Thinking about hiring an Apprentice? You’ve come to the perfect place! As an End-Point Assessment Organisation, we’re passionate about apprenticeships and the amazing benefits they bring to businesses across the UK. We think that all companies should hire Apprentices, and we’re not afraid to shout about it!

So, if you’re an Employer interested in hiring an Apprentice, we’re here to help! We know that there are a few rules and regulations you need to get your head around, but we’re dedicated to guiding you through the process. Below, we’ve compiled all the information that you’ll need, from start to finish, in order to hire an Apprentice and take your business to the next level.

Enjoy!

1. Why You Should Hire an Apprentice?

a slab of concrete asking why

Hiring an Apprentice can benefit your business in so many ways. Apprenticeships are designed to train individuals with little or no experience to become fully competent workers who have all of the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours needed to excel in their occupation.

Here are just a few things your business will benefit from by hiring an Apprentice:

  • An increase in productivity – according to research by the National Apprenticeship Service, a whopping 76% of Employers said that productivity in their workplace had improved because of implementing apprenticeship programmes. 75% of Employers also reported that hiring an Apprentice improved the quality of their product or service!
  • A decrease in staff turnover – investing major time and energy into training your Apprentice helps secure their loyalty to your company and decrease your staff turnover. In fact, Whitbread, the UK’s largest hotel, restaurant and coffee shop operator, found that turnover rates for entry-level, back-office roles were reduced by 15% on the apprenticeship level. Additionally, nearly three-quarters of their Apprentices stayed with the company for more than 12 months, whereas only a quarter of other employees did.
  • You contribute to your community – hiring an Apprentice helps combat youth unemployment in your area while also raising your company’s profile! According to a 2015 report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research, five million consumers were more likely to buy from an Apprentice Employer, and one in four consumers would even pay more for goods and services from companies that employed Apprentices.

Convinced yet?

2. Take the Plunge and Pick Your Standard

a man taking a plunge into the sea of apprenticeships

The first step to hiring an Apprentice is to identify a role within your company which you would be happy to offer an Apprentice. After that, you can pick an Apprenticeship Standard at a suitable level that matches the job role that you’d like to offer. Before you go ahead, you must ensure that you can offer your Apprentice a role which has 30 paid hours a week or more throughout their entire programme. Your Apprentice’s hours will also include any Off-the-Job Training that they must undertake.

There are a huge variety of Apprenticeship Standards available across many sectors that could benefit you and your business. As an End-Point Assessment Organisation, we offer End-Point Assessment for standards across these sectors:

Childcare and Education

Business

Hair and Beauty

Hospitality

Healthcare

HR

Retail

Management

Sales, Marketing and Procurement

3. Check the Funding You’re Eligible For

money for hiring an apprentice

Before hiring an Apprentice, you should check the government funding that you’re eligible for. If you’d like more information about government funding, then you can check out our article Apprenticeship Funding Rules: Your Ultimate Guide which Employers, Employer-Providers and Training Providers can use to navigate the funding rules. Here’s a short summary below:

The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in 2017 in order to encourage large Employers in the UK to get more involved in the funding and execution of apprenticeships. The Apprenticeship Levy is a tax on businesses with a pay bill of over £3 million. 0.5% of their annual pay bill is collected by the government and reserved to be used as funds for apprenticeship programmes. Funds from the Apprenticeship Levy not used by Employers are reallocated to other apprenticeship programmes.

Do you pay the Apprenticeship Levy?

If you’re hiring an Apprentice and already pay the Apprenticeship Levy, then you can collect your Levy money through setting up an account on the apprenticeship service. This service will allow you to manage your funding and pay Training Providers and End-Point Assessment Organisations for their services as well. You’ll have monthly instalments sent to your apprenticeship service account, and you’ll also receive a 10% top-up from the government.

What are funding bands?

All Employers will receive funding according to the funding band allocated to their Apprenticeship Standard. Funding bands refer to the maximum amount of money the government has allocated to fund each Apprenticeship Standard and ranges from £1,500 to £27,000. Funding bands are numbered from 1-30, with one band allocated to each Apprenticeship Standard. If you pay the Apprenticeship Levy and the costs of your apprenticeship go over the funding band maximum, then you’ll need to pay the difference with other funds from your own budget.

Are you exempt from the Apprenticeship Levy?

Employers who do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy will have to pay a co-investment rate of 5%. This means that the government will pay 95% of the costs of the apprenticeship up to the funding band maximum, and you’ll have to pay the remaining 5% of the costs. However, if the costs of the apprenticeship exceed the funding band maximum, then you’ll need to pay the difference.

4. Does Your Apprentice Tick All The Boxes?

Before hiring an Apprentice, you must check that they meet the following checklist. Your Apprentice must be:

  • 16 years old or older;
  • Out of full-time education;
  • Live in England or the country where your company is based;
  • Have the right to work in England or the country where the company is based;
  • Spend at least 50% of their working hours in England or the country where your company is based.

If you’re an Employer based in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, it may be worth contacting your local apprenticeship authority to find out more details:

5. Find Your Perfect Training Provider

two women talking about apprenticeships

Next, you should find a Training Provider for your Apprentice that offers training for your selected Apprenticeship Standard. The Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers is a great place to start looking, as it contains an extensive list of Training Providers who are eligible to train Apprentices.

If you’re based in England, you can also use the find apprenticeship training tool from gov.uk. Simply click on the link and search for an Apprenticeship Standard by job role or keyword. When you click on your chosen standard you can then start finding a Training Provider. If you already know the name of a Provider which you might be interested in using, then you can also find a Training Provider directly by name.

6. Spread the Message and Advertise Your Apprenticeship

woman hiring an apprentice

After you’ve chosen your Training Provider, you’ll need to advertise your apprenticeship vacancy and wait for those applications to roll in! Conveniently, you won’t have to do this yourself, as your Training Provider will do this for you through the find an apprenticeship service.

Top Tip: If you’re writing the job description for your Apprentice, include the same details that you would if advertising for a normal job role. Outline the desired qualities that you’d like in a candidate, include a job title, and describe the main duties that your Apprentice will be undertaking along with the purpose of their role.

7. Interview Your Batch of Candidates

Interview your Apprentice candidates as you would any other candidate. Make sure you prepare a list of questions you can use to fairly assess their personality and competence that allows them to show the very best of themselves. If you already have a bank of questions that you use for the role that you’re advertising, you can also use those in your interviews.

Top Tip: Apprentices don’t need to have any former work experience to apply for or enrol in an apprenticeship, so they may not have any. By putting more value on their character than their CV, you’ll have a better chance of finding the right candidate.

8. Pick Your Winner and Sign those Contracts

your new apprentice

After you’ve picked the right candidate, you’ll need to sign an apprenticeship agreement with them. Your apprenticeship agreement will describe what you agree to do for your Apprentice, and will outline things like:

  • How long you’ll employ them for;
  • The type of training that you’ll give them;
  • Their working conditions;
  • The qualifications that they’re working towards.

You can write your own apprenticeship agreement, but the UK government also provides an apprenticeship agreement template that you can fill out instead.

You’ll also have to sign a commitment statement with your Apprentice and your Training Provider. Your commitment statement must include:

  • The planned content of the apprenticeship programme and the schedule for training;
  • What is expected and offered by you, the Employer, the Training Provider and the Apprentice;
  • How to resolve queries or complaints.

9. Check How Much You Should Pay Your Apprentice

The minimum that you can pay your Apprentice is the National Minimum Wage, which is currently £3.90/hour. This rate applies to Apprentices who are under 19 and those who are over 19 in the first year of their apprenticeship.

If your Apprentice is over the age of 19 and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship, then you’ll need to pay them the minimum wage rate for their age. So, for example, if your Apprentice is 20 and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship, then you’ll need to pay them the minimum hourly rate for their age group. You can check the minimum wage rates here.

You must pay your Apprentices for their normal working hours, which includes training that is part of their apprenticeship, such as Off-the-Job Training. Apprentices are also entitled to the other benefits and pay that employees at your company receive who are at a similar level. This could include paid holidays and sick pay.

10. Pick Your End-Point Assessment Organisation

employer looking for an epao

End-Point Assessment is the final test for Apprentices during their apprenticeship. This final test includes a mix of assessment activities that Apprentices must complete in order to pass their apprenticeship.

As an Employer, you’ll need to choose the End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) that will deliver your Apprentice’s End-Point Assessment. You can find an EPAO from the Register of End-Point Assessment Organisations.

We offer End-Point Assessment for a range of Apprenticeship Standards across multiple sectors. If you’re interested in using our services then you can fill in our contact form or alternatively give us a ring at (+44) 03333 583344. We’d be happy to help!

11. Support Your Apprentice throughout their Programme

employer supporting an apprentice

There are many things that you can do to support your Apprentice as they begin to work for you. Some tips include:

  • Providing them with a great induction to their role and making their introduction period as thorough as possible;
  • Helping them feel comfortable in their surroundings and remaining approachable and open throughout their programme in case they have any questions or concerns;
  • Offering support and training opportunities in order to show them that you’re dedicated to helping them with their personal and professional development.

You can read our Supporting Your Apprentice page for more advice!

End-Point Assessment Support

If your Apprentice is nervous about their End-Point Assessment, then don’t worry! We’ve got some articles that can help them ease their nerves, including How to Prepare for EPA and 5 Cool Ways to Get Into a Good EPA Mindset. We also offer a whole hive of resources that our Apprentices can use to learn more about their apprenticeship and what their End-Point Assessment will entail!

Additional Links

Here are some additional pages that you may find useful:

What is End-Point Assessment?

Off-the-Job Training

Apprenticeship Funding Rules: Your Ultimate Guide

Funding Bands

~

And there you have it! We hope this guide helps all interested Employers with hiring an Apprentice and taking their business to the next level!

If you’re interested in using us as your End-Point Assessment Organisation, then you can go to our End-Point Assessment Sectors page.

To keep up to date with all things End-Point Assessment, return to our blog or follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

See you around The Hive!

 

 

As an End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO), we do everything we can to make sure that our Apprentices have every chance to succeed during their End-Point Assessment (EPA). In order to do this, we provide mock assessments for any Apprentice we can.

Mock assessments are, basically, simulations of a real assessment. They’re a great way for the Apprentice to prepare for their final tests.

Whether it’s a written test or a face-to-face interview, a mock assessment can be the difference between a successful and unsuccessful EPA.

Why we do mock assessments

phone asking why we do mock assessments

There are two main reasons to do a mock assessment before an Apprentice’s EPA: preparation and acclimation.

A mock assessment can help an Apprentice prepare for their real assessment. It allows them to get a better idea of, among other things:

  • the format of their assessment;
  • the types of questions that will be asked;
  • the experience of taking the test; and/or
  • which sections of the assessment will take longer than others.

Mock assessments also help Apprentices acclimate to the test conditions.

Some Apprentices don’t do well during a sit-down test or an in-person observation. They may not express their knowledge as well in writing as they could in other mediums, or they may feel nervous about being watched during an observation.

When an Apprentice is properly prepared for an assessment, they will not be as frequently tripped up by nerves. As a result, their Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours will be given the best opportunity to shine through when the real assessment takes place.

When to do mock assessments

A calendar for scheduling EPA activities

TQUK’s mock assessments can be taken at any time, but most of the mock assessments we’ve helped conduct take place before Gateway.

After all, the EPA stage of an apprenticeship can be busy and stressful. It’s best to choose a time during the Formative Study when the Apprentice is free to effectively consider the process of the mock assessment and is not too distracted by other work.

Here are two different types of mock assessments and how they might help your Apprentice.

Knowledge Tests

A woman taking a knowledge test with her Trainer

TQUK, as an EPAO, is required to have a large bank of test questions at the ready for any apprenticeship that requires a Knowledge Test for the EPA. We use some of these questions in our mock Knowledge Tests.

