promotions and current trends

This assessment activity is graded on a Fail, Pass, Distinction basis. To Pass during the Professional Discussion, the apprentice must, among other things:

  • Correctly identify the organisation’s vision, values and brand standards and relate them to the food production
  • Explain the importance of upholding organisational standards and keeping up with product ranges, promotions and current trends
  • Relate the sharing of information regarding product range, brand development, promotions and current trends to the team
  • Identify customer profiles and main competitors and explain how these affect food production, market position and the growth strategy of the organisation.
  • Be able to explain efficient operating methods to deliver profit margins, reduce wastage and support the financial performance of the business and how to implement them

To achieve a Distinction, in addition to the Pass criteria, the apprentice must be able to:

  • Show evidence of proactive leadership, anticipating outcomes and offering solutions to challenges
  • Analyse methods used to develop a positive team-working environment, applying actions that support the team, organisation and stakeholders
  • Be able to confidently appraise team and business performance to support business objectives
  • Be able to generate data to justify profit margins, wastage reduction and cost savings.
  • Be able to propose measures to support due diligence of kitchen legislation

Grading

Once all assessment activities are complete, the assessor will compile all the apprentice’s grades and produce a final grade based on the table below:

Grade Achieved Overall Grade Awarded
Any activity

 

Fail Fail
On-Demand Test

 

 

Pass Pass
Practical Observation

 

Pass
Professional Discussion

 

Pass
On-Demand Test

 

Distinction Pass
Practical Observation

 

Pass
Professional Discussion

 

Pass
On-Demand Test

 

Pass Pass
Practical Observation

 

Pass
Professional Discussion

 

Distinction
On-Demand Test

 

Distinction Distinction
Practical Observation

 

Pass
Professional Discussion

 

Distinction

 

Once the apprentice has successfully completed their apprenticeship, they will be free to progress onto a higher level position, apprenticeship or further training.

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We hope this gave you more insight into the Senior Production Chef apprenticeship!

To keep up to date the latest EPA news, return to our blog, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

See you around The Hive.

Our EPA offer is growing by the month!

After lots of hard work, we’re delighted to announce that we have been approved to deliver EPA for Customer Service Specialist apprenticeships. This addition to our list will perfectly complement our EPA services for Customer Service Practitioner, making TQUK a premier EPAO for customer service-related apprenticeships.

We also have plans in the works to deliver EPA for three more standards!

The addition of Production Chef to our list will fit perfectly with our well regarded EPA services for hospitality and catering apprenticeships. We are also excited to break into new territory when we begin to offer EPA for Children, Young People & Families Practitioner and Children, Young People & Families Manager apprenticeships.

Get all the details below!

Approved

Customer Service Specialist

A Customer Service Specialist can work in all sectors and organisation types. They act as a point of contact for more complex or technical customer service requests, complaints and queries. They are experts in their organisation’s products and/or service and will share that expertise with teams and colleagues to achieve the best possible results for their organisation.

They will gather and analyse data and customer information that can be used to prompt change and improvements in customer service. They should be able to use both organisational and generic IT systems in a variety of environments, including contact centres, retail locations, webchats or customer service points.

End-Point Assessment Components:

  • Practical Observation with Question and Answer
  • Work-Based Project (supported by Interview)
  • Professional Discussion (with Portfolio of Evidence)

Coming Soon

Production Chef

A Production Chef works as part of a team in time-bound and often challenging kitchen environments, including schools, hospitals, the Armed Forces, care homes, high street casual dining establishments and pub kitchens. Production Chefs are likely to work with centrally developed standardised recipes and menus, often producing food in high volumes. They apply highly methodical organisational skills, energy, accuracy and attention to detail, and are mindful of the importance of sustainability and protecting the environment.

A Production Chef will:

  • Maintain excellent standards of personal, food and kitchen hygiene
  • Ensure compliance with procedures, menu specifications and recipes
  • Produce food which meets portion control and budgetary constraints
  • Adapt and produce dishes to meet special dietary, religious and allergenic requirements
  • Follow, complete and maintain production schedules, legislative and quality standard documentation
  • Use specialist kitchen equipment
  • Communicate internally and externally with customers and colleagues
  • Commit to personal development activities

End-Point Assessment Components:

  • On-Demand Test
  • Practical Observation
  • Business Project
  • Professional Discussion

Children, Young People & Families Practitioner

Children, Young People & Families Practitioners work with a range of people and professionals to achieve positive and sustainable change in the lives of children, young people and families. They demonstrate a passion for care and will be skilled in recognising and assessing the complex needs that children, young people and families often present.

Their ultimate aim is to challenge and support children, young people and families to achieve their goals while keeping them safe. They will work alongside other professionals and organisations to improve the lives of individuals and use a range of evidence-based approaches to inform their practice. They will remain effective through a continuous process of review and reflection under an experienced practitioner.

Apprentices can choose between two pathways:

Pathway 1: Practitioner in Children’s Residential Care

Apprentices on this pathway can work in a number of settings, including a children’s home, a residential special school or a secure children’s home. The children might be living on their own or in a larger group. Practitioners will take the lead in developing and delivering the child’s placement plan and will work with the child to support their health, education, social and day-to-day needs, playing a significant role in helping them to thrive and fulfil their potential.

Pathway 2: Children, Young People and Families Practitioner within the Community

Apprentices on this pathway will understand the importance of, and be skilled in, early intervention and safeguarding work. They will manage risk across the spectrum of needs for children, young people and families. They may work in settings as diverse as family homes, youth centres, early years, youth justice, children’s centres, educational settings and the community. They may work with particular age groups, across the full age range or specifically with families. By supporting the confidence and skills of children, young people and families, they will help them to overcome barriers and maximise their independence.

End-Point Assessment Components:

  • Practical Observation
  • Competence Interview (with accompanying Portfolio)

Children, Young People & Families Manager

Children, Young People & Family Managers ensure direction, alignment and commitment, whether it is within their own organisation or across partnerships, to help children, young people and families aspire to achieve sustainable change in their lives. They build teams, manage resources and lead new approaches to work practices that deliver improved outcomes that put the child, young person or family at the centre of practice.

They work in a range of settings which can include local authorities, health organisations, educational settings, early years settings or children’s centres, as well as a wide range of private voluntary and community organisations. They may be solely responsible for the management of a team or service or may be part of a management team. To deliver an effective service, they will work on a multi-agency basis with professionals from many backgrounds, as well as team leaders and managers from their own organisation. They will also inform and improve practice by acting on new research and developments into how the needs of children, young people and families are best met.

Apprentices can choose between two pathways:

Pathway 1: Manager in Children’s Residential Care

Apprentices on this pathway will play a leading role in encouraging a home-centred ethos and creating a sense of purpose for the long-term care and support of children and young people in residential care.

Pathway 2: Children, Young People and Families Manager within the Community

Apprentices on this pathway will work to develop a community-focused environment within a particular group (e.g. early years, youth, youth justice, family work, special educational needs and disability) and build consensus and support for improving outcomes collectively. They will lead and support the development of practice in the care and support of children, young people and families within their community.

End-Point Assessment Components:

  • Situational Judgement Test
  • Competence Interview

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To keep up to date with the latest updates to our EPA offer, return to our blog, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

See you around The Hive.

Having a bully on your team is a serious drag. They decrease morale, goodwill and the willingness of team members to go out of their way for each other. They can also be a huge drain on your team’s productivity and can seriously hamper what you can get done.

