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.

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

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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!

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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.

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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.

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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.

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TQUK’s exponential growth continues as we now offer End-Point Assessment for the Production Chef Apprenticeship!

Production Chefs work as part of a team in time-bound and challenging kitchen environments. They must maintain excellent standards of hygiene as they produce food in high volumes from standardised menus and recipes. Some of their other duties include:

  • Producing food meeting portion controls and budgetary constraints
  • Adapting and producing dishes to meet special dietary, religious and allergenic requirements
  • Following, completing and maintaining production schedules, legislative and quality standard documentation
  • Communicating internally and externally with customers and colleagues

After Apprentices have undergone their programme (typically lasting 12 months) they will need to pass their End-Point Assessment. This consists of three assessment activities:

  • On-Demand Test
  • Practical Observation
  • Professional Discussion

On-Demand Test

The On-Demand Test will be a 60-minute multiple-choice test that consists of 30 questions. Each question will have four response options and there will be one mark given per correct answer. The Test will be scenario based, requiring the Apprentice to demonstrate reasoning and joined up thinking against key elements of the Apprenticeship Standard. It will also be on-screen and computer marked unless a paper-based test is required. The Test will take place in a controlled environment away from the pressures of work. Some of the subjects that the Test will cover include:

  • The importance of organisational or brand specifications and consistency in food production
  • Techniques for the preparation, assembly, cooking, regeneration and presentation of food
  • The importance of following legislation and the completion of legal documentation
  • Principles of customer service and how individuals impact customer experience

The Test will be externally set and marked by the EPAO (that’s us!) and can be taken either on the Employer’s premises or off-site. It will be graded on a Fail/Pass/Distinction basis.

Practical Observation

In the Production Chef Apprenticeship Standard, Apprentices are required to demonstrate their skills, competence and behaviors in an element job role. To achieve this, they will have to undergo a Practical Observation in the workplace conducted by their End-Point Assessor. This Observation will last for a total of 120 minutes +/- 10% and will allow the Apprentice to demonstrate the skills and behaviours required by the Apprenticeship Standard, including:

  • Checking, preparing, assembling, cooking, regenerating, holding and presenting food with adherence to individual customer requirements
  • Upholding quality and brand/organisational standards as well as safe and hygienic practices

The Observation may be split up to cover organisational requirements, preparation and service. Only one Apprentice will be observed at a time. In the Observations, it is recommended that the End-Point Assessor ask the Apprentice questions to clarify their observations. This questioning should take place at the end of the Observation within a 20 minute time period and will not interfere with the tasks that the Apprentice is undertaking.

The Observation will be scheduled in advance during the EPA planning meeting to allow the Apprentice to prepare fully. The timings and venue will be planned and the Observation will take place when the Apprentice is in their normal place of work. It will be graded on a Fail/Pass basis.

Professional Discussion

The Professional Discussion will be a 40 minute +/- 10% discussion between the Apprentice and their End-Point Assessor. The Discussion will be planned in advance to allow the Apprentice to fully prepare and will be structured to draw out the best of their energy, competence and excellence. The Discussion will take place in a controlled environment and may be conducted using video technology, as long as fair assessment conditions can be maintained.

The End-Point Assessor who marked the Observation will usually be the same person who conducts and marks the Professional Discussion. This allows the Assessor to ask the Apprentice questions covering:

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

The number of questions asked in total will vary according to the depth of the answers given and how many follow up questions are required. However, the Assessor must prepare a minimum of 7 questions to ask the Apprentice to cover all the assessment requirements and give the Apprentice the opportunity to demonstrate the requirements needed for a Distinction. The Professional Discussion will be graded on a Fail/Pass/Distinction basis.

Grading

The overall grade will be based on the Apprentice’s performance across all the assessment methods. To pass their apprenticeship, they must pass all three assessment activities. Their overall grade is then decided according to the grading table below:

On-Demand Test

Practical Observation

Professional Discussion

Overall Grade

Pass

Pass

Pass Pass
Distinction Pass

Distinction

Pass

Pass Pass
Distinction Distinction

 

After their apprenticeship, Apprentices can work in a range of establishments including schools, hospitals, the Armed Forces, care homes and pub kitchens.