In general, these tests take the form of a series of multiple-choice questions, with a stem and four possible answers. They will present a range of hypothetical situations that an Apprentice could encounter in their job role.

In answering, the Apprentice will need to choose the most appropriate response to the situation among the four options given, using their knowledge and judgement.

Questions in each mock Knowledge Test will be written at the same level of difficulty as the real assessment to give the Apprentice an accurate experience of the types of questions that will be asked.

Training Providers can access a mock Knowledge Test for their Apprentice through their Verve EPA account. A test paper and answer key can be downloaded so that the test can be marked in-house.

Doing a mock Knowledge Test will, among other things:

  • help the Apprentice get a feel for the nature and difficulty of the questions; and
  • help the Trainer identify which areas the Apprentice may need to improve on.

IMPORTANT: Questions created for mock Knowledge Tests are not used in any EPA activity.

Check out how we create our test questions for more information.

Professional Discussions

Two men with cups of coffee having a mock professional diiscussion

How we create a mock Professional Discussion is similar to how we create a mock Knowledge Test.

For each EPA that contains a Professional Discussion, TQUK creates mock Professional Discussion briefs to help Trainers conduct a great mock assessment.

A Professional Discussion is a structured discussion between the Apprentice and the End-Point Assessor. The End-Point Assessor poses a series of prepared questions to the Apprentice in order to assess their Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours, often followed by a more open-ended discussion. The prepared questions are written against the Apprenticeship Standard criteria.

Trainers interested in doing a mock Professional Discussion can submit a request to TQUK to receive the appropriate resources. These resources may include:

  • a mock agenda, which will outline the general structure of the Discussion and provide space to detail any occupational competency and/or learning amplification that needs to be addressed during the Discussion;
  • a mock feedback record; and
  • a series of mock base questions that the Trainer can ask the Apprentice during the mock Discussion.

Doing this mock assessment will help the Apprentice get a sense of the format and give them a chance to consider what answers to provide for the real assessment.

It will also help the Trainer identify any areas for improvement, whether it be in the Apprentice’s Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours, or in their performance during the assessment (ie the Apprentice may have become anxious halfway through the Discussionand the Trainer could suggest that they research stress-coping strategies).

During our time as an EPAO, the Professional Discussion is often identified as the assessment activity that Apprentices find the most stressful. With a great mock assessment, your Apprentice will be more likely to knock the real assessment right out of the park.

Other mock assessments

Employees discus future mock assessments

The above are just two examples of mock assessments for your Apprentice that will better prepare them for their EPA. Training Providers can create mock assessments for almost any EPA component.

Get in touch with our team of EPA specialists to get the best guidance on conducting mock assessments.

~

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

See you around The Hive!

Getting started

apprenticeship funding rules getting started

As an End-Point Assessment Organisation, we are keenly aware of how difficult and confusing apprenticeship funding rules can be. You just want to deliver your apprenticeship program, and then you find out that there are all these complex rules you have to know.

We sympathise. After all, we have to follow them, too!

These rules can be labyrinthine, opaque and positively filled with asterisks of every variety.

But it doesn’t have to be that way. And that’s why we created this ultimate guide.

Whether you’re an Employer, Employer-Provider or Training Provider, we’re going to make all these apprenticeship funding rules as simple as possible.

But first, we need to get a handle on what we’re talking about.

What Are Apprenticeship Standards?

All apprenticeship programmes delivered by Employers are created and delivered against Apprenticeship Standards. Included in these new and improved standards, different from the apprenticeship frameworks that came before them, are a series of knowledge, skills and behaviour criteria created by groups of Employers and recognised by the government.

No matter what apprenticeship you’re delivering, your apprentice’s training must develop against these standards.

This was done in order for apprenticeship programmes to deliver the knowledge, skills and behaviours that employers need in their apprentices.

If you’d like to see the knowledge, skills and behaviours that your apprenticeship standard will require, visit the Institute for Apprenticeship and Technical Education and search for the apprenticeship programme you want to deliver. The corresponding standard will tell you everything they will learn during their training.

Naturally, the type of training they receive will directly affect the funding they get.

More on this later.

All About the Apprenticeship Levy

As part of the 2017 apprenticeship reforms, the Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in order to get large employers more involved in the funding and execution of apprenticeship programmes.

This made a lot of sense. There were loads of large organisations out there sitting on large piles of money, not doing anything. So, the government thought, if there’s a skills shortage, why not give big employers a little push to invest in apprenticeships and further education?

And so, the Apprenticeship Levy was born.

In effect, the Apprenticeship Levy is a tax on businesses with a pay bill over £3 million. 0.5% of the cost of their pay bill is collected by the government and reserved for use by that Employer for apprenticeships. Any funds raised that are not used by that employer are reallocated to other apprenticeship programs.

Apprenticeship Funding Rules for Employers

employers

The government funds the vast majority of apprenticeship provision. This is great news for you, the Employer. Apprenticeships are a great way of training new people and ensuring you have the skilled and dedicated staff that will take your company to the next level.

As an Employer, you’ll need to know quite a bit about apprenticeship funding rules, since the nature of the funding you receive is largely dependent on what kind of company you have and the apprenticeship you’re delivering.

Don’t worry, though. Take our hand and we’ll guide you through all the ins and outs of your funding journey.

Setting up an apprenticeship service account

In order to get access to government funding for your apprenticeship program, you’ll need to create an account on the apprenticeship service. This is a digital interface designed to support the uptake of apprenticeships.

You will use the apprenticeship service to manage your apprenticeship funding and pay Training Providers and End-Point Assessment Organisations for their services.

Negotiating prices for training

Once you’ve set up your apprentice service account and your apprentice has started their apprenticeship program, you will need to choose a Training Provider that can deliver your apprentice’s training. You can find an appropriate Training Provider on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers.

You and the Training Provider must negotiate a price for the total cost of each apprenticeship, including the training costs and any subcontracted training. This cost must include the cost of End-Point Assessment, which tends to be more no more than 20% of the funding band maximum.

Key things to keep in mind:

  • When negotiating the price, you should include any training that overlaps with an apprentice’s prior learning or qualifications. The Training Provider should take prior learning into account when negotiating with you.
  • Every apprenticeship is entitled to a certain amount of government funding. If the price you negotiate with the Training Provider is higher than the funding band maximum, you must pay the difference. This difference cannot be funded from your apprenticeship service account or co-investment. (More on the co-investment later.)

Levy-Payers and Co-Investors

Once you have negotiated a price for the training for your apprenticeship, you will need to start paying your Training Provider for their services.

But with what money, you ask?

That’s a great question.

Once you have registered your apprenticeship program on the apprenticeship service, you’ll have access to cash. The source of cash and how you pay it will depend on the size of your organisation.

Apprenticeship Levy Payers

If your organisation pays the Apprenticeship Levy, you will have monthly instalments sent to your apprenticeship service account. How much you receive will depend on how much your business has paid for the Apprenticeship Levy. The amount of funding you receive will also include a 10% top-up. Payments will be taken according to the planned duration of the apprenticeship regardless of how training is scheduled.

What about Employers with a Pay Bill Of Less Than £3 Million?

Employers that do not pay the Levy must pay a co-investment fee for their apprenticeship program.

The current co-investment rate stands at 5%.

The government will pay the remaining 95% of the cost of the apprenticeship, up to the funding band maximum.

Where the funding band maximum is exceeded, you must pay all the additional costs above the funding band maximum.

You may agree on a schedule of co-investment payments with your Training Provider, which does not need to match the payments made by each month. However, this payment should ensure that your contributions are at least equal to the required co-investment when your Training Provider reports your contributions.

End-Point Assessment

In order for an apprentice to complete their apprenticeship, they will need to undergo End-Point Assessment.

End-Point Assessment is the final test that verifies that the apprentice has attained all the knowledge, skills and behaviours outlined in the Apprenticeship Standard.

An apprentice can only undertake End-Point Assessment once they have:

  • Met the minimum duration of the apprenticeship;
  • Satisfied the Gateway requirements set out in the assessment plan (you can access the assessment plan on the designated page for the apprenticeship on the IFATE website);
  • You, as the Employer, are confident that the apprentice is ready to undertake the final test.

Before Gateway, you will need to select an End-Point Assessment Organisation to deliver End-Point Assessment. You can find all approved EPAOs on the Register of End-Point Assessment Organisations.

After you have done so, the Training Provider will get into contact with the EPAO and will lead the relationship with them. This allows the Training Provider to make payment for the End-Point Assessment on your behalf. A written agreement will be drawn up, including arrangements for sharing information with the apprentice, re-takes and payment times.

Be sure that the price you agree with the Training Provider includes the cost of the End-Point Assessment. (This includes the cost of external quality assurance.)

End-Point Assessment tends not to cost more than 20% of the funding band maximum for the apprenticeship.

To see the full list of apprenticeship funding rules for Employers, visit the IFATE website.

Apprenticeship Funding Rules for Employer-Providers

employer providers

This section is for Employer-Providers: employers that have the ability to offer an apprenticeship programme and provide the necessary training.

The funding rules that apply to you are slightly different from those that apply to Employers.

Many of the rules that apply to Employers apply to Employer-Providers as well, so be sure to peruse the sections above.

However, the sections below detail many areas that apply to Employer-Providers specifically.

Assessing the cost of your programme

As an Employer-Provider, you will need to determine the cost of the apprenticeship programme you want to deliver.

You will need to assess the cost of your apprenticeship program and set it against the appropriate government funding band. Costs that are eligible for government funding include:

  • Delivery of training or Off-the-Job Training through a supporting Training Provider. This could include some or all of the training aspects of a licence to practice or a non-mandatory qualification. There must be a clear overlap between the training and the Apprenticeship Standard criteria;
  • Registration, examination and certification costs;
  • On-programme assessment;
  • Self-directed, online and/or blended learning;
  • Materials used in the apprenticeship delivery (ie equipment and/or supplies);
  • Admin included in apprenticeship delivery, including End-Point Assessment;
  • Time spent by employees/managers supporting or mentoring apprentices;
  • Additional learning required to re-take an exam related to a qualification or a portion of the End-Point Assessment.

If any of the costs from the above activities are brought in from a third party, they will be funded.

Contracting and subcontracting

The rules say that funding for your apprenticeship will be routed through you. This includes funding for English and Maths Functional Skills qualifications.

Do not use any subcontractor that subcontracts out to a second level. All your subcontractors must be contracted directly by you.

Evidencing costs

Since you are delivering the training and assessment, you need to report the full cost of it, including the End-Point Assessment, to the ESFA. This will determine how much of the funds in your apprenticeship service account or government-employer co-investment can be used.

You:

  • Must enter costs for training and End-Point Assessment into the individualised learning record;
  • Must evidence how all costs are calculated;
  • Must account for an apprentice’s prior learning;
  • Can include payroll, pay slips, expense claims, hourly pay rates for staff delivery training and assessment of apprentices and training plans that include the hours of training delivered;
  • Can claim salaries plus on-program costs of employees directly involved in the administration of apprenticeship training;
  • Can claim accommodation and facilities where you can show that it has been used for training or End-Point Assessment;

If the costs you calculate are more than the maximum allowed by the funding band, you must pay the difference between the band maximum and the total cost. This difference cannot be funded by your apprenticeship service account or your co-investment.

To see the full list of apprenticeship funding rules for Employer-Providers, visit the IFATE website.

Apprenticeship Funding Rules for Training Providers

training providers

As a Training Provider, the funding rules you have to follow have a lot to do with the costing of the apprenticeship and the receipt of apprenticeship funding.

The sections below detail the specific apprenticeship funding rules that apply to you.