As a management apprentice, you have to learn everything it takes to make your team as happy, efficient and productive as possible. In order to do that, you need to make sure that a bully doesn’t find a home on your team. So, here are some tips to help you identify bullying and how to address it.

What is bullying?

Bullying can be hard to define but tends to involve persistent and ongoing acts of incivility or hostility directed towards an individual or group. Ultimately, it is a way of intimidating and dominating others through physical, emotional or psychological control.

The effects

Bullying is extremely prevalent in UK workplaces. A 2015 study conducted by YouGov for TUC found that nearly a third of people (29% of those surveyed) had been bullied at work and more than one in three (36%) people who reported being bullied at work ended up leaving their job because of it.

The effects of workplace bullying are quite stark. Nearly half (46%) of people surveyed said it had an adverse impact on their performance at work. The same proportion believed it had a negative impact on their mental health. More than a quarter (28%) said it had a detrimental effect on them physically. One in five (22%) had to take time off work as a result of being bullied.

A similar study conducted by ACAS in 2015 found that people who experienced consistent bullying suffered from a range of psychological and physical health problems, which often affected their relationships with family and friends. In some cases, bullying even led to individuals developing post-traumatic stress disorder.

How you can address bullying in your workplace

To prevent this from happening in your workplace, here are some things you can do to spot and eliminate bullying.

Have a workplace bullying policy

To prevent bullying, it is best to spell out in clear terms what behaviour is and isn’t acceptable in your workplace in a workplace bullying policy. This can be a reference all employees can turn to in case they experience bullying in their role. This document should outline what constitutes bullying and the HR procedures in place to deal with it in the workplace.

If your organisation does not have a bullying or harassment policy, encourage those in charge to get one in place as soon as possible.

Recognise the telltale signs of bullying

Bullying can be hard to identify from a distance, but the following behaviour can be indicators of bullying:

  • Excessive name-calling, insults or unhealthy/inappropriate jokes
  • Spreading malicious rumours
  • Individuals giving others unachievable or meaningless tasks
  • Overbearing supervision
  • Constant criticism
  • Intentional exclusion of one person or particular people from social gatherings, relevant meetings or important emails
  • Individuals being given too much work
  • Individuals being given unreasonable response times
  • Individuals experiencing threats about their job security without foundation
  • Any form of physical intimidation

Encourage members of your team to come forward with their grievances

Bullying isn’t always observable. It can take the form of subtle and insidious comments, quietly delivered, that can erode the victim’s confidence. This type of bullying doesn’t necessarily leave much tangible evidence. These actions can also be hard to observe outside of the particular interpersonal relationship. One way to combat this is by encouraging all members of staff to come forward with any concerns. Guarantee respectful consideration of all issues.

Address bullying as it happens

If you find yourself in an instance where you can see someone clearly being bullied, one of the best things you can do is take immediate action. Attempt to defuse the situation by taking the person doing the bullying aside and telling them what they are doing and how it is not acceptable. Address the situation informally first and see if their behaviour can be changed. In many cases, consistent reminders of inappropriate behaviour can do the trick. Bullying is often unintentional. Letting people know how their behaviour affects others can be the catalyst they need to change.

If the problem persists, you may want to consider escalating your response to a formal reprimand in line with your workplace bullying policy.

If you receive a report of bullying from someone on your team, look into matters first before you come to a conclusion. Sometimes, bullying can simply result from clashing personalities or a lack of communication. However, take all reports of bullying in your workplace seriously.

Don’t be distracted by good performance

When an individual on a team performs well in their job but behaves badly, their manager can sometimes dismiss their behaviour as a ‘price to pay’. What’s worse, the individual in question will have a rebuttal of any criticisms about their performance: they do what others can’t.

Remember: high performers that make the workplace a hostile environment are actually bad performers. Bullying, if left unaddressed, will hurt your team’s performance in the long run. The performance and productivity you lose won’t be made up by a single person, no matter how good they are.

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You can help make your workplace better now that you know more about it!

To keep up to date with the news about EPA, return to our blog, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

See you around The Hive.

As of the 5th of December, TQUK is the only End-Point Assessment Organisation listed on the Register of Approved End-Point Assessment Organisations approved to deliver EPA for Learning and Development Practitioner and Learning and Development Consultant/Business Partner apprenticeships. We’re very excited to begin working with employers and training providers on these exciting new standards.

What is Learning and Development?

Learning and Development (L&D) is an ongoing educational and training process that aims to improve group or individual performance within an organisation by increasing and honing skills and knowledge. L&D can be used in any area where improvement is needed or skills gaps exist. L&D initiatives are also connected to continuing professional development plans for workers to help them meet their requirements and goals.

Here are a few reasons why companies are investing in L&D

  • When employees learn new skills, they can use those skills for the company. In an ever-changing economy, organisations need to be nimble and respond to opportunities as they present themselves.
  • Employee motivation and satisfaction are incredibly important. Most people stay in roles where learning is continuous and potential for progression is always on the horizon. Learning helps keep things fresh and can help stimulate someone’s imagination and critical thinking.
  • When you engage in L&D, you are addressing your organisation’s weaknesses. By doing so, you will increase consistency, productivity, quality standards and more.
  • Offering L&D increases a company’s reputation and profile.
  • It will also decrease a company’s employee turnover.

In order to get the most out of L&D, businesses need the input of L&D professionals. As an End-Point Assessment Organisation, TQUK is dedicated to ensuring all the L&D apprentices we assess meet the highest standards so that they can meet and surpass the needs of their employers and clients.

If you’re an employer thinking of taking on an L&D apprentice, then read on to find out more about the End-Point Assessment for these L&D apprenticeships:

Learning and Development Practitioner

A Learning and Development Practitioner will specialise in creating new and useful learning and training programmes, primarily for employees of organisations. They work with organisations to design training programmes, deliver training and sustain the benefits of this training.

Learning and Development Practitioners will have experience in a particular field, which can include technical, vocational or behavioural fields, such as food preparation, software design, healthcare provision or any number of other areas. They will use their area expertise and learning and development skills to improve business performance and achieve an organisation’s goals by understanding how people learn and apply that learning in the workplace. The Learning and Development Practitioner can work in a wide range of organisations in the public, private or third sectors and will be dedicated to improving future performance in the workplace at an individual, team and organisational level.

EPA Components:

  • Work Based Project and Professional Discussion
  • Presentation based on Learning Journal

Learning and Development Consultant/Business Partner

Learning and Development Consultant/Business Partners are responsible for identifying areas of improvement in individuals, groups and organisations and finding appropriate L&D solutions to improve them. Learning and Development Consultants/Business Partners also ensure that the L&D techniques they recommend align with the strategic ambitions and objectives of the business, finding creative ways to overcome obstacles. As part of their role, they can influence key stakeholders and make decisions on what the business can and should do in an L&D context.

Learning and Development Consultants/Business Partners must also measure the outcomes and returns on investment. They will usually have expertise in a specific field, whether it be technical, vocational or behavioural.

These apprenticeships can be general or more specialised. Apprentices can focus on a specific L&D area like organisational development, digital learning, resourcing or talent management. Regardless of the area of focus, the role requires good knowledge across all areas of L&D and is business and future-focused.

The role can exist in a range of organisations that span across the private, public and third sector. The individual in this role will typically work alongside employees in Human Resources and will often be supported by an L&D Administrator or an L&D Practitioner.

EPA Components:

  • Work Based Project with Professional Discussion
  • Presentation and Q&A Based on Learning Journal

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We hope that this blog has piqued your interest in L&D apprenticeships and has demonstrated the value that any L&D apprentice can bring to your business!