Learning support and reasonable adjustments

You can get financial support from the government for reasonable adjustments for apprentices with learning difficulties or disabilities.

If you are training an apprentice with learning difficulties, you will need to:

  • Conduct an assessment to identify the support needed;
  • Deliver support to meet the apprentice’s identified needs and review progress;
  • Record and gather the appropriate evidence to show that the actions have been completed and outcomes are recorded;
  • Report in the ILR that an apprentice has a learning support need and what that support need is.

Learning support will be fixed at a monthly rate of £150 when it has been reported in the ILR for the months in which there is an identified learning need. If your costs exceed £150 per month but are less than £19,000 per annum, you can claim via the earning adjustments statement.

You must promptly claim for learning support through the ILR and the EAS. The government will not pay you for claims from a previous funding year if you do not claim on time.

What can be funded?

Before you begin the training process, make sure your apprentice’s Apprenticeship Standard is approved on your Employer’s apprenticeship service account.

Funds received from this account (and the co-investment) must only be used to cover the costs of training and End-Point Assessment.

The following is a list of eligible costs for funding:

  • Off-the-Job Training through a Training Provider, or evidenced costs for Employer-Provider delivery. If the training includes a licence to practice or a non-mandatory qualification, there must be a clear overlap between this training and the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed for the Apprenticeship Standard;
  • Registration, examination and certification costs associated with mandatory qualifications;
  • On-programme assessments;
  • Self-directed distance learning, online learning and/or blended learning;
  • Materials used in the delivery of the apprenticeship;
  • Any costs of administration directly related to the delivery of the apprenticeship;
  • Time spent by managers/employees supporting or mentoring apprentices;
  • Additional learning and/or the cost of re-taking an exam linked to a mandatory qualification or any component of the End-Point Assessment.

The activities above should be included in the price you negotiate with the Employer, which should include the price of End-Point Assessment.

Any of these costs can be brought in from a third party, and the government will fund them.

Where you buy the delivery of training from a third party, you must follow subcontracting rules (see below). Funds from an Employer’s apprenticeship service account or co-investment must not be used to fund other services from a third party.

Ineligible costs

You cannot claim government funding for the following costs:

  • Enrolment, induction, prior assessment, initial assessment, etc;
  • Apprentice travel costs;
  • Apprentice wages;
  • Any protective clothing/equipment required by the apprentice;
  • Development of teaching materials;
  • Off-the-Job Training delivered by self-directed distance learning;
  • Any training, optional modules, educational trips or trips to professional events in excess of those required to meet the Apprenticeship Standard. This includes training solely and specifically required for a licence to practice;
  • Any fees to a third party associated with a licence to practice;
  • Any fees for non-mandatory qualifications, including registration, examination and certification;
  • Student membership fees;
  • End-Point Assessment costs incurred but not included in the price negotiated between the Employer and EPAO;
  • Functional Skills qualifications;
  • Repeating the same regulated qualification where the apprentice has already achieved it;
  • Accommodation costs for the apprentice incurred because of their day-to-day work;
  • Capital purchases and their maintenance;
  • Time spent by managers/employees supporting or mentoring the apprentice in areas that are not directly related to apprenticeship training and assessment;
  • Specific services not related to the delivery and administration of the apprenticeship.

Additional payments

You and the Employer will receive a payment towards the additional cost associated with training if, at the start of the apprenticeship, the apprentice is:

  • Between 16 and 18 years;
  • Between 19 and 24 years and has either an Education, Health and Care plan provided by their local authority or has been in the care of their local authority.

End-Point Assessment

As a Training Provider, you will be in charge of preparing the apprentice for the End-Point Assessment.

When working with an Apprenticeship Standard, the Employer will receive government funding up to the funding band limit, which will include the cost of the End-Point Assessment. Monthly instalments will be transferred to you via the Employer’s apprenticeship service account.

Upon completion of the End-Point Assessment, you will pay the End-Point Assessment Organisation for the End-Point Assessment. The Employer will then transfer the agreed amount for End-Point Assessment to you.

If the End-Point Assessment ends up costing more than the agreed cost up to the funding band maximum, you must pay the difference.

You must ensure that the price you agree with the Employer for the apprenticeship includes the amount the Employer has negotiated with the End-Point Assessment Organisation. This includes the cost of external quality assurance.

Be sure to keep records of payment to your EPAO.

Contracting and subcontracting

You can use subcontractors to complement your delivery if requested by the Employer and agreed at the start of the apprenticeship. Subcontractors can deliver full or part of the apprenticeship training.

If you are going to use a subcontractor, they must:

  • Be published on the Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers;
  • Be either the apprentice’s employer, a connected company or charity; or
  • Deliver less than £100,000 of apprenticeship training and on-programme assessment under contract across all main providers and employer-providers between 1 April and 31 March each year.

You must perform your own due diligence and research subcontractors to ensure they have quality provision and robust procedures. You must not use a subcontractor where they subcontract out to a second level.

Calculating the cost of an apprenticeship

You, along with the Employer, will negotiate a price for the total cost of each apprenticeship, including training costs and any subcontracted training. These costs must include the cost of End-Point Assessment, which will be negotiated between the Employer and the End-Point Assessment Organisation.

  • You must account for prior learning when negotiating a price and document how you assessed prior learning.
  • You must enter the prices for training and End-Point Assessment onto the ILR.

You must not offset the negotiated price with costs of any service provided by the Employer.

Once the price is negotiated, the price upon completion should not be higher.

Co-investment

Where apprenticeship training is not funded from the Employer’s apprenticeship service account, Employers will co-invest 5% of the total negotiated price up to the funding band maximum.

Ensure that you keep evidence of the Employer’s co-investment contribution. Doing so will ensure that funding from the government will continue to be sent to the Employer.

It will be up to you and the Employer to determine a payment schedule for their co-investment. This means the payments could fall outside of a monthly structure.

Exceptions to the Employer co-investments restrictions are:

  • English and maths;
  • Where the Employer qualifies for extra support for small employers;
  • Learning support for the apprentice;
  • For any additional payment and disadvantage funding; and
  • Where the Employer delivers their own staff as an Employer-Provider.

At least every three months, you must:

  • Have collected matching co-investment from Employers; and
  • Report the cash value, on the ILR, of total employer contributions.

To see the full list of apprenticeship funding rules for Employer-Providers, visit the IFATE website.

~

We hope this gave you a better idea of the funding rules involved in apprenticeships. However, to get into the nitty-gritty detail, dive into the IFATE website to make sure your t’s are crossed and your i’s are dotted.

To keep up to date with the latest End-Point Assessment news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and LinkedIn.

See you around The Hive!

 

The TQUK EPA Team are always hard at work applying for new Apprenticeship Standards, and we’ve now been approved to deliver EPA for five more! The TQUK EPA Digital Marketer, Sales Executive, Learning Mentor, Assessor/Coach and Learning and Skills Teacher Apprenticeship Standards are now all on our books.

Do any of these TQUK EPA Apprenticeship Standards pique your interest? Get all the details below!

Digital Marketer

Apprentice doing digital marketing on a laptop

All companies need an online presence, and offering a Digital Marketer Apprenticeship is a great place to start.

Digital Marketers define, design, build and implement digital campaigns across a variety of online and social media platforms to drive customer acquisition, engagement and retention. They will usually work as part of a team and report to a Digital Marketing Manager, Marketing Manager or IT Manager.

Apprentices must achieve one internationally recognised vendor or professional qualification in order to complete the Digital Marketer Apprenticeship.

The End-Point Assessment components for the Digital Marketer Apprenticeship include:

  • Summative Portfolio
  • Synoptic Project
  • Employer Reference
  • Interview

Sales Executive

Apprentice conducting sales activities on a laptop

Need to drive up your organisation’s revenue? A Sales Executive is just what you need!

A Sales Executive works in B2B or B2C markets to sell a specific product line or service. They plan sales activities, oversee deals from start to finish and manage sales within their organisation. They are in charge of retaining and growing a number of existing customer accounts and generating new business by contacting prospective customers, qualifying opportunities and bringing the sales process to a mutually acceptable close.

The End-Point Assessment components for the Sales Executive Apprenticeship include:

  • Work Based Project
  • Presentation (including sales pitch, with questions and answers)
  • Professional Discussion (supported by Portfolio of Evidence)

Learning Mentor

A mentor teaching in front of a whiteboard

Mentoring is the key to professional development. Without it, people would find it much more difficult to get to where they want to go.

A Learning Mentor supports learners of all ages and levels to develop within a new role.  These learners may be apprentices, trainees, new recruits or in any vocational learning environment. A Learning Mentor will have sector-specific experience and qualifications, as determined by their employer or professional body, which they use to guide and advise those who are less experienced.

The End-Point Assessment components for the Learning Mentor Apprenticeship include:

  • Learning Mentor Observations
  • Professional Discussion (with accompanying Showcase project)

Assessor/Coach

Two assessors talking over a laptop

An Assessor/Coach uses up-to-date professional knowledge and skills to support vocational and professional development across the formal Education and Training Sector as well as in any employer setting. They may coach and assess apprentices, trainees or new recruits (ranging from young entrants to new CEOs) commensurate with their own level of experience and qualifications.

Assessor/Coaches teach and assess vocational learners, usually on a one-to-one basis, in a range of learning environments.  Coaching skills involve complex communication techniques used to actively listen, provide feedback and engage learners in planning their individualised learning programme. These skills are also integral to assessing learners’ competence in-relation to work-related/industry standards and life skills.

The End-Point Assessment components for the Assessor/Coach Apprenticeship include:

  • Assessor Coach Observations
  • Professional Discussion (with accompanying Showcase project)

Learning and Skills Teacher

Learnign and Skills Teacher completing her TQUK Apprenticeship Standard

A Learning and Skills Teacher (LST) will be specialised in a certain vocational or subject field and will also have trained as a teacher.  The LST role is pivotal to the success of traineeship and apprenticeship programmes in delivering effective vocational education and training that meets both learners’ and employers’ needs.

Learning and Skills Teachers teach young people and adults within all parts of the education and training sector, including work-based/independent training provision; further, adult and higher education; offender-learning; and within the voluntary sector.

The End-Point Assessment components for Learning and Skills Teacher apprenticeships include:

  • Professional Discussion (Thematic Case Study and Online Presentation)
  • Teaching Observations

~

To keep up to date with the latest news about TQUK EPA and our new Apprenticeship Standards, return to our blog or follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

See you around The Hive!

 

We get a lot of questions about the Adult Care Worker EPA.

After all, the Adult Care Worker standard is by far one of the most popular apprenticeships in the UK. The shortage of skilled workers in adult care and other healthcare sectors makes a subsidised apprenticeship program all the more attractive. Hospitals, care homes, day centres and other employers are jumping on the opportunity.

If your Adult Care Worker apprentices are about to go through EPA, this blog will take you through all of the assessment activities that this standard entails to help you ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible.

Situational Judgement Test

adult care worker epa situational judgement test

First up, knowledge. This is the assessment activity that will primarily assess your apprentice’s knowledge against all of the standards set out in the Apprenticeship Standard. Your apprentice should ideally be reviewing the Apprenticeship Standard regularly to make sure they’re fulfilling all of the required standards.

The Situational Judgement Test is a multiple choice question test containing 60 questions. These questions are drawn from a question bank created by TQUK EPA and are specifically designed to address all knowledge standards. The test will primarily focus on higher-order competencies.

The questions asked are situational in nature – that is, they will present scenarios based on real-life work-based activities to which the apprentice will have to provide an in-depth answer or solution.

The grade for the Situational Judgement Test is determined based on the following thresholds:

  • Pass: 40-49 correct answers
  • Merit: 50-55 correct answers
  • Distinction: 55+ correct answers

In order to help your apprentice achieve the best possible result in their Situational Judgement Test, here are some things you can do to help them along the way:
Top Tips

  • Do a mock test: In order to familiarise your apprentice with the format of the Situational Judgement Test, your apprentice can take a mock test. This test will include questions created by TQUK designed to be similar to the questions that your apprentice will encounter in their real Test. Doing the mock test will give your apprentice a sense of what the test criteria will be, the format and the types of questions they will be asked. Get in touch with TQUK if you’d like to do a mock test.
  • Review knowledge standards with your apprentice: Check out the full Adult Care Worker Apprenticeship Standard to see all of the knowledge standards included. You might be able to provide some insight into the standard that your apprentice may find valuable.
  • Help your apprentice relax: Not everyone is great at sit-down tests. Nerves can take over and your apprentice may not perform at their very best. Here are some tips to help your Adult Care Worker get in the right frame of mind for their EPA.
  • Get the time and date right: The test might take place on your premises, or it may take place at a registered TQUK test centre. Either way, make sure your apprentice knows where to go and what to do.
  • Get a paper exam if needed: Although most Situational Judgement Tests will be completed online, paper exams can be provided to those who need them.


Professional Discussion

adult care worker epa professional discussion

Once the Situational Judgement Test has been achieved, your Adult Care Worker will move on to the second half of their EPA: the Professional Discussion. This is where your apprentice’s skills and behaviours will be assessed, along with some bits and pieces of knowledge here and there.

The Professional Discussion is a structured discussion between the apprentice and the End-Point Assessor. It will last approximately 45 minutes.

The Discussion addresses many areas of the apprentice’s prior learning and experience during the apprenticeship. During the assessment, the End-point Assessor will ask the apprentice a series of standardised questions. These questions are developed by TQUK and are designed to address the skills and behaviours outlined in the Apprenticeship Standard. The answers the apprentice provides should be supported by self-assessments, supporting evidence and testimonies from service users, which they will bring to the Discussion.

The grading criteria used by TQUK will also be freely available to all parties so that employers and apprentices can prepare for the assessment. Please contact TQUK EPA if you have any questions about the Professional Discussion.

Top Tips

  • Do a mock discussion: Doing a mock Professional Discussion with your apprentice will help prepare them for the format of the assessment and will give them a better idea of the questions. Please contact TQUK EPA for further guidance on how to conduct a mock discussion.
  • Review all ACW terminology: The adult care sector has a lot of terminology and jargon. Be sure to review commonly-used terms so that your apprentice is using them correctly. After all, it’s vital that your apprentice demonstrates that they know what they’re talking about!
  • Get reasonable adjustments made: Your apprentice might need to have adjustments made to the assessment, for instance, if they have any disabilities. Be sure to anticipate whatever needs they may have.
  • Seek guidance from the End-Point Assessor: The End-Point Assessor is there to help you and the apprentice, and will provide whatever guidance and information they can supply about the EPA.


Grading

The final grade for the apprentice will be determined based on the following table.

Professional Discussion
Pass Merit Distinction
Situational Judgement Test Pass  Pass  Merit Merit
Merit Pass Merit Distinction
Distinction Merit Merit  Distinction

 

 

 

~

And that’s all! We hope this gives you a better idea of what’s involved in the Adult Care Worker EPA and what you and your apprentice can do to prepare.

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

See you around The Hive!

Ramadan is one of the largest religious observations in the world and will begin this Sunday, May 5. This holy month will be celebrated by 1.8 billion Muslims all over the world and approximately 2.5 million Muslims over the UK.

As a result, many restaurants across the UK are set to offer special Ramadan menus. Challenging your staff to add Ramadan-themed dishes will be a great way to test their creativity, particularly for your hospitality apprentices.

What is Ramadan?

The holy month of Ramadan will begin this Sunday, May 5, and end on Tuesday, June 4, culminating in the spiritual festival of Eid al-Fitr. Ramadan is the ninth month of the Islamic calendar and is observed by undertaking several activities, including:

  • Sawm (fasting)
  • Zakat and Sadaqah (almsgiving)
  • Taraweeh prayer (Sunni Muslims)
  • Commemorating Nights of al-Qadr (Shia and Sunni Muslims)
  • Reading the Qu’ran
  • Abstaining from all bad deeds and staying humble

The month commemorates the first revelation of the Qu’ran to the Prophet Mohammed, and its annual observance is regarded as one of the Five Pillars of Islam.

Fasting

The act of fasting during Ramadan is meant to redirect an individual’s attention away from worldly distractions in order to focus on the maintenance of the soul. Fasting also allows people to practice discipline and self-restraint.

Fasting doesn’t apply to everyone, though. Children who have not yet reached puberty, people with illnesses and disabilities are exempt, as are people who are travelling and pregnant. Those who are unable to fast can make it up on later days.

The fast takes place between two events of each day: Suhoor and Iftar.

Suhoor is the day’s pre-fast meal and is consumed before dawn. It is usually done around 4:00 AM and followed by the Fajr prayer. After Suhoor no food should be consumed before sunset when Iftar, the main meal, is served.

So, to give some inspiration to your staff and apprentices to include some spectacular Ramadan recipes to your menus, here are a few dishes from allrecipes.com that they can cook for the holy month:

Suhoor

If your restaurant has an early start, or if your employees are observing Ramadan, you might want to consider whipping up a quick and nutritious Suhoor meal. Suhoor should be small, straightforward yet hearty enough to keep people going until sunset. The recipe below is also something you can sling to busy commuters who need an extra hit of food before the sun cracks into the sky.

Egyptian Feta Cheese Omelette Roll

Ingredients

  • 4 eggs
  • ½ tsp black pepper
  • Tbs crumbled feta cheese
  • 1 tsp milk
  • 1 tbs vegetable oil

In a bowl, beat the eggs and pepper together. In another bowl combine the cheese and milk.

Heat the oil in a large non-stick skillet over medium-high heat. Pour in the eggs, ensuring the bottom of the pan is covered. When the edges appear cooked, place the feta mixture in a line in the centre of the eggs. Using a spatula, fold the eggs over the top and bottom of the cheese.

Serve with sliced cucumbers and Baladi bread.

Iftar

Iftar is the meal that comes after the traditional eating of dates to break the fast and the Maghrib prayer, all of which occur after sunset.

The time Iftar occurs depends on where in the world you are. The fast can last a long time on some days, with the sun going down at 9:13 PM on June 3rd, the second-last day of Ramadan. Check out this timetable by the East London Mosque for Iftar times in the UK.

After sunset prayers, Muslims are free to eat a big feast. While many people prefer to eat at home, some groups and families make a night of it and go out.

Here are some cool recipe ideas to keep in mind to serve for Ishtar.

Turkish Fish Stew

This is a non-traditional variant of fish stew that blends various Mediterranean influences. It’s tasty, aromatic and filling. What more could you want?

Ingredients

  • 3 cups water
  • 1 ½ cups dry couscous
  • 2 tbs olive oil
  • 1 small white onion, chopped
  • 1 green bell pepper, chopped
  • 2 cloves of garlic, minced
  • 1 cup marinated artichoke hearts
  • 2 tsp capers
  • 12 small green olives
  • 1 can chopped stewed tomatoes
  • 2 tablespoons white wine
  • 1 tbs lemon juice
  • 1 cup water
  • 2 tsp sumac powder
  • 1 ½ tsp crushed red pepper flakes
  • 1 tsp dried basil
  • 1 tsp cumin
  • 1 tsp minced ginger
  • Black pepper to taste
  • 1 pound tilapia fillets, cut into chunks

In a medium saucepan, bring 3 cups of water to a boil and stir in the couscous. Remove from heat, cover and let sit.

Heat the olive oil in a skillet over medium heat, and sauté the onion and green pepper until tender. Add the garlic and cook for 2 minutes. Add the artichoke hearts, capers and olives. Stir in the tomatoes, wine, lemon juice and 1 cup water. Season with sumac powder, red pepper, basil, cumin, ginger and pepper.

Bring the mixture to a boil and add the fish. Reduce heat and simmer until the fish is easily flaked with a fork. Serve with couscous.

Duck Fesenjan

This recipe uses duck legs instead of the traditional chicken while maintaining the classic ingredients of pomegranate molasses and ground walnuts. Tailor it to the tastes of your guests.

Ingredients

  • 8 duck legs
  • Salt and pepper
  • 2 tbs vegetable oil
  • 60ml water
  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 300g diced onion
  • 1 tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cinnamon
  • 1/8 tsp ground nutmeg
  • 1420ml chicken stock
  • 160ml pomegranate molasses
  • 60ml honey
  • 360g walnut halves

Season duck legs all over with salt and black pepper.

Heat vegetable oil in a large pan over high heat. Lay in duck legs. Fry until golden brown on all sides. Transfer the legs to a plate and remove the fat from the pan to use later.

Pour water into the pan and bring to the boil while scraping the browned bits of food off of the bottom of the pan with a wooden spoon. Remove from the heat.

Heat 2 tablespoons duck fat and olive oil in a heavy casserole pot over medium heat. Cook and stir in onion until golden brown. Add turmeric, cinnamon and nutmeg; cook and stir until fragrant.

Add chicken stock, pomegranate molasses, honey and reserved sauce from the pan into the onion and spice mixture in the casserole pot. Bring to a simmer.

Grind walnuts to a fine powder in a food processor.

Cook and stir walnuts in a pan over medium heat until fragrant. Stir ground walnuts into the casserole pot. Add the browned duck legs. Reduce heat and simmer until duck legs are tender, approximately 3 to 4 hours.

Bring stock mixture to the boil. Cook until reduced and desired sauce consistency is reached. Season with salt. Ladle sauce over duck legs.

Lamb Tagine

This one is a classic Moroccan dish, the fragrance of which will quicken the heart of anyone, whether fasting or not. It might take a bit of preparation, and you may need some extra equipment (a tagine pot) for optimal results, but if you have the means, it’s worth your while!

  • 3 tbs olive oil
  • 1kg diced lamb
  • 2 tsp paprika
  • ¼ tsp ground turmeric
  • ½ tsp ground cumin
  • ¼ tsp cayenne pepper
  • 1 tsp ground cinnamon
  • ¼ ground cloves
  • ½ tsp ground cardamom
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp ground ginger
  • 1 pinch saffron
  • ¾ tsp ground coriander
  • 2 medium onions, halved and cut into wedges
  • 5 carrots, quartered and sliced lengthways
  • 3 cloves garlic, minced
  • 1 tbs grated ginger
  • 1 lemon zested
  • 400ml chicken stock
  • 1 tbs tomato puree
  • 1 tbs honey

Toss lamb with 2 tablespoons of the olive oil, and set aside. In a large resealable bag, toss paprika, turmeric, cumin, cayenne, cinnamon, cloves, cardamom, salt, ginger, saffron and coriander. Add the lamb to the bag, and toss to coat well. Refrigerate at least 8 hours, preferably overnight.

Heat 1 tablespoon of olive oil in a large, heavy-bottomed pot over medium-high heat. Add 1/3 of the lamb, and brown well. Remove to a plate, and repeat with remaining lamb. Add onions and carrots to the pot and cook for 5 minutes. Stir in the fresh garlic and root ginger. Continue cooking for an additional 5 minutes.

Return the lamb to the pot and stir in the lemon zest, chicken stock, tomato puree and honey. Bring to the boil, then reduce heat to low, cover and simmer for 1 1/2 to 2 hours, stirring occasionally, until the meat is tender.

Rose petal pound cake

This traditional pound cake comes with a twist by using rose water, which you can find at most import shops or large supermarkets. In a pinch, you can also substitute the rose water for orange water. It will make a fragrant and delicious finish to a meal.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ tsp salt
  • 1 cup butter
  • 1 2/3 cups white sugar
  • 5 eggs
  • 1 tsp almond extract
  • 3 tbs ground almonds
  • 1 tsp rosewater
  • 1 tbs confectioners sugar

Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease one 9-inch tube pan.