To keep up to date with the latest EPA news, return to our blog, or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

See you around The Hive!

This Sunday, the 11th of November, will be Armistice Day and Remembrance Day. So we’d like to highlight the importance of these days and take a moment to reflect on the past and the present.

What is Armistice Day and Remembrance Day?

Armistice Day commemorates the day that World War One ended. It honours the armistice signed between the Allies and Germany which took place on 11am on the 11th day of November in 1918 and finally stopped the fighting that raged across the world. Remembrance Day, which also commemorates the lives lost in this War, is held on the second Sunday in November, which is why both days fall on Sunday this year.

A two-minute silence is held at 11am to remember those who died in the First World War and all the other wars that came after. The first two-minute silence was held in Britain on 11th November 1919, a year after WWI ended, when King George V issued a proclamation to the public calling for a two-minute silence to remember those who had lost their lives. Many bow their head and close their eyes during these minutes and spend time reflecting and respecting those who have sacrificed their lives for their country.

Why are Poppies Significant?

In the week before Armistice Day and Remembrance Sunday, you’ll find poppies being sold by volunteers all over the country. Poppies have become a symbol of remembrance because they were the flowers that grew on the battlefields after WWI ended. They are bought and worn by millions across the country every year.

The Poppy Appeal is the Royal British Legion’s biggest fundraising campaign which is held every November. You can donate to The Poppy Appeal by visiting their website. Donations will go towards supporting those who are in need within the Armed Forces community.

A Time to Reflect

2018 marks the 100 year anniversary of the end of WWI. This Sunday, we ask that you put your own life in perspective as you reflect on the terrible effects of war. There are still many parts of the world afflicted by war and conflict today, and Remembrance Day is the perfect opportunity to remind oneself that we are fortunate to live in a peaceful Britain.

We’d like to end this blog with a poem to help you reflect on the past and present as Sunday arrives:

In Flanders Fields by John McCrae

In Flanders fields the poppies blow

Between the crosses, row on row,

That mark our place; and in the sky

The larks, still bravely singing, fly

Scarce heard amid the guns below.

 

We are the Dead. Short days ago

We lived, felt dawn, saw sunset glow,

Loved and were loved, and now we lie,

In Flanders fields.

 

Take up our quarrel with the foe:

To you from failing hands we throw

The torch; be yours to hold it high.

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders fields.

As the rest of England hunkers down for a night of bonfires, cider and fireworks, TQUK is hatching a cunning plot.

On this day, like Guy Fawkes on that fateful night in 1605, TQUK is staging a stunt to completely change the landscape of our workplace.

And by workplace, we mean our upper lips.

All the lads in the office decided to grow out some wily whiskers to help raise funds for men’s physical and mental health with the Movember Foundation UK that funds prostate cancer research, testicular cancer research and mental health and suicide prevention. If you get a chance, donate to the TQUK team to sponsor the growth of our magnificent moustaches.

So today, we thought we’d pay homage to one of the most iconic moustaches out there, made famous by Guy Fawkes himself: the Van Dyke.

The Van Dyke

The Van Dyke was named after the 17th-century Flemish painter Anthony van Dyck and became very popular in Britain and Europe during the 1600s. The style consists of any growth of both a moustache and goatee with clean-shaven cheeks. Within those parameters, there’s loads of variation. You can have upturned whiskers and downturned whiskers, a soul patch or a balbo. The Van Dyke is a very versatile style, open to many personalities and interpretations.

Photograph by Jeremy Barker / Flicker / CC BY 2.0
Photograph by Jeremy Barker / Flicker / CC BY 2.0

Along with Guy Fawkes, other famous sporters of the Van Dyke include Charles I of England, George Armstrong Custer, Vladimir Lenin, Colonel Sanders and Johnny Depp. It is commonly known as a barber’s greatest challenge and a hipster’s fever dream.

It’s every man’s dream to have their facial hair live on in the cultural zeitgeist. Do you think the sumptuous soup strainers of TQUK will live on in similar infamy? We’ll let you decide!

Ash Smith

 

This is some bushy brilliance. Notice how the ends curl up to create an elegant, well-maintained effect. Gorgeous!

Thomas Concannon

A marvellous moustache if there ever was one. It makes us want to strap on some suspenders and visit our local speakeasy. Amazing!

Matt Garrod

A stylish and understated tache that’s the height of sophistication. Brilliant!

Kit Jenkin

Fabulous facial hair is the name of this man’s game. Look at that cocked eyebrow. Brilliant!

Samuel Rossiter

Hold on! We think we have a winner! That is a veritable Van Dyke right there!

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On Bonfire Night, when you’re huddled around a fire, keep an eye out for those pointy whiskers. It just might be a member of the TQUK team!

To get the latest news about EPA, follow us on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and Instagram.

See you around The Hive!

We love seeing apprentices begin their apprenticeships. But after a certain amount of time, one terrible, spooky thought can run through their heads: EPA IS COMING!

EPA can loom large over an apprenticeship. But if you can pluck up some courage, you’ll see that EPA isn’t all that scary after all!

Here are 4 of the most common EPA activities that aren’t as scary as you think!

Situational Judgement/MCQ Test

This assessment activity is the most common of all. But just because it’s common doesn’t mean it’s easy!

Loads of apprentices like to work with their hands and learn by doing, so sitting in a test centre with a written exam isn’t the ideal way for them to show their skills. Lots of people also get terrible nerves when they take tests and don’t perform at their best as a result.

But even those out there with the most intense test jitters can conquer a paper exam without batting an eye! Here are some tips:

  • Plan: No matter what your apprenticeship, this won’t be your average multiple-choice question test. It will pose real-life scenarios to you and you will have to provide appropriate responses. Revise as much as you can ahead of time to make sure you’re prepared for every possible question!
  • Jargon: Any terms you’re not sure of? Look them up! You just might run into them…
  • Relax: At the end of the day, the test is not there to make you look bad. It’s a positive experience to test your knowledge. The more relaxed you are, the more likely you’ll be to do well.

Professional Discussion

The thought of sitting down with an assessor to discuss your apprenticeship can scare the pants off some people. Will you say the right thing? More importantly, will you say the wrong thing? Yikes!

But don’t worry! This jungle cat of an activity is actually just a declawed kitten.

Here are some tips for you to slay the beast:

  • Breathe: Rather than think of it as a ‘professional’ discussion of your work, think of it as a chat with someone about what you’ve done so far. The assessor isn’t there to trip you up. They’re there to make sure you have every opportunity to succeed. So relax, and let everything come out naturally.
  • Give examples: When providing answers, it’s best to give examples of your work and experiences. This will show the breadth and depth of your work.
  • Additional evidence: If you don’t feel you’ve fully demonstrated your knowledge or experience, discuss the possibility of presenting additional evidence with your assessor. This could be something like a witness testimony or an expansion of a portfolio of evidence.

Practical Observation

This one can really wrack peoples’ nerves. Having your assessor standing over your shoulder scrutinising your every move can feel like you’re in the most unpleasant spotlight.

Don’t think of it that way! The observation is your chance to show your assessor what you can do!

Here are some top tips to get you optimised for observation:

  • Chill out: You’ve spent your apprenticeship learning all the skills you have. Now’s the best time to show them off. So relax – you’ve got this!
  • Lingo: Double check to make sure all the terms you’re using are correct.
  • Prepare: This is the most important part. There are loads of ways you can prepare for your observation. Have a chat with your assessor beforehand to see if they can suggest anything you can do to prepare.