Sift together flour and salt and set aside.

Beat butter in a mixing bowl until light and fluffy. In a separate bowl, beat sugar and eggs together until doubled in volume. The mixture should be thick and lemon-coloured.

Add sifted flour and salt gradually to the egg mixture, mixing until fully combined. Fold in creamed butter and mix thoroughly.

Divide batter into two equal parts. Into one part, add the almond extract and the ground almonds. To the other part, add the rosewater. Spoon the two batters alternately into the prepared pan.

Bake in the preheated oven until a cake tester comes out clean, 50 to 60 minutes. Let the cake cool for 15 minutes; then remove from pan to cool completely. Dust with confectioner’s sugar before serving.

~

We hope these recipes inspire you to create the best possible Suhoor and Iftar to make this year’s Ramadan extra special.

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

See you around The Hive!

We do a lot of Hospitality Team Member EPA s, and it’s easy to see why. The Hospitality Team Member Apprenticeship Standard offers a versatile learning program that could lead any apprentice into an amazing career in the hospitality sector.

We also get a lot of questions from our Employers about what’s involved in the Hospitality Team Member EPA. This guide will detail each End-Point Assessment activity and let you know what you and your apprentice can expect.

On Demand Test

Hospitality Team Member EPA On Demand Test

The On Demand Test for the Hospitality Team Member EPA will be a multiple choice test that covers the core and specialist knowledge that all Hospitality Team Members will need to know. The apprentice will be given 90 minutes to complete the test.

Questions in the On Demand Test will be scenario-based, asking for a course of action or solution to a situation/problem based on real-life workplace activity. The Test is designed to allow the apprentice to demonstrate joined-up thinking and reasoning. The Test will also be created against the Apprenticeship Standard, ensuring all knowledge elements of the Standard are touched upon.

The first half of the Test will cover core knowledge. The second half will cover their specialist function. Both parts of the test will have equal weighting, and the apprentice will need to pass both sections in order to pass the Test overall.

Questions for the On Demand Test will be sourced from question banks created by TQUK against the Apprenticeship Standard to ensure all standards are covered. They will be written using the language, tone and style expected for a Level 2 apprenticeship.

Mocks

Before the On Demand Test, the apprentice will have the opportunity to do a mock multiple choice question test. TQUK has a bank of test questions that can be used to populate this test. The mock test will be in the same format as the On Demand Test, and so it will allow the apprentice to get a sense of the kinds of questions they will be asked and to get a feel for how the assessment will be conducted.

Tips

  • Make sure your apprentice takes enough time to review all the core and specialist knowledge before the test
  • Ensure they take the mock test to prepare them for the real assessment
  • Provide any support to the apprentice they require, including reviewing material
  • Check out how our multiple choice questions are created

Practical Observation

Hospitality Team Member EPA Practical Observation

The Practical Observation will take two hours. In some cases, it may be split into two one-hour Observations to cover preparation and service. This assessment activity is designed primarily to give the apprentice the opportunity to demonstrate their skills and behaviours in a real-world work environment.

During this assessment, the End-Point Assessor will observe the apprentice during the normal course of their duties in a hospitality environment. The apprentice should be free to move from one area of the establishment to the other. They must demonstrate all the relevant core and specialist abilities during the Observation.

The Observation will be conducted at a time that reflects typical working conditions and avoids seasonal periods of low-level trading.

Before the Observation is scheduled, you must draw up a two-week working schedule to present to the End-Point Assessor that includes levels of business. This will allow the End-Point Assessor to pick a suitable time to conduct the Observation.

For certain specialist functions (food production and housekeeping), external customer interaction may be limited. Apprentices enrolled in these specialist functions must demonstrate competence whilst interacting with internal customers.

Tips

  • Ensure your apprentice knows the time, date and location of the Observation
  • You may wish to conduct a mock Observation with the apprentice in order to prepare them for the assessment
  • Ensure your apprentice reviews all the latest industry terminology so that they know what they’re talking about
  • Submit your two-week working schedule to the End-Point Assessor so that they can schedule a suitable time for the Observation

Business Project

Hospitality Team Member EPA Business Project

The Business Project will be an 800 to 1,200-word report proposing a solution to a business-related problem that the apprentice thinks will make an improvement to your organisation. In order to write the report, the apprentice will need to gather and review information so that they can present an informed proposal to management.

The Project is an opportunity for the apprentice to demonstrate their ability to think through and plan a project which demonstrates their business understanding. It will primarily test their knowledge and skills.

At the first meeting with you and the End-Point Assessor, the apprentice will submit a 200 to 300-word initial proposal for discussion and approval. (If for any reason the proposal is not approved at this meeting, a revised proposal should be sent to you and End-Point Assessor within one week).

The Project should demonstrate how the apprentice has:

  • Understood the context of the business
  • Maintained up-to-date knowledge of trends and developments in the hospitality industry
  • Identified the need for the Project (ie related to customer feedback, cost efficiency, the reputation of the business, increasing market share, increased productivity, etc)
  • Gathered and reviewed information
  • Developed realistic business recommendations

The apprentice should be given sufficient time to research and write the proposal document. They should also be provided with facilities to conduct this work with the appropriate IT applications. This space must be away from their everyday work.

The Business Project will support the Professional Discussion, so the apprentice will need to submit the final report to the End-Point Assessor 7 days in advance of the Professional Discussion.

Tips

  • Ensure that the apprentice submits the Business Project 7 days in advance of the Professional Discussion
  • Ensure that you have all the appropriate facilities and equipment required for the apprentice to complete the Project
  • Provide any support to your apprentice they require
  • Discuss any concerns your apprentice may have in order to guide them towards a project direction

Professional Discussion

Hospitality Team Member EPA Professional Discussion

The Professional Discussion will be a 40-minute structured discussion between the apprentice and the End-Point Assessor and will take place in a quiet room, away from the apprentice’s everyday duties. During the Discussion, the End-Point Assessor will ask the apprentice a series of prepared questions, and the apprentice will provide answers. The Discussion will also include a 10-minute presentation of the apprentice’s Business Project followed by a short Q&A section. All other assessment activities of the Hospitality Team Member EPA must be completed before the Professional Discussion takes place.

The Professional Discussion will be prepared and led by the End-Point Assessor. You will need to attend the meeting to support the apprentice and confirm information.

During the Discussion, the End-Point Assessor will ask the apprentice questions relating to:

  • Any learning, development and continuous assessment
  • Coverage of the Apprenticeship Standard
  • Personal development and reflection

The apprentice will be informed of the format of the Discussion five days in advance and will need to bring supporting materials with them to demonstrate their competence. The Discussion will be structured to bring out the best of the apprentice’s knowledge, skills and behaviours.

The Professional Discussion will recognise areas that have already been covered in the Practical Observation and Business Project so that over-assessment does not occur.

Tips

  • Ensure that the apprentice brings all necessary supporting material with them to the Discussion
  • Encourage the apprentice to discuss any concerns with the End-Point Assessor
  • Encourage the apprentice to review their past work to ensure they are fully prepared
  • Consider conducting a mock Professional Discussion to prepare the apprentice for the experience of the assessment
  • The Professional Discussion may be conducted using technology, such as video conferencing software, as long as a fair and accurate assessment can be maintained

Grading

Hospitality Team Member EPA Grading

Apprentices can either receive a Pass or Distinction for their Hospitality Team Member EPA. All assessment activities will be structured so as to give the apprentice the opportunity to receive a Distinction. For an explanation of which standards will be assessed by which assessment activities, please see the full Apprenticeship Standard.

Section A Grade Score (Pass=1, Distinction =3)
Practical Observation
Business Project
Total Section A:

 

Section B Grade Score (Pass=1, Distinction=2)
On Demand Test
Professional discussion
Total Section B:

If any assessment activity is failed, it must be retaken. All assessment activities must be passed for the apprentice to complete the apprenticeship. The final grade for the Hospitality Team Member EPA will be calculated as follows:

Total score Overall grade
4-8 Pass
9+ Distinction

~

With the right preparation, your apprentice can achieve great things in their Hospitality Team Member EPA. You may also want to consider how your apprentices can best prepare for their End-Point Assessment, as well as how to get into the ideal EPA mindset. Share this info with your apprentice to help them out!

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

See you around The Hive!

On March 20 2019, TQUK EPA passed two Hair Professional apprentices at The Link Academy with Distinctions!

Benjamin Ward and James Garner were the first apprentices assessed by TQUK at The Link Academy, an independent work-based learning provider specialising in barbering. The Huddersfield-based organisation has provided bespoke training to their learners since 2011, and began offering apprenticeships on the new Apprenticeship Standards in 2016.

Getting a Distinction in the Hair Professional Apprenticeship is incredibly difficult, so we were absolutely delighted to see that both Benjamin and James cut their way to success in their End-Point Assessments. We have no doubt that this success is the first of many for both of them!

Both Hair Professional apprentices at The Link Academy undertook a rigorous End-Point Assessment that included a Practical Assessment and an Oral Questioning. The assessment tested their skills in a practical context, allowing them to demonstrate all the barbering techniques in their arsenal while providing explanations and justifications of all of their actions.

During the EPA, both Benjamin and James undertook consultations with customers; demonstrated their ability to shampoo, condition and treat hair; used various cutting techniques to create a variety of looks; trimmed facial hair into shape; and provided shaving services for their customers.

Now that they have their apprentice certificates in hand, let’s see what everyone had to say about their achievements!

Their End-Point Assessor, Julie Wernham, was blown away by the performance of both apprentices:

“Benjamin and James were down to earth, customer focused and adopted a professional approach. Their work was creative, showing their passion and was personalised with attention to detail. This was supported by their sound knowledge and expertise, which reflected the high standard of training they have received. 

“I was made to feel welcome by The Link Academy and supported by TQUK during the process of End-Point Assessment for the Hair Professional Standards. 

“It was a privilege to be part of their journey and of the industry’s future generation of barbers.”

Both James and Benjamin faced their EPA head-on after undergoing a challenging and rewarding apprenticeship:

Here’s what James had to say about the apprenticeship and his EPA:

“During my apprenticeship at The Link Academy I have not only improved my haircuts and shaving, but I have also become a much more professional barber. Having the opportunity to work on real clients from day one made me realise what it is like to work in a barbershop from the beginning. It also allowed me to build my people, customer service and communication skills.

“The Link Academy not only teach you barbering and hairdressing, but they also teach you people skills and how to deal with different situations in the salon. I have thoroughly enjoyed my apprenticeship here working with top barbers and stylists and also top people.

“Since receiving my Distinction for my End-Point Assessment, it has been really nice to have my success being celebrated by my colleagues and training academy. What I found most challenging was trying to arrange the correct clients that met the correct criteria. I also found it very nerve-wracking having the assessor watching over me. However, I feel that this brought out the best out in me.

“The Link Academy did a brilliant job in supporting me from start to finish on my course and I am very grateful for all of their help and the hard work they put into me. I am also very grateful for all of the opportunities that have come towards me recently.

“My End-Point Assessor was really calm which helped me to calm down as well. Julie really put me at ease which made me feel like it was just a normal day with my usual clients.”

Amanda Lodge Stuart, Director at The Link Academy, was delighted by the results of their Hair Professional apprentices:

“James and Ben have both worked exceptionally well throughout the term of their apprenticeships. They have continually improved their knowledge, skills and behaviours and listened carefully to all developmental feedback from their Trainer, Ben Lodge, to achieve the Distinction grade that they have been awarded. They have both committed to practice continually on the salon floor and have gone through several mock assessments before agreeing that they were ready for EPA.

“We are really excited and proud to be awarded Distinctions on our very first experience of going through an EPA. This has been a totally different experience from working towards a framework apprenticeship. Here at The Link Academy, we feel the Standard has much more value and is a realistic expectation of what an apprentice should look like once they qualify. 

“TQUK has supported us fully throughout the process. They have been very easy to get hold of and ask questions. The Gateway process was clear and easy to follow and we felt fully informed throughout. The End-Point Assessor was very approachable and friendly and she most certainly put both James and Ben at ease.”

Kelle McQuade, our Head of EPAO, wanted to give her own congratulations to Ben and James:

“Congratulations you two! You should be incredibly proud of yourselves. Achieving a Distinction is no easy feat, and you both dazzled your End-Point Assessor with your fantastic skills and expert knowledge. I’m sure that your End-Point Assessment has prepared you for any hairy situations you may encounter in the future and I hope you’re excited for the long and successful careers ahead of you!

“We pride ourselves on the support we give to all of our centres, and we’re very happy that The Link Academy has been pleased with our services. We agree wholeheartedly that standards are a much better way of ensuring apprentices are fully competent in their roles compared to the old frameworks and are glad that The Link Academy agrees! We look forward to a long and fantastic partnership with more Distinctions down the line!”

~

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

See you around The Hive!

This article originally appeared in FE News on 15 March 2019.

Think of the last time you played a board game. Monopoly? Risk? Doesn’t matter. The important thing is that when you played, there were a set of rules that everyone had to follow if they wanted to play.

Knowing the rules to a game lets you participate, and following those rules allows the game to proceed. Without the rules, nothing happens. It’s just a bunch of people sitting at a table, twiddling their thumbs.

In most areas of life, we need rules and guidelines in order to function. Without them, most of us wouldn’t know what to do.

As you can imagine, this applies to many areas of further education. One area where a set of rules is very much needed is in the External Quality Assurance (EQA) to End-Point Assessment (EPA).

Who makes the rules?

A group of people discussing the rules of EQA of EPA

Currently, there is no single regulator of EQA of EPA in England. Instead, when developing an Apprenticeship Standard, Employer and Trailblazer groups determine which category of EQA would be best placed to deliver for their sector:

  • the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education,
  • the Employer group,
  • a professional body,
  • Ofqual or QAA.

As a result, there are more than 25 EQA providers providing quality assurance services for different Apprenticeship Standards.

This sounds like a decent idea on paper. It may, for example, give professional bodies the opportunity to regulate their own sector and promote established best practice. Employers may also like the idea of a sector-specific EQA involved in the quality assurance process of their apprenticeships. However, in practice, this approach has caused many problems.

EQAs assigned to particular Apprenticeship Standards appear siloed off, playing by the rules set for their own sector. And employers are unlikely to be aware of the EQA details unless they understand a very complicated process, which makes the employer-satisfaction argument a moot point.

This approach also makes it difficult for organisations, like EPAOs, who need to work across sectors and with many EQAs while delivering EPA. Consistency is needed, and fast.

EQAs and EPAOs

It can be tough for EPAOs and EQAs to come to terms on the EQA of EPA

Over the last two years, TQUK has delivered EPA for many different Apprenticeship Standards. As a result, we’ve interacted and collaborated with many EQAs across a range of sectors, with wildly varying experiences.

One EQA we engaged with set out to conduct their review of our services in August of last year, yet that review did not happen. After several months of following up, the review took place…in mid-December.

What’s more, the review was only a simple 90-minute on-site visit plus a desk-based review of materials and evidence submitted in August to a tight deadline. As of March 2019, we have still not received any report on that visit.

Some EQAs, however, have been more proactive, undertaking first visits, prioritising their visit schedules based on activity levels of individual EPAOs and sending reports within ten days. We have also had EQAs performing anywhere between these two extremes.

Having a common set of rules that apply to EQAs across sectors would help EQAs, too. At the moment, both EPAOs and EQAs need to prepare for visits and audits while not knowing the timelines or standards against which they’ll be judged.

There are also currently no common approaches across EQAs or other industry regulators. In other cases, EPAOs can receive contradictory advice and feedback from different EQA bodies. For instance, a professional body in one sector may outline that something is accepted industry practice, whereas Ofqual, for example, may not.

Such a situation begs the question: is Ofqual best placed to be an EQA for EPA if they can only apply a one-size-fits-all approach? And, if so, are EQAs being given clear guidance on what exactly their role and remit is?

The awarding sector provides a potentially good example to emulate. When an Awarding Organisation offers an EQA service, they produce a handbook which includes clear details of the systems and processes that the centre is expected to have in place.

This provides a standard framework against which both the Awarding Organisation and centre can work. Such a system could work in the EQA of EPAOs if the framework provides clarity and detail without room for individual interpretation.

A consistent methodology is really important to have in place because it gives EPAOs and EQAs a sense of what the rules are so that they’re not working blind.

Assessment plans

Fixing the EQA of EPA can help create good assessment plans

The fragmented approach to EQA of EPA also affects the creation of high-quality and fit-for-purpose assessment plans by the Institute (previously IfA) and the Trailblazer groups.

TQUK has come across many assessment plans that are not well devised, with unclear direction, over-assessment, the timing of assessment activities and grade descriptors all being on-going issues. In many cases, EPAOs have had to bridge gaps independently to ensure quality benchmarks are being met and that apprentices are receiving a quality assessment process.

EQAs, in theory, are supposed to act as a port of call, or buffer, between EPAOs and Employer groups. If EPAOs have any questions or concerns about assessment plans, they are meant to go through the allocated EQA. Some EQAs fulfil this role well, while others do not provide clear guidance.

In some cases, it is unclear who the allocated EQAs are and no contact details are provided for EPAOs to contact.

Establishing rules outlining what is expected in this area will help EQAs and EPAOs contribute to the development of assessment plans so that mistakes aren’t repeated in the future.

Moving forward

The need for a more integrated approach to EQA of EPA has been recognised by the Institue. They have indicated that they are making moves to implement a new, more detailed framework for EQAs to follow and will emphasise support and guidance for EQAs and EPAOs. We eagerly await the day when there will be more standardisation between EQAs.

In the meantime, TQUK will continue to do everything we can to create a level playing field for all involved.

~

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

See you around The Hive!

This is big news for our employers.

On 13 March, Phillip Hammond, Chancellor of the Exchequer, revealed in his Spring statement that small and medium-sized enterprises will get a massive boost for their apprenticeship programmes by announcing a £700 million package of reforms, to be implemented in April.

From 1 April, non-levy-paying employers will have their co-investment rate cut from 10% to 5%, halving the financial burden on these organisations.

The cut is meant to incentivise non-levy paying organisations initially put off by the co-investment rate to invest in more apprenticeship programmes.

Since the introduction of the levy and the co-investment rate, employer and learning organisations have called for a reduction in the co-investment rate. Many small businesses were also holding off on starting their own apprenticeship programmes, hoping that the rate would be reduced.

With the rate cut, billions of pounds could be freed up to invest in apprenticeships. 54% of all apprenticeships in England are with non-levy paying employers. This percentage will only grow.

TQUK is delighted by this announcement. The apprenticeship co-investment rate cut removes an obstacle that kept many employers from starting their own apprenticeship programme and investing in the exciting, high-quality apprenticeships they need to take their businesses forward. We are excited to work with employers who will be embarking on their apprenticeship journey.

Check out all the apprenticeships TQUK offers End-Point Assessment for, and visit the Department for Education website for complete details on the funding rules from 1 April 2019.

See you around The Hive!

A good EPA mindset

It can be tricky to get into a good EPA mindset.

End-Point Assessment is the last test, the big cheese, the final frontier. During your EPA, you’ll be tested to make sure you have all the knowledge, skills and behaviours you need to take your career into the stratosphere.

Nerves can get the best of anyone during an assessment, and that’s normal! We could give you some general tips on keeping a positive mindset during your EPA: eat well, make sure you’re fully rested and don’t be afraid to take a break when you’re revising to clear your mind.

But we love to go above and beyond here at TQUK EPA. So, we scoured the internet to find out unique ways our apprentices can get into an optimal EPA mindset and completely own their EPA. Enjoy!

Review early, and often

Everyone knows that you should review your work before you go into a test. That’s obvious. What most people don’t consider is when they should do it.

Rather than having a massive cram session the night before, it’s far better to break up your review sessions throughout your apprenticeship. Every two or three weeks, try to take a few hours to review what you’ve done and see if there are any gaps in your knowledge, skills and behaviours that you need to fill. Reviewing the Apprenticeship Standards for you apprenticeship is a great way to do this. The Apprenticeship Standards contain your assessment plan and a detailed list of all the criteria you need to meet to get the highest mark possible.

To find the full Apprenticeship Standard for your apprenticeship, go to the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education website and search for your apprenticeship title. It’s as easy as that!

While reviewing areas of improvement early and often requires diligence and willpower, constantly reviewing will help you retain and improve your knowledge and skills. By taking bits of time throughout your apprenticeship to review areas in your knowledge and skills that are lacking, you can make the necessary adjustments and go into your final assessment confident and ready.

Read your notes…backwards

Not only is this a fun exercise, but it can also give you new insight into your job role.

If you’re revising for a knowledge test, reading over any notes you have can actually be unproductive. As many people read their notes from start to finish, they can start to remember, generally, the order in which they wrote things and stop paying attention and retaining useful information.

By reading your notes backwards, they’ll be taken out of their original context, and as a result, you’ll pay more attention and think more about what you wrote.

Power Stance!

At some point in your life, you’ve probably been told to stand up straight with your shoulders back.

Depending on the context, this isn’t necessarily a way of people correcting your posture. When you stand up straight, you become larger and take up more space. In many ways, you appear more powerful.

Your brain can often take cues about how to think from your body. Studies have shown that there is a correlation between confident postures and improved outlook. Having a confident posture helps to modulate your brain’s response to your thoughts, making it more accepting of good thoughts and more dismissive of bad thoughts. In a 2010 study, researchers found that people who strike so-called ‘power poses’ experience increased testosterone levels and lowered levels of cortisol, the body’s stress hormone.

So, just before you take your assessment, stand up straight, strike a power stance and you’ll have all the confidence of a rock star!

Mindfulness

Mindfulness is the psychological process of bringing one’s attention to experiences occurring in the present moment, which one can develop through meditation or other kinds of training. It is simply the act of paying attention to whatever you are experiencing, as you experience it. Mindfulness can be useful because it helps you draw attention away from the chatter in your head.

Mindfulness practices have been employed by psychologists to reduce symptoms of depression, anxiety, stress and have even been used to treat drug addiction. People who practice mindfulness are better able to manage stress, handle complex situations and tend to have reduced levels of anxiety.

Think about going into your Culinary Challenge or Project Presentation totally centred and ready to take on whatever comes your way. That’d be pretty useful, right?

Check out these mindfulness apps to help get you into a good EPA mindset.

Find a puppy

Therapy animals have long played a role in hospitals and care homes to help people get better and bring some cute positivity into their lives. There’s something about the presence of animals that fills people with an inexpressible joy.

Many universities and colleges across the world have already discovered the benefits of having puppy rooms to help their students de-stress. And if it can work for them, it can work for you.

So the next time you’re feeling too nervous to sit still, take some quality time with your favourite animal, borrow a friend’s pet or visit your local pet shop for some of that sweet puppy love. A visit should be sure to quiet those nerves and put you in a more positive mindset to smash your EPA!

~

What are your EPA de-stressing strategies? Share them with us!

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

See you around The Hive!

We are delighted to announce that TQUK EPA has recently entered into a partnership with PGL after assessing and passing eight of their Hospitality Team Member apprentices!