Portfolios and Projects

Most likely, you’ve been working on your project for some months. You’ve done your research, collated your material, devised proposals to improve your business. You’ve put in lots of work. So why are you still shaking in your boots?

More than the other assessment activities, this one gives you loads of time to prepare. So here are some things to keep in mind when you’re submitting your project:

  • Double-check: No matter what you’re submitting to your assessor, cast an extra glance over everything to cross the t’s and dot the i’s. There might be some things you missed!
  • Give real examples: When creating your project, stick to using examples and evidence gained from your experience rather than any mock scenarios.
  • Check the apprenticeship standard: Make sure your project covers all necessary areas outlined in the apprenticeship standard to ensure you’re ticking all the boxes.

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See? EPA’s not so spooky after all!

To get the latest tips and tricks about EPA, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Instagram.

See you around The Hive!

When people think of assessment in further education, they tend to think of an assessor standing stoically by a learner making judgements about their abilities.

But in the 21st century, such old-fashioned approaches to assessments are starting to give way to digital methods.

Digital technologies can offer a range of benefits when conducting all kinds of assessments, including:

  • The provision of immediate feedback
  • The potential to increase an apprentice’s autonomy, agency and self-regulation
  • Support for collaborative learning
  • Providing and ensuring authenticity
  • Increasing efficiency and decreasing the assessor’s workload
  • Improving learner performance
  • Improving assessment validity and reliability

We’ve found that digital tech often makes End-Point Assessment (EPA) way easier. Here are some of the ways we use it!

Online exams and invigilation

In an assessment, it’s always good to have options.

For every EPA we conduct, there is always the option of booking test centres where apprentices can take a physical paper test.

However, that’s not always the best option.

Sometimes, it makes more sense to take a test online. It saves loads of time and money. For some apprentices, it makes more sense to take a test from the comfort of their own home or workplace.

TQUK conducts online tests whenever possible and invigilates them using webcam monitoring to ensure that quality standards are maintained. Our online tests are also incorporated into our Verve EPA system, so they are easy for our assessors to manage and track. Apprentices can also access our online system to view and track their own progress.

Where possible, the apprenticeship standards have encouraged EPAOs to be as flexible as possible in offering methods of EPA delivery. And with our online MCQ tests, we’re doing just that.

Not only does an online assessment of this kind make the assessment process more efficient and cost-effective, but it’s also popular with apprentices. According to a recent Jisc report, 62 % of FE learners agreed that e-assessment is convenient and 56% said that e-assessment was more enjoyable than normal assessment.

Remote professional discussions

There are a lot of parties involved in an apprenticeship. There’s the apprentice, the assessor, the trainer, the employer, the employer’s representatives…the list can go on.

When scheduling an EPA, it can be difficult to get all these people in one place. After all, assessors have other clients, employers have lots of work to do and trainers have other apprentices to train.

Luckily, certain assessment activities, like professional discussions, can be conducted remotely. While discussions can be conducted over the phone, conferencing software like Skype or GoToMeeting offer a much richer assessment experience. These programs offer participants the option to customise their discussion by providing documents, audio files and more to give a full picture of the apprentice’s performance and abilities.

E-portfolios

Physical copies are so last year.

E-portfolios are the digital equivalent of paper portfolios, but the term also applies to the underlying systems and tools used to make them possible. The digitisation of physical portfolios offers loads of benefits to the assessment process, allowing assessors to manage electronic evidence against specific criteria. Benefits of e-portfolios include:

  • Saving time: an online system saves our assessors time by removing the need to search for relevant paper-based portfolio materials ahead of meetings, creating reports, travelling to and from meetings and following up with apprentices on their progress.
  • Easy file storage and sharing in real time: evidence can be stored securely online and files can be accessed by both assessors and apprentices. E-portfolios allow for real-time discussion and feedback.
  • Instant progress updates: EPA portfolios are available online 24/7, giving assessors the ability to record and monitor apprentice progress as it happens.
  • Access: Assessors have 24/7 access to all information whenever they need it, without the need for heavy paper-based portfolios that can get lost, damaged or destroyed.
  • Cost reduction: Assessors can log in to the system remotely and significantly reducing travel expenses to the employer’s premises.

TQUK has its own e-portfolio system, Verve EPA, which providers can use to upload an apprentice’s full portfolio. With e-portfolios, assessors, trainers, apprentices and employers are presented with a rich picture of the apprentice’s abilities that is changeable in real time.

Digital assessment trends we’re keeping our eye on

The landscape of assessment is always changing. Here are some things that may affect how assessments are conducted in the future.

  • Gamification: Video games have become so ubiquitous over the last four decades that their presence is being felt in education in a major way. Many pedagogy experts are now using video game design to create learning environments to better engage their learners. Games are increasingly being used by private companies and educational institutions to assess the abilities of learners and candidates with a range of different game types. The data from gamified assessments can also be seamlessly integrated into tracking systems to create useful analytics.
  • Virtual Aristotle: a virtual Aristotle has been the Holy Grail of education and assessment for years. The idea is to create an AI program that is so advanced that it would tailor educational activities to individual learners. Such a program would also be able to learn and develop over time to create a truly individualised and adaptable educational experience. The creation of such a program could create new and exciting assessment methods. We’re excited to see where this goes!
  • Mobile learning and assessment: Everyone has a smartphone these days, and that presents a wide range of opportunities to conduct mobile assessments. Many people feel more comfortable doing work on their mobiles than on PCs these days, so it makes sense that assessment activities will expand to suit this trend. There are challenges to adapting assessments to mobile devices, but the rewards could be enormous.

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We’re excited to see how the assessment landscape will change over the years through the advancement of new digital technology. To keep up to date with the latest EPA news from TQUK, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

See you around The Hive!

The Chef de Partie, also known as a Station Chef, is one of the hardest working members of the kitchen. They are responsible for running a specific section of the kitchen, such as the appetiser or the meat section. Without Chef de Parties, the careful division of labour in the kitchen would not be upheld, and restaurant service would fall apart. Depending on the size of the establishment, they may have several assistants or be the only worker in that department. A few examples of Chef de Partie titles can include:

  • The Butcher Chef, or the Boucher. They are in charge of preparing meats and poultry before they are delivered to their stations.
  • The Pantry Chef, or the Garde Manger. They are responsible for preparing cold dishes, such as salads and pâtés.
  • The Pastry Chef, or the Patissier. They are responsible for all baked goods–pastries and desserts abound!
  • The Vegetable Chef, or the Entremetier. They prepare items like vegetables, soups, starches and eggs.

Hiring an apprentice Chef de Partie is the perfect way to train up an individual to match your establishment’s needs so that they can fit seamlessly into your kitchen and provide much-needed help. Apprentices can also bring a wealth of benefits to your business such as an increase in productivity, a decrease in staff turnover and an influx of new ideas.

A Chef de Partie apprenticeship will typically last for 12-18 months, and apprentices will learn key skills such as:

  • How to produce a large range of dishes including meat, poultry, fish and vegetable dishes.
  • How to store ingredients and prepare dishes to deliver a quality product that is safe for the consumer.
  • How to handle multiple tasks and direct others as appropriate.
  • How to work collaboratively with their team and with colleagues in other parts of their organisation.

The End-Point Assessment

The End-Point Assessment for the Chef de Partie apprenticeship is comprised of four components including:

  • Two Hour On-Demand Multiple Choice Test
  • Four Hour Practical Observation
  • Culinary Challenge Project and Observation
  • 90-minute Professional Discussion

All assessment activities must be completed within two months at the end of the apprenticeship. The On-Demand Test, Practical Observation and Culinary Challenge can be undertaken in any order but the Professional Discussion must be the last activity completed.