The apprentices, who joined PGL in 2017, underwent in-depth training programmes that lasted for more than 12 months and equipped them with all the fast-paced Hospitality skills that their chosen specialities required. Apprentices worked in harmony as those who specialised in Housekeeping learned how to keep facilities in tip-top shape as guests went about a full day of fun activities. Food Production apprentices immersed themselves in juicy, flaming, hot-off-the-grill kitchen skills as they prepared nutritious food that the Food and Beverage Service apprentices served hungry guests with their world class customer service.

When PGL decided that they were ready for their final test, the End-Point Assessment, they approached TQUK to partner with them and help them assess all of their apprentices. During the End-Point Assessment period, our End-Point Assessors saw all of the apprentices in their element, demonstrating their full competence across a range of assessment activities. We’re happy to announce that all eight had mastered their programmes.

Who is PGL?

People tubing down a river

PGL is the U.K’s leading outdoor education provider. They offer a wide range of services including educational activity courses, school trips, children’s activity holidays and summer camps with centres across the UK and France. Not only is PGL the largest provider of outdoor instructor qualifications in the UK, but they’ve also been providing apprenticeships for over 20 years for any individual looking to make their mark in the outdoor sector.

The Hospitality Team Member Apprenticeship

Apprentice benefiting from the TQUK and PGL partnership

The PGL Level 2 Hospitality Team Member Apprenticeship is perfect for anyone set on a career in hospitality. Apprentices can choose to perform different roles in the company depending on their chosen speciality including Food Production, Food and Beverage Service or Housekeeping. PGL recruit their apprentices based on their passion, enthusiasm and willingness to learn, which is why no previous experience is required for any of these specialities.

The Hospitality Team Member Apprenticeship Standard contains four End-Point Assessment components: the Business Project, Practical Observation, Situational Judgement Test and Professional Discussion. We were happy to provide extensive support to PGL’s apprentices in their EPA planning meeting where our End-Point Assessors talked them through what to expect for every assessment activity so that they could go in fully prepared. And they didn’t disappoint! Throughout their assessments, all eight apprentices rose up to the challenge and put all of their fantastic knowledge and skills on display. With an apprenticeship certificate in their hands, the great eight have a bright future ahead of them as they now have the full confidence to perform and excel in their Hospitality careers!

And what a future they hold! Not only are all of PGL’s apprentices offered a role in the organisation after they complete their programme, but many of PGL’s senior managers started life at PGL as an apprentice!  That means that many of these great eight may soon be flying up the PGL food chain!

PGL Talks About the TQUK EPA Partnership

PGL talking about the TQUK EPA partnership

TQUK EPA is delighted to be in partnership with PGL and to assist their apprentices at the end of their programme. We saw great passion and commitment from PGL’s apprentices during their EPA and were incredibly proud to complete all eight after they aced their assessments!

Here’s what PGL had to say about the TQUK EPA partnership:

Philip Drew-White, the Apprenticeship Programme Lead (Hospitality), said that:

“TQUK met our requirements in every way. They were extremely accommodating of our requirements and, having set them tight schedules for completing the End-Point Assessment activities, they fulfilled them within the required timescales through great communication, support and organisation, resulting in a 100% achievement for our learners.”

Their apprentices also wanted to chip in with their own thoughts:

Thomas Davies said that:

“During my assessment I found the organisation very good and felt Martina was very good and helpful. She was very nice and welcoming towards me. I felt good starting the assessment as I was well supported by staff. I particularly enjoyed the Knowledge Test and the Observation as I was confident in those areas. I also enjoyed writing and planning my Business Project although I did not enjoy the Discussion at the end of the End-Point Assessment because I was nervous. But overall I enjoyed the assessment and I was extremely pleased when I finished the assessment and passed. I would like to thank everyone who has helped me achieve this.”

Andrew Burch, who received a Distinction, wanted to chime in too:

I found the format in which the End-Point Assessment was held worked really well! The meetings on the phone were good. Very clear and very well instructed. Towards the start of my EPA I was very nervous and didn’t know what to expect but upon meeting with Jo my nerves went straight away! I felt a bit defeated toward the end thinking I wasn’t even going to pass but after I completed it I felt real proud.”

Nikolay Petrov also thought that:

“The whole EPA Organisation on the initial phone meeting about the Knowledge Test, Observation, Business Project and Professional Discussion were great. I have received the necessary support, attention and explanations about the program, the conditions and the things that were required of me. Although I felt nervous and overwhelmed when the End-Point Assessment started, I did well because my assessor was very positive and friendly, communicative and smiling.

“I didn’t enjoy the assessment period much, because I was very nervous and tense, but upon completion, I felt great, and finally realised that the assessment period was full of good memories and was a great experience in my life.”

Rebecca Pill also had this to say:

“I think that the End-Point Assessment was well organised because I was given information about each stage of the assessment and how they would work, timings and locations. I also feel I had enough time to complete all the work books and my Business Project. I felt happy to reach the End-Point Assessment, but I also felt nervous about some elements of the assessment such as the Professional Discussion. I thought that Martina was friendly and put me at ease during the Observation and Professional Discussion. I didn’t enjoy the Professional Discussion but I enjoyed the other parts of the assessment. I felt nervous during the assessment period but I was happy to finish and pass.”

Kelle McQuade, Head of EPAO at TQUK, wanted to congratulate all of the apprentices:

“TQUK pride ourselves on the flexibility and support that we offer with our End-Point Assessment services, and we’re very happy that PGL have appreciated what we bring to the table during our partnership! I’d like to congratulate all of their Hospitality Team Member apprentices on successfully passing their programme. You should all be very proud of your hard work and determination!

“It’s only natural to be nervous during your End-Point Assessment, but you all passed with flying colours so you clearly put in the preparation and work needed for your assessments. Feeling confident goes a long way when you’re undertaking any assessment, so try to get rid of those doubts in the future and go in with the full belief that you’ll excel.

“I look forward to PGL and TQUK EPA’s partnership as we move forward into the future. May this be the first of many successful apprenticeship completions!

~

To keep up to date with the latest news about the TQUK and PGL partnership, return to our blog or follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

See you around The Hive!

 

 

You’ve completed your Formative Study, received your qualifications and just passed Gateway. Now you have to prepare for your End-Point Assessment (EPA).

It’s a big moment in your apprenticeship. But don’t worry – TQUK EPA has your back.

Our End-Point Assessors conduct dozens of EPAs every month, and they see first-hand all the things that apprentices have to deal with. Here are some tips to help you prepare for EPA and finally master your apprenticeship.

The best way to prepare for EPA? Change your mindset!

Apprentice changing her mind about how to prepare for EPA

Preparing for EPA can be overwhelming. The idea of a final exam can really pile on the pressure. This pressure can be counterproductive – the stress it induces can lead some apprentices to underperform. And that doesn’t help anyone.

Rather than think of it as End-Point Assessment, think of it as End-Point Achievement. This might sound a bit cheesy, but it works. Instead of thinking of EPA as a test, it will inspire a more positive outlook to think of EPA as an opportunity to showcase what you can do – whether this is your exceptional culinary skills, unquestionable knowledge of the care sector or exemplary levels of customer service.

Check out this great blog from our Head of EPAO, Kelle McQuade, on how changing your mindset about how EPA works can make a massive difference to the results.

Planning is key

Apprentice planning for EPA

There are many things you can do in advance of EPA to prepare and make sure you have every chance to succeed:

  • Talk with your End-Point Assessor, Employer and Trainer: Before your End-Point Assessment begins, be sure to raise any concerns you may have with your End-Point Assessor, Trainer or Employer. After all, these people are there to support you through your apprenticeship and can provide valuable resources and guidance.
  • Get your times and dates right: Double check that you have the correct times and dates for your assessments. There’s a lot going on during EPA, and it’s easy to get things mixed up. Some assessments may require you to be off-site, so make sure you’re going to the right place.
  • Lingo/Jargon: Each sector has its own jargon that professionals use to communicate with each other. You’ve probably picked up a few terms along the way. Before your assessment begins, make sure you’re using these terms correctly. You’ll need to demonstrate your competence in your role!

Relax

Apprentice relaxing before her EPA

You’ve gotten to the End-Point Assessment, so your Employer clearly thinks you’re ready. You’ve come a long way and you’ve gained all the knowledge, skills and behaviours that your programme requires. You’ve got this – relax, be confident and show them what you can do!

Bring additional evidence to your EPA

Additional evidence needed for EPA

Some assessments may require you to bring additional evidence with you to the assessment in order to properly demonstrate your knowledge, skills and behaviours. For instance, during a Practical Observation, you may need to bring along extra materials and evidence in order to supplement your performance. Or you may need to bring notes or copies of a project you completed to refer to during your Professional Discussion. If you’re unsure, then you can ask your End-Point Assessor about anything you’ll need to bring.

Ask your assessor

Apprentice asking questions during EPA

One of the best things you can do to prepare for your EPA is to have the confidence to ask questions. You may have assessments where you will interact with your End-Point Assessor directly and there may be instances where you won’t be sure what they’re asking of you. If you’re not sure, don’t be afraid to stop and ask them to clarify what you need to do. It’s better to ask in the moment than to muddle through your assessment without the correct guidance.

Stick to what you know

Apprentices reviewing what they know

When answering questions during an assessment, like during a Practical Observation or a Professional Discussion, be sure to stick to answers that are based on your own experiences. Not only will this show the End-Point Assessor that you can apply your knowledge to your assessment, but it will also give them a better picture of your competence, and they can thus ask questions to fill in any gaps.

Review your work

Apprentice reviewing for EPA

This is perhaps the most important way to prepare for EPA. It’s vital that you review the knowledge, skills and behaviours you picked up during your apprenticeship so that you can identify areas where you can improve. TQUK EPA makes this easy. We provide a support package specific to your Apprenticeship Standard with an in-depth self-assessment section that covers the entirety of the assessment plan. Once you finish your self-assessment, you can improve on your knowledge, skills and behaviours and will be much better equipped to go into your End-Point Assessment.

~

We’re always here to support our apprentices in any way we can. If you have questions about your EPA, call us at 03333 583 344 and speak to one of our EPA professionals.

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!

 

It’s December and 2018 has nearly come to an end!

TQUK EPA has had an absolutely amazing year. From launching our new EPA website to being the first EPAO to pass apprentices on brand new standards, 2018 has been chock full of action.

We’re sure that 2019 will only bring bigger and better things. But for now, we’re looking back on our 2018 and reliving some of our best moments. Enjoy!

We Launched our EPA Website

2018 Website

Back in February, we launched our brand new TQUK EPA website which you’re currently reading this blog on! We wanted to have an easy-to-use, all-in-one destination for employers, training providers and apprentices to find all the information they needed on our End-Point Assessment services. The site was a culmination of months of hard work and includes many useful resources for our customers to demonstrate our dedication to providing the best EPA service possible!

Not too shabby, ey?

We Were Approved to Deliver Many More Standards

2018 Standards

From month to month, we were approved to deliver End-Point Assessment for a ton of new standards in 2018! Check out some of them below:

We’ll be approved for many more standards in 2019, so stay tuned for more updates!

We Reached a Lot of Firsts

2018 Firsts

Throughout the year, we were the first End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) to pass apprentices on a range of brand new apprenticeship standards. Back in May, in collaboration with Creative Support, we were the first EPAO to pass an apprentice on the new Adult Care Worker Apprenticeship standard. Sona Peskin became the first apprentice to complete this standard after completing her Professional Discussion in late April. She received a Merit overall, and we were absolutely delighted with her hard work and results!

And it didn’t stop there! In August, we continued our brilliant partnership with Creative Support and passed the first apprentice in the U.K. on the Lead Adult Care Worker Standard! Lee Wild became the first apprentice to pass the standard on 1st August 2018, receiving a Merit overall for her hard work. We couldn’t have been prouder of her! Good job, Lee!