Each component is given a Pass or Distinction grade. The apprentice’s final grade will be based on the combination of their overall performance in all the assessment activities. In order to pass, the apprentice must achieve 1 point for each of the four assessment components. Once the apprentice has achieved at least a pass in every assessment element, the final grade can be calculated as follows:

 

 

GRADING TABLE

 

Points for On-Demand Test + Professional Discussion

 

2

 

3

 

4

Points for Practical Observation + Culinary Challenge  

2

 

Pass

 

Pass

 

Pass

 

4

 

Pass

 

Pass

 

Pass

 

6

 

Pass

 

Distinction

 

Distinction

 

On-Demand Test

The two-hour on-demand test will be in multiple-choice format. The questions will be scenario based and will require the apprentice to show reasoning and joined up thinking. They must demonstrate that they can perform against key elements of the standard. The On-Demand Test will be on-screen and computer marked, and the assessment will take place in a ‘controlled’ environment away from the day to day pressures of work.

The questions will cover topics such as:

  • The principles of an effective team, including the roles and responsibilities of team members and how team dynamics can affect the success of the team
  • Customer preferences and customer profiling, including religious, medical and dietary requirements
  • Common categories of costs and their relative proportions in the food production industry
  • Principles of food waste control
  • Classical and modern techniques of food preparation, cooking and finishing
  • The importance of maintaining brand standards and business reputation

Practical Observation

The four-hour Practical Observation is an observation of the apprentice in the kitchen environment and must include customer interaction. During the observation, the apprentice should have the opportunity to demonstrate their competence in the preparation, cooking and service of dishes.

The Observation must:

  • Be conducted at a time which reflects typical working conditions and avoids seasonal periods of low levels of trading
  • Allow the apprentice to demonstrate all aspects of the standard being observed
  • Take a synoptic approach to observing their overall competence

The apprentice and employer must provide a two-week working schedule and must be planned in advance.

In the Practical Observation, the apprentice must show key competencies such as:

  • Ensure that all their actions are in line with the business standard and dish specification
  • Ensure that their activities comply with legal requirements, industry regulation, professional codes and organisational policies
  • Communicate effectively with their team, customers and other departments
  • Ensure the food and food production areas are prepared for service
  • Ensure that stock and resources are ready for service and address any shortages or issues with stock accordingly

Culinary Challenge Project and Observation

The three-hour Culinary Challenge and Observation will be an opportunity for the apprentice to display their precision and creativity. The Challenge requires the apprentice to design and cost a menu, which must comprise of three starters, three main courses and three desserts. The apprentice will submit this menu to the independent end assessor at least two weeks before the Observation, and the assessor will select the three dishes the apprentice must prepare in the assessment. On the day, the apprentice will produce a three-course meal from their menu for two people in three hours which will comprise of one starter, one main and one dessert. The apprentice will prepare a full recipe with a time plan before the assessment.

The menu design must adhere to certain standards outlined in the assessment plan such as:

  • It must be a three-course menu comprising of three starters, three main courses and three desserts
  • The menu should reflect current trends and should link to customer expectations, and, where appropriate, the organisation’s style
  • The apprentice must design the menu independently and should not incorporate any dishes from the organisation’s menu

In the Culinary Challenge Observation, the apprentice must follow certain guidelines such as:

  • They must prepare, cook and serve two portions of each course (starter, main course, dessert) within a three hour time window
  • Either their starter or main course must incorporate meat, fish or poultry, which must be prepared from ‘whole’ – e.g. from a whole duck, whole turbot or whole rabbit
  • Their main course must have at least two vegetable accompaniments appropriate to the dish

In order to pass the culinary challenge, the apprentice must demonstrate key competencies outlined in the standard such as:

  • Provide evidence of research into the menu and dish options appropriate to the situation
  • Produce a balanced menu with a range of dishes incorporating different skills and techniques for a range of foods
  • Produce costings for the dishes appropriate to the dish prices
  • Ensure their activities comply with legal requirements, industry regulation, professional codes and organisational policies
  • Produce dishes on time in line with menu specifications

Professional Discussion

Before the Professional Discussion, the apprentice must write a log of complex dishes which will be reviewed in the Discussion. This log is the apprentice’s opportunity to present a variety of complex dishes they have prepared with full recipes, time plans, food safety controls and photos. The log should reflect the dishes produced and should not record the individual stages of preparation. (For example, a cheese soufflé would be an appropriate inclusion but grating cheese would not.) The log can contain dishes prepared at any stage during the apprentice’s learning and development period as long as they are complex enough. The complexity of these dishes may manifest itself in any of the following:

  • The raw ingredient and the preparation methods required, for example, advanced butchery
  • The number or combination of preparation, cooking and finishing methods
  • The combination of flavours, tastes and ingredients
  • The preparation and care taken to avoid errors with technical processes
  • The precision with which preparation, cooking and service is executed
  • The tools and equipment required to produce the dish to the required standard

The 90 minute Professional Discussion is a structured discussion between the apprentice and their independent end assessor. This Discussion will require 30 minutes to be used for review of the log of complex dishes and costings for the Culinary Challenge. The Discussion will be planned in advance to allow the apprentice to prepare fully so that they can demonstrate their competence and application against multiple areas of the standard, such as dish evaluation.

The Professional Discussion will be conducted in a ‘controlled environment’ i.e. in a quiet room away from the apprentice’s normal place of work. The assessor should recognise areas which have already been covered in the Observation and Culinary Challenge so that they don’t re-assess the apprentice in an area which they’ve already demonstrated competence in.

In order to pass the Professional Discussion, the apprentice must demonstrate competencies outlined in the standard such as:

  • Explain why it is essential to instil the importance of company vision, values, empowerment and following procedures to staff
  • Provide an overview of how the food production operation meets the needs of the business and customer
  • Explain the importance of keeping up to date with current industry trends and provide examples of how this has been achieved
  • Provide evidence to show they have been part of effective planning and review in the team

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We hope this gave you some more insight into the EPA for Chef de Partie apprentices. After the completion of their apprenticeship, apprentices can progress into a senior culinary chef role and will be fully ready to help your organisation thrive!

To keep up to date with all the latest news from TQUK EPA, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

See you around The Hive!

Adam Smith once said that Britain was a “nation of shopkeepers”. For centuries, Brits have been some of the best merchants, shopkeepers, retailers, importers and exporters around the world. Trade is in our history, in our DNA.

In modern Britain, retail has seen some ups and down. UK retailers are experiencing some tough circumstances in a very competitive marketplace. They face vast amounts of disruption from price inflation, digital disruption and customization, among other things.

These challenges may be formidable, but they also present massive opportunities for retail operations to evolve and adapt to the 21st century.

There are some exciting things happening in the retail world because of these challenges, from the evolution of the high street, the balancing of digital and physical presences and sustainability. This evolution is ultimately occurring to suit the new behaviours of consumers.

In order for retailers to respond effectively to change, they need retailers who are properly trained in all the industry’s ins and outs. Apprenticeship standards are doing a fantastic job of incorporating tried-and-true methods of work with requirements for new skills that will train apprentices to take their businesses into the future.

End-Point Assessment

After a rigorous and innovative training programme, apprentices must undergo a stringent End-Point Assessment (EPA).

As an End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO), TQUK EPA is dedicated to ensuring that all standards outlined in an apprentice’s assessment plan are met. This assessment will ensure that the apprentice has all the knowledge, skills and behaviours necessary to excel in their role.

On Demand Test

The On Demand Test will be a 30 minute multiple choice test that will contain scenario-based questions. This portion of the EPA is meant to primarily test the apprentice’s knowledge of a range of subjects. Questions contained within the Test are set and marked by the EPAO and will take place either on the employer’s premises or off-site in an approved location.

The knowledge tested during the Test will include elements from the following areas:

  • Financial
  • Communications
  • Brand reputation
  • Merchandising
  • Stock
  • Marketing
  • Legal and governance
  • Environment

Some questions in the Test will require the apprentice to consider a course of action or solution to a situation/problem based in the workplace. The apprentice will be required to demonstrate reasoning and joined up thinking, showing synoptic performance against the key elements of the standard.

Apprentices will complete their Test on-screen unless otherwise arranged. Mock tests can be provided by TQUK EPA as required.

Marking

The EPA Assessor will invigilate the Test. The final test paper will be sent to TQUK EPA for marking to ensure a controlled marking process.

Practical Observation

The Practical Observation will assess the apprentice’s skills, knowledge and behaviours, and will be a planned in conjunction with the apprentice and employer. During the two hour Observation, the EPA Assessor will observe the apprentice during their normal work hours to ensure that they are fully competent in their job. The Observation must include customer interaction.

During the Observation, the apprentice will move from one area/function of the business to another to best demonstrate how they have applied their knowledge, skills and behaviours in a real work environment to achieve genuine and demanding work objectives.

The Observation will cover the following areas outlined in the apprenticeship standard:

  • Customer
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Brand reputation
  • Financial
  • Marketing
  • Sales and promotion
  • Product and service
  • Merchandising
  • Technical
  • Team
  • Legal and governance
  • Diversity
  • Environment

In the Observation, the apprentice must demonstrate competence against all the assessment criteria. In order to receive a Distinction, any opportunities to cover the assessment criteria must be taken.

The Observation will be scheduled when the apprentice will be working in their normal place of work and will also:

  • Be conducted at a time which reflects typical working conditions and avoids seasonal periods of low levels of trading
  • Allow the apprentice to demonstrate all aspects of the standard being observed
  • Take a synoptic approach to observing the overall competence

(For certain retail operations, the presence of an EPA Assessor may have an adverse impact on customer behaviour. In such a situation, should the method described above not be feasible, the EPA Assessor must propose an alternative method. This could include the EPA Assessor observing whilst posing as a customer or other member of the team and utilising additional information through audio/video recordings and witness testimonies.)

Professional Discussion

The Professional Discussion will be a one hour structured meeting between the EPA Assessor and the apprentice that will take place in a quiet, controlled environment away from the normal place of work. The Discussion will be led by the EPA Assessor and can involve input from the apprentice’s employer/supervisor to support the apprentice in their answers. The Discussion will focus on how the apprentice performed during the apprenticeship and their overall demonstration of their knowledge, skills and behaviours. The Discussion will be structured so as to bring out the apprentice’s best qualities.

It will allow the EPA Assessor to ask the apprentice questions about:

  • The period of learning, development and continuous assessment
  • Coverage of the standard
  • Personal development and reflection

The Professional Discussion will cover the following areas of the apprenticeship standard:

  • Customer
  • Business
  • Communications
  • Brand reputation
  • Financial
  • Marketing
  • Sales and promotion
  • Product and service
  • Merchandising
  • Technical
  • Team
  • Legal and governance
  • Diversity
  • Environment

The purpose of the Discussion is to plug any gaps that the assessor may have noticed during the EPA, and to elaborate on any areas that were not covered in the other two activities. It will also give the apprentice extra opportunities to display their best qualities to the assessor.

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And that’s it!

Once your apprentice has completed their EPA, they will be ready to go as a full-fledged member of your team. The future of retail is waiting for you with an apprentice ready to go!

To keep up to date with all the latest news from TQUK EPA, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

See you around The Hive!

 

One of the most interesting things about the culinary world is that so many chefs begin their career with an apprenticeship, a much larger proportion than other sectors. During culinary apprenticeships, young chefs study under the supervision of a master chef in order to soak up all their knowledge. Many apprentice chefs also travel within and outside their home countries, developing their skills by testing themselves in different environments and exposing themselves to new forms of cooking.

To show you where a culinary apprenticeship can take you, here are 8 renowned UK chefs that started out as apprentices.

Heston Blumenthal

Photograph by Andrew Kneebone / Flicker / CC BY-SA 2.0

Heston Blumenthal is a very bright star in the UK’s gastronomic landscape. When he left school at eighteen, Blumenthal began an apprenticeship at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir Aux Quat’Saisons and over the next ten years took other odd jobs while teaching himself classical French cuisine in the evenings.

Blumenthal is best known for his revolutionary restaurant in Bray, Berkshire, The Fat Duck, that offers up multi-sensory dining experiences. It is also the place where Blumenthal further developed his unique scientific approach to cooking.

Blumenthal is not chained to culinary orthodoxy – he has come up with some of the world’s most unusual and striking dishes. Think triple cooked chips, snail porridge, parsnip cereal and even bacon and egg ice cream!

Clare Smyth

Claire Smyth is widely celebrated as one of the greatest chefs in the world, being named World’s Best Female Chef 2018 by The World’s 50 Best Restaurants.

It’s not surprising with such an impressive pedigree.

While at culinary college, Smyth served as an apprentice at Grayshott Hall, Surrey. She continued her training at a variety of restaurants in Australia, Cornwall and London before landing a post at Restaurant Gordon Ramsay with the titular, world-famous chef.

Her new restaurant, Core, in London’s Notting Hill, celebrates British ingredients with her most famous dish being Potato and Roe. Core was voted the World’s Third Best Restaurant by The Good Food Guide.

Gordon Ramsay

Photograph by gordonramsaysubmissions/ Flickr/ CC BY 2.0
Photograph by gordonramsaysubmissions/ Flickr/ CC BY 2.0

This man needs no introduction. If you haven’t seen Kitchen Nightmares, Hell’s Kitchen or been to one of his many restaurants around the world, then you’ve been living under a culinary rock.

Suffice to say, Ramsay is by far and away the world’s most popular chef, and certainly one of the most successful from the UK. His fiery personality and cutting-edge cuisine have made him a darling of both food connoisseurs and mainstream audiences. He owns and manages 40 restaurants worldwide that have a combined 22 Michelin stars.

Not bad for someone who started off as an apprentice in hotel management, and whose enrolment in catering college was described by the chef and businessman as “a complete accident”!

Rachel Humphrey

Rachel Humphrey is the Head Chef at the revered Le Gavroche restaurant in London and has had a long and prestigious career since she’s been there.

Humphrey joined Le Gavroche as an apprentice after leaving school in 1996, first becoming a Commis Chef in 1998, Chef De Partie in 2003 and then Sous Chef in 2004. (We think she would’ve loved our list of apprenticeship standards in hospitality!) In 2008, she was promoted to Head Chef and became the first female Head Chef in the restaurant’s 40-year history at just 30 years old.

Humphrey was instrumental in livening up the restaurant’s heavy classical French menu, emphasising seasonal produce and lighter, more contemporary dishes.

Jamie Oliver

Photograph by Land Rover MENA / Flicker / CC BY 2.0
Photograph by Land Rover MENA / Flicker / CC BY 2.0

Known for his bubbly personality and perennial nice-guy demeanour, Jamie Oliver has become one of the most well-known, well-liked and successful British chef in the last 20 years.