Back in July, we also passed the first Adult Care Worker apprentice in the U.K. to receive a Distinction! Joseph Bailey completed his apprenticeship in mid-June and received a Distinction for his amazing efforts. Both TQUK EPA and Creative Support were amazed by his drive, expertise and confidence. His achievement is also made more impressive by the fact that he is one of a small minority of male apprentices in the care sector. You go, Jo!

Exciting Staff Developments

2018 Staff Developments

Our Hive has only grown stronger over 2018! Back in January, our wonderful Kelle McQuade became our Head of End-Point Assessment Organisation. Under her decisive leadership, we’ve grown quickly and have blazed a trail across the End-Point Assessment landscape!

In April, Rochelle Crichton moved from the role of Business Support Officer in TQUK to End-Point Assessment Officer in TQUK EPA! Rochelle’s been an amazing addition to the Hive and is vital to the smooth running of daily operations. She assists employers, apprentices and training providers with all things EPA and we would be lost without her! More exciting developments are in the mix for Rochelle, as she’ll be taking on a new role in the team from January 2019! Watch this space!

In May, we added another busy bee to our Hive. Lucy Hall became our End-Point Assessment Coordinator, and we haven’t looked back since! Lucy has worked in hospitality and management for years and has extensive experience as an IQA. We couldn’t wait to snatch her up, and ever since she’s joined TQUK EPA she’s been working at the very heart of our EPA provision. As EPA Coordinator, she tracks and oversees all activities associated with designing, developing and delivering compliant, relevant assessment to our apprentices. She also works with a bank of external assessors to ensure our apprentices receive the highest quality EPA possible.

There’s even more on the horizon for TQUK EPA! In January 2019, one of TQUK’s Client Relationship Officers, Matt Garrod, will be moving away from his CRO role and into the post of End-Point Assessment Officer! Matt has already made a great impact in the Client Relationship Team, and he will no doubt continue to shine and dazzle in his new EPA role. We’re glad to have you soon, Matt!

Forging New Partnerships

2018 Partnerships

We’d just like to thank all of the employers and training providers who’ve partnered with us over this past year as they use our EPA services for their apprentices! We hold ourselves to the highest possible standards and strive to deliver the best End-Point Assessment possible. We’re happy that many organisations recognise that, and we’re incredibly proud of all of the partnerships that we’ve forged in 2018. Here’s to building many more in 2019!

~

And there you go! A few of our top moments from 2018. It was an absolutely brilliant year, and we’re thankful for all of our success. Here’s to a brighter future in 2019!

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!

Ever since TQUK EPA started offering End-Point Assessment for the Teaching Assistant Apprenticeship Standard, we’ve gotten a lot of questions from employers about how they can help their apprentices prepare for it.

It’s great to see employers so invested in their apprentices, so we wanted to do a bit more to help them out! If you have an apprentice about to take their End-Point Assessment, there’s a lot you can do to make sure they succeed.

Your Teaching Assistant

Even before your Teaching Assistant apprentice undertakes their End-Point Assessment, they already bring a ton of value to the classroom.  Teaching Assistant apprentices can work in primary, special and secondary education, across all age ranges. Their roles can include providing for special educational needs and emotional vulnerabilities. They are vital assets to have to make sure classes function for all students involved.

Throughout their apprenticeship they’ll attain vital knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to excel in their job, including understanding how pupils learn and develop, getting familiar with curriculums and knowing how to deliver them, developing strategies for learning and support, understanding how to promote professional standards and learning how to maintain professional relationships across your organisation. Throughout their programme they’ll complete their training, ace their work and pass Gateway.

Now, it’s time for the final test: the End-Point Assessment.

The End-Point Assessment for Teaching Assistant apprentices is made up of the following assessment activities:

  • Practical Observation with Question and Answers
  • Professional Discussion supported by Portfolio of Evidence

Practical Observation with Question and Answers

Teaching Assistant Grading

What is a Practical Observation?

In a Practical Observation, the End-Point Assessor will observe the apprentice undertaking a defined set of tasks related to their job role. The apprentice will be observed undertaking these activities while the End-Point Assessor notes and records performance and achievement against defined criteria outlined in the Apprenticeship Standard. Generally, Practical Observations assess skills and behaviours, but a well-designed Observation will assess knowledge, skills AND behaviours. An Observation also pairs well with a Professional Discussion to bring out the underpinning knowledge, so the End-Point Assessor can get a broad view of the apprentice’s competence by both observing them undertake tasks and asking them about these tasks (ie ‘I just saw you do it – now tell me why you did it’).

What Happens in the Assessment?

All details of the event (venue, date, time) will be planned by the employer, the apprentice and the End-Point Assessor before the assessment takes place (ideally during the Gateway stage).

The Practical Observation for the Teaching Assistant End-Point Assessment will take place on location and will be conducted by the End-Point Assessor. The Observation will last approximately 2 hours. The Question and Answer session will last for approximately 15 minutes after the end of the Observation.

The Observation will:

  • Reflect the apprentice’s genuine and typical working conditions;
  • Allow the apprentice to demonstrate all of the Apprenticeship Standard criteria;
  • Take a synoptic approach to assessing the knowledge, skills and behaviours (ie will assess how knowledge, skills and behaviours are connected and overlap);
  • Be carried out on a one-to-one basis (only one apprentice is allowed to be observed at a time).

During the Observation, the apprentice will demonstrate the ability to, among other things:

  • Deliver/lead small group teaching within clearly defined/planned parameters using initiative, sensitivity and understanding;
  • Implement current statutory guidance including ‘Keeping Children Safe in Education’ Part 1, safeguarding policies and the Prevent Strategy;
  • Use specific feedback to help pupils make progress;
  • Use relevant technology competently and effectively to improve learning;
  • Recognise the difference between pastoral and academic issues and model good behaviour for learning;
  • Contribute to a range of assessment processes and use information effectively – for example, written records;
  • Work closely with teachers to ensure their own contribution aligns with teaching.

Once the Observation is complete, the End-Point Assessor will conduct a Question and Answer session with the apprentice. This session will allow the End-Point Assessor to further question the apprentice in areas that they have partially demonstrated during the Observation in order to provide additional assurance.

Questions that the End-Point Assessor asks the apprentice will be written by the End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO). All EPAOs will keep a bank of test questions ready for the Question and Answer session, which is reviewed regularly to ensure unpredictability.

Top Tips: How to Help your Apprentice Prepare for their Practical Observation

  • Do a mock assessment: Conducting a mock observation with your apprentice will help prepare them for the assessment format and give them a sense of what kind of tasks they will perform. Get in touch with your EPAO for guidance on how to conduct a mock assessment.
  • Make sure the apprentice knows the time and date: The End-Point Assessment can be a very busy time. It’s easy for apprentices to fudge their schedules. Double-check that they know where to go and what to do.
  • Review specific topics and terminology: Check out the Apprenticeship Standard to ensure that your apprentice is meeting all the knowledge, skills and behaviours criteria that will be assessed during the Observation and the Question and Answer session.
  • Prepare for the Question and Answer session: It can be easy to assume that the Observation will only cover skills and behaviours, but the Question and Answer session will test the apprentice on various knowledge standards. Encourage your apprentice to review all the necessary criteria to be sure everything is up to snuff.
  • Prepare the premises so that the apprentice has everything they need to succeed: Ensure all the necessary equipment and materials are at hand and that there won’t be any unnecessary or avoidable disruptions during the assessment.
  • Speak with the Training Provider and/or On-Programme Assessor: You may be able to identify areas where the apprentice needs improvement.

Professional Discussion Supported by Portfolio of Evidence

Teaching Assistant Grading

What is a Professional Discussion?

A Professional Discussion is a structured discussion between the apprentice and the End-Point Assessor whereby the End-Point Assessor will ask the apprentice several pre-prepared, open-ended questions and the apprentice will provide responses. It is normally used in conjunction with an Observation or Project Assessment. It will allow the End-Point Assessor to probe deeper into the apprentice’s knowledge and to confirm any questions they had about their performance.

What is a Portfolio?

A Portfolio is a collection of evidence of work, progress and activity which the apprentice compiles over the course of their programme that may include testimonials, journal entries, projects and more. It will give the End-Point Assessor a detailed, tangible view of the apprentice’s abilities and accomplishments.

What Happens in the Assessment?

The Professional Discussion for the Teaching Assistant End-Point Assessment will last for approximately 90 minutes. It will be a structured discussion between the apprentice and the End-Point Assessor following the Practical Observation and will establish the apprentice’s understanding and application of the required knowledge, skills and behaviours. It will take place in a quiet room away from distractions.

The Portfolio of Evidence will serve as the basis for the Professional Discussion. The evidence within the Portfolio can be used by the apprentice to evidence and support their responses to the questions posed by the End-Point Assessor.

The purpose of the Professional Discussion is to:

  • Make judgements about the apprentice’s quality of work;
  • Explore aspects of the work, including how it was carried out, in more detail;
  • Discuss how the apprentice would behave in specific situations, with the End-Point Assessor asking scenario based questions;
  • Ensure there are no gaps within the evidence ;
  • Provide a basis for the End-Point Assessor to make a decision about the final grading.

The Portfolio is completed during the apprentice’s on-programme learning and is meant to support the Professional Discussion. It will contain a minimum of 10 pieces of evidence and a maximum of 15 which may include:

  • Feedback from a performance management review system;
  • Evidence of pupil progression;
  • Work produced by the apprentice (eg interventions);
  • Evidence from Practical Observations and general observations obtained over time;
  • Observations carried out by competent Teaching Assistants and HLTAs, Line Managers, Class Teachers and Mentors;
  • Assessor reviews;
  • Naturally occurring pieces of evidence (eg feedback from visitors/parents);
  • Details of any training and courses attended;
  • Notes from professional discussions.

Top Tips: How to Help Your Apprentice Prepare for their Professional Discussion

  • Make sure your apprentice hands their Portfolio in on time: The Portfolio of Evidence should be given to the End-Point Assessor two weeks before Professional Discussion takes place. Be sure to remind your apprentice of the assigned date.
  • Do a mock assessment: Lots of apprentices can get very intimidated by a Professional Discussion. A mock assessment will help prepare them for the format and the types of questions they will be asked. Contact your EPAO on how to conduct a suitable mock assessment.
  • Support your apprentice by helping them compile their Portfolio: The evidence your apprentice submits needs to be of sufficient quality, and the final Portfolio should not contain any gaps, particularly with regards to Safeguarding and Health and Safety.
  • Help your apprentice relax: It won’t do your apprentice any good to head into their assessment all stressed out. Provide them with some tips to get into the right headspace for their End-Point Assessment.

Grading for the Teaching Assistant End-Point Assessment

A Teaching Assistant apprentice EPA being graded

The final grade for the Teaching Assistant End-Point Assessment will be awarded based on the table below:

Practical Observation with Q&As Professional Discussion with Portfolio of Evidence EPA Grade
Fail Fail Fail
Pass Fail Fail
Fail Pass Fail
Distinction Fail Fail
Fail Distinction Fail
Pass Pass Pass
Distinction Pass Pass
Pass Distinction Pass
Distinction Distinction Distinction

~

We hope this blog gave you a better picture of what’s involved in the Teaching Assistant End-Point Assessment. To keep up to date with all the latest End-Point Assessment news from TQUK, return to our blog or 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

Latest From the Hive Read All >

11 Essential Steps to Hiring an Apprentice Read More >

Man explaining mock assessments to a group

What are Mock Assessments and How Can They Help My Apprentice? Read More >

Apprenticeship Funding Rules

Apprenticeship Funding Rules: Your Ultimate Guide Read More >