Oliver left school at 16 with two GCSEs in Art and Geology and began his culinary career by enrolling in a home economics apprenticeship at Westminster College. This vital stepping stone was just what he needed to get started on his now legendary career. While acting as Sous Chef at The River Café in Fulham, he was noticed by the BBC in 1997 and two years later his TV programme, The Naked Chef, debuted on the channel.

Oliver’s chain of restaurants has become well known for its apprenticeship programmes. In his establishments, many individuals coming from disadvantaged backgrounds are given a chance to succeed in the food industry.

Michael Caines

Photograph by Chris Allen / geograph.org / CC BY-SA 2.0
Photograph by Chris Allen / geograph.org / CC BY-SA 2.0

Michael Caines is perhaps one of the most impressive chefs in the UK. He’s overcome a serious disability to become an industry icon with a Europe-wide reputation for catering brilliance.

At 18, Caines attended Exeter Catering College and undertook a series of apprenticeships at impressive establishments, like the Grosvenor House Hotel and Le Manoir. Then, at age 25, he lost his arm in a car accident. This would be a hard enough ordeal for anyone, but it was even more so for a man in a profession that requires extensive use of his hands. But he did not let this tragedy stop him. He went on to become head chef at Gidley Park, winning two Michelin stars by combining classical French cooking with the finest produce in the South West of England. He also co-owns a chain of boutique hotels.

Caines has also shown a desire to promote apprenticeships in the hospitality sector. He helped pioneer the Michael Caines Academy at Exeter College, widely considered to be the ‘Oxbridge’ of the culinary world.

Monica Galetti

The Samoan-born, Kiwi, London-based chef is best known for her appearances on the hit BBC TV series, Masterchef: The Professionals. Her reputation extends inside and outside the culinary world, as she also acts as an official UK Tourism Ambassador.

Galetti’s first job was as an apprentice in a kitchen. She entered cooking competitions in Australia, America and Europe until she began to look for a position in London by sending her CV to top restaurateurs.

After moving from Wellington, New Zealand, to London, she worked her way through the ranks of the two Michelin starred Le Gavroche to become Senior Sous Chef, the first woman to hold such a position in the history of the restaurant. She later launched and was Head Chef at Le Gavroche des Tropiques in Mauritius. In 2017, she opened a new restaurant in London called Mere with her husband David Galetti that blends classical French and South Pacific influences.

Mark Jarvis

Mark Jarvis is one of the rising stars of London’s restaurant scene, with his third restaurant, Stem, opening in March 2018 to great reviews.

He began his career with an apprenticeship at Chartridge Conference Company and worked his way up the ranks of Oxfordshire kitchens to a position at Raymond Blanc’s Le Manoir, before opening Blanc’s pub, The Thatch, as Developing Chef in 2007. He has also worked in revered restaurants including Sauterelle, Texture, Blueprint Café and The Bingham Hotel. He’s known throughout London for his unique take on modern fusion cooking.

Jarvis is set to open even more restaurants around London if the success of his current venture continues.

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What connects all these individuals is, regardless of their style and approach to food, is their dedication to quality. No chef rises above the ranks without adhering to rigorous standards. As an EPAO, TQUK is honoured to help apprentices across the UK meet thorough EPA standards and provide them with challenges that will help them learn and grow for the future.

To keep up to date with the latest TQUK EPA news, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

See you around The Hive!

 

Do you know who to call?

EPA can be a spooky business. There are so many rules, regulations and people involved that it can feel like a paranormal world. One look at an assessment plan and you might think, “No human being would create a document like this.”

But it’s easy to make EPA work for you and your apprentice.

If you’ve got EPA problems that verge on the supernatural, then pick up the phone and call…TQUK!

No matter what your EPA troubles are, we’re ready to believe you!

Scared of the EPA process?

Did you just get to Gateway? Having some jitters about crossing those streams?

Put those fears away!

End-Point Assessment (EPA) is a pretty straightforward process. Once the apprentice reaches the end of the training programme, they must undergo a final assessment, made up of several activities, in order to ensure they have all the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need.

Starting your first EPA can be a bit daunting. But TQUK will be with you every step of the way to make sure you’re doing everything you need to do. Call 03333 583 344 to talk to our EPA professionals or read on to see all the ways we can help you.

Scared of 20% Off-the-Job Training commitments?

You may have heard some whispers about Off-the-Job Training. Some people thought this one little commitment would cause disasters of biblical proportions.

But Off-the-Job Training is an indispensable part of creating high-quality, work-ready apprentices.

The rule ensures that apprentices get plenty of time to attain all the knowledge and the skills they’ll need to perform optimally in their role. This means 20% of their contracted payable hours will be spent learning everything they need to meet all the criteria outlined in the apprenticeship standard.

The rule benefits both the employer and the apprentice. By investing time and energy early in the apprentice’s training, the employer will end up with a better-skilled worker at the end of the process, and the apprentice will be able to respond with confidence to any situation they may come across.

Scared of no resources?

Are you scared beyond the capacity of rational thought of being all alone in the EPA process?

There’s no need to fret!

TQUK has been dedicated to being that guiding hand through this scary time in the apprenticeship process. We do our utmost to engage with you early, supporting you to make all the right choices.

That’s why we created loads of resources to help all stakeholders – employers, training providers and assessors – to understand the process.

Looking for a quick and easy summary of an apprenticeship and its EPA? We’ve got Factsheets.

Apprentices need help preparing for EPA? We’ve got learner packs to help them prepare.

Want to manage and track apprentice progress? We’ve got an online EPA management tool with downloadable documents and scheduling functions so you have everything in one place.

Scared of unclear fees?

It’s hard for some EPAOs. EPA fees can go up and down depending on standards, costs and other factors. Generally, you don’t see that kind of behaviour in a company trying to offer a reliable service.

Our fees, on the other hand, are available in black and orange right here on our site. We try to offer the most competitive price we can so that you can spend your cash on more training and resources. You just have to visit one of our pages to see!

Our payment structure is also extremely flexible. Our 25% upfront cost also works for withdrawn apprentices – you can use your registration fees for your next cohort.

If you need some extra assurance, we have a price list we can send you that will have answers to all the questions you need. Just get in touch!

Worried about no mock assessments?

Every EPAO has its own myth about the end of the assessment.

We know what happens when people are properly prepared: they tend to succeed. That’s why we’ve developed a comprehensive series of mock assessments to help you get started.

Our star of the show is our mock multiple-choice question papers. When apprentices are required to take an MCQ test as part of their EPA, we provide mock MCQs to prepare apprentices for the types of subjects that will be covered and the style of questions that will be asked. By familiarising apprentices with the assessment early, they’re more likely to do well.

Scared of the Apprenticeship Levy?

Back off man, we’re an EPAO! We know what we’re talking about. And we say the Apprenticeship Levy is awesome!

The Apprenticeship Levy applies to all companies in the UK with a pay bill over £3 million. It’s meant to raise funds for apprenticeships across the UK. All funds raised through the Levy will be available to individual companies through an online portal. They’ll also be topped up by 10% by the government, giving you more cash to spend on apprenticeship training.

Money raised from the Levy will also be used for EPA. We can work with you to make sure you’re using your funds correctly.

All it takes is a little elbow grease to make this money flow. It’s there anyway – you might as well use it!

Spooked by unclear assessment plans?

Unclear assessment plans have caused some trouble. A bad assessment plan can result in total protonic reversal in an apprenticeship.

As assessment experts, TQUK makes sure we conduct fair and objective assessments of all apprentices. We make a point of going the extra mile to work with other EPAOs and the Institute of Apprenticeships to overcome any hurdle we come across.

No EQA challenge is too large for us!

Scared of first-time EPA bungles?

Doing EPA for the first time? So confused that you feel like you’ve been possessed by Zuul?

TQUK is there with Neutrona Wands in hand, ready to dispel that confusion.

EPA differs from normal types of assessment. There are loads of rules that you have to follow. For assessors conducting EPA for the first time, it can be a daunting prospect.

That’s why we offer free-of-charge EPA training to all assessors! By doing this, assessors can hit the ground running with confidence in their understanding of how EPA works.

We also offer mock versions of several assessment activities to prepare the assessor for the activities they’ll be conducting with their apprentice. This way, they’ll be able to get their EPA hats on nice and early.

Get in touch to arrange your free training session!

Afraid of minimum registrations?

A lot of employers are worried about getting slimed by minimum registrations. Many EPAOs require minimum registrations to justify the fees they charge.

Well, not us!

Based on our pricing structure and our digital platforms, we’re able to be a lot more nimble than other EPAOs. Even if you have only one apprentice registered with us, we’ll be there to help you along the way.

Just like the Ghostbusters, we’ll go wherever we have to to get the job done!

Scared of working with too many organisations?

Feel like you’re working with as many companies as ghosts in New York City?

Some employers have to work with two or more organisations throughout the apprenticeship process. This can lead to a lot of crossed lines and confusion. Wouldn’t it be better to have all services in one place?

As an awarding organisation, TQUK also delivers regulated qualifications, which can be used in conjunction with several apprenticeship standards. Instead of working with two or three organisations to get your apprentices assessed and completed, you can work with just one – us!

Our qualifications are designed as standalone qualifications and have been constructed to suit the requirements of the apprenticeship standards as well. Find out which apprenticeships you can get regulated qualifications with here.

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With our trusty assessors at hand, we’re going all around the UK, busting EPA myths.

If you want to keep up to date on all the EPAs we’re busting, you can follow our exploits on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and Instagram.

See you around The Hive.

As an End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO), TQUK is always on the lookout for quality people to join our End-Point Assessment (EPA) team. Within that team, EPA Assessors are the worker bees in The Hive. They’re the people who deliver the amazing service we offer.

EPA Assessors verify an apprentice’s occupational competence during their End-Point Assessment and are meant to be fair and impartial arbiters of quality. They always come to an objective assessment of an apprentice’s knowledge, skills and abilities at the end of their programme. Being an EPA Assessor also requires individuals to be flexible in their approach to assessment and create situations where an apprentice’s best qualities can shine through.

Being an EPA Assessor is one of the best jobs in further education right now, and there are loads of reasons why. To get you started, here are three perks of being an EPA Assessor!

You Can Travel All Over the UK

EPA Assessors have to be nimble. Like our symbol, the humble honeybee, they travel all across the UK, dispensing the pollen of their knowledge and experience.

As education professionals, travelling the country will increase your understanding of regional apprenticeships and further education needs. It will also allow you to expand your network, share your knowledge and experience across industries and actively contribute to spreading great educational practices.

You Can Help Improve the Economic Health of the UK

As you may have heard, the UK has a bit of a skills gap. There are widening gaps in vital sectors like healthcare, education, hospitality and more for a variety of reasons: under-investment in skills, underemployment, misemployment and Brexit. If the UK is going to compete at a high level in the global marketplace, we need to invest massively in education and skills. We’ve previously written a blog on the issue of the skills gap in healthcare and offered some solutions to the problem, so you might want to take a look!

Apprentices will play a vital role in helping to plug these skills gaps. Employers all over the country are discovering the value of investing more in apprenticeships and are hopping right on board. Not only do apprenticeships improve the economic health of the UK, but they also bring a wealth of benefits to their employers. For example, hiring an apprentice is a great way of increasing an organisation’s productivity, decreasing staff turnover and training people to have vital workplace skills.

As an EPA Assessor, you’ll be helping to secure the future economic health of the UK by ensuring that all apprentices you complete have all the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to succeed.

You Can Contribute to Creating the Next Generation of Apprentices

As an industry leading EPAO, we see the dedication and passion of our assessors every day. Assessing vocationally-related qualifications is a tough job and we are always amazed at the knowledge and experience that they display when working with their apprentices.

As an EPA Assessor and subject expert in a particular apprenticeship standard, you’ll be able to exercise your passion for your chosen field while ensuring that the next generation of apprentices survive and thrive. Doing what you love while helping individuals passionate about their programme will be all in a day’s work!

Sectors and Standards for Assessors

If you’re excited by the prospect of beginning your career in assessment, and you have experience, we would love to hear from you! Here are the sectors that are currently seeing a massive demand for EPA Assessors.

Healthcare

At the moment, there are huge staff shortages in healthcare positions all over the UK. This means that the number of healthcare apprenticeships in the coming years is set to rise, along with the need for EPA Assessors in various healthcare subjects.

See all our approved Healthcare standards below:

Hospitality

TQUK is well known for our expertise in the hospitality industry. Our training providers include some of the hospitality organisations in the UK. If you have hospitality experience and would like to share your knowledge and expertise, get in touch.

See all our approved Hospitality standards below:

Business

Business apprenticeships are sharply rising in popularity. Employers all over the UK are recruiting apprentices to develop, implement, maintain and improve all kinds of services. Business apprentices can also specialise in certain areas, from customer service to project management and learning and development. It is vital that these apprentices receive a rigorous assessment to ensure their skills are up to snuff.

See all our approved Business standards below:

Management

Management apprenticeships are by far the most popular apprenticeships among the new Trailblazer standards. They provide the training would-be managers need to get the very best out of their teams. As an EPA Assessor, you’ll help make sure these apprentices have all the skills they need to make a real impact on their business.

See all our approved Management standards below:

Retail

A new and exciting area for apprenticeships, the retail sector is in great need of skilled people to manage their operations. Retail is entering a new era, with disruptions such as online shopping, sustainability and customisation presenting massive opportunities for the sector to respond and evolve. You could help new apprentices prepare for this.

See all our approved Retail standards below:

Sales, Marketing & Procurement

In a crowded marketplace, employers need to make their organisations, products and services stand out. Apprenticeships in the Sales, Marketing and Procurement sectors will train people up to help organisations develop their profile, increase turnover and find new opportunities. Assessors in this area will need vast amounts of knowledge and experience to ensure these standards are correctly applied.

See all our approved Sales, Marketing and Procurement standards below:

HR

An often overlooked section of apprenticeships, HR apprentices are fast becoming a must-have in all organisations. The training they receive will help ensure that their companies remain compliant with employment regulation, excel at resourcing and develop in new directions. The number of apprentices in these standards are climbing, and fast. Help them become all that they can be!

See all our approved HR standards below:

Hair & Beauty

Aesthetics have a long and proud history in apprenticeships. Many young barbers, stylists and artists of all kinds enrol in these apprenticeships every year to begin their careers. You can help them become brilliant in their craft!

See all our approved Hair & Beauty standards below:

Childcare & Education

It is vital for the welfare of the next generation that we have people with the right skills to raise, nurture and educate children. Childcare and education are in-demand and stable career routes that many individuals opt for. It will be up to you, as an EPA Assessor, to apply standards so that apprentices in childcare and education can operate effectively in their workplace.

See all our approved Childcare & Education standards below:

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We hope we piqued the interest of all you potential EPA Assessors out there! If you would like more information, you can call 03333 583 344 and speak to one of the members of our EPA Team.

To keep up to date with the latest news from TQUK, follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

See you around The Hive!

How TQUK Can Help You

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.

Bee

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