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And there you have it! We hope this helped you gain more insight into the End-Point Assessment for the Production Chef Apprenticeship. Whether you’re an interested Apprentice, Training Provider or Employer, the TQUK’s Production Chef EPA will ensure that all Apprentices have the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours to go out into the world and become a fantastic Production Chef!

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

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We’ve added another one to the books! TQUK EPA now offers End-Point Assessment for the Customer Service Specialist Apprenticeship!

Customer Service Specialists are the main professional in their organisation responsible for direct customer support. They act as a referral point for dealing with complex and technical customer queries, and also function as an escalation point for complicated or ongoing customer problems. They are an expert in their organisation’s products and services, and will share their knowledge with their wider team and colleagues.

Customer Service Specialists are required to analyse data and customer information in order to improve customer service across their organisation. Individuals in this role will be able to work in a range of environments including contact centres, webchat, the service industry or any other customer service point.

After undergoing an extensive training programme, Apprentices will need to pass their End-Point Assessment. The End-Point Assessment for the Customer Service Specialist Apprenticeship will last for a maximum of three months and will consist of three components:

  • Practical Observation with Questions and Answers
  • Work-Based Project Supported by Interview
  • Professional Discussion with Portfolio of Evidence

Practical Observation with Questions and Answers

The Practical Observation will be graded on a fail/pass/distinction basis and will be covered in one session lasting 60 minutes +/- 10%. The Apprentice will be given 2 weeks’ notice of their Observation. The Observation can be carried out before or after the Work-Based Project but it is recommended that it should take place before the Professional Discussion.

The Apprentice will be observed in their workplace carrying out a range of day-to-day duties. The Observation should include activities which allow the Apprentice to demonstrate the full range of their knowledge, skills and behaviours. Apprentices should also have the opportunity, if required, to move from one area of their business to another in order to demonstrate how they’ve applied their knowledge, skills and behaviours to achieve their work objectives.

The Observation must:

  • Reflect typical working conditions
  • Allow the Apprentice to demonstrate all aspects of the standard being assessed
  • Take a synoptic approach to assessment
  • Be carried out on a one-to-one basis

The Practical Observation must also include questioning by the End-Point Assessor to clarify that the Apprentice’s knowledge and understanding is being applied to their work. Questions must be open-ended and End-Point Assessors may ask supplementary questions, in addition to the standardised questions devised by the EPAO, to seek further clarification from the Apprentice.

Work-Based Project Supported by Interview

The Work-Based Project is designed to ensure that the Apprentice’s learning meets the needs of their business and is relevant to their role. Apprentices must submit a 2,500 word +/- 10% Written Report on a Project that they have carried out to their EPAO two weeks before their Interview. All work on the Project must be undertaken over two months in the End-Point Assessment period. The subject of the Written Report should be agreed with the EPAO with guidance from the Employer to ensure that they can comment on the appropriateness for the business, but the EPAO will ultimately make the decision on whether to approve the Written Report.

The Project should cover a specific high-level challenge that the Apprentice has dealt with, such as a complaint or a difficult situation. The Written Report should:

  • Explain what the challenge was
  • Explain what actions, including planning and execution, that the Apprentice undertook
  • Explain what solutions were offered
  • Include details of any recommendations that were made to change a policy or process
  • Explain any feedback from the customer
  • Include details of the Apprentice’s responsibilities and results

The Written Report should include annexes consisting of evidence of the Apprentice’s actions. This can include emails, letters, meeting notes, call logs and so on.

The Work-Based Project will be supported by an Interview. This Interview will last for 60 minutes +/- 10% and will focus on the Written Report. It can take place face-to-face or with online video conferencing, if appropriate. Regardless, it will be conducted in a controlled environment in a quiet room free from distraction.

The Apprentice will be asked 10 competency-based questions by their End-Point Assessor. The Apprentice’s responses in the Interview will be assessed in addition to the Work-Based Project and End-Point Assessors will grade the Project and Interview holistically as a fail, pass or distinction.

Although there is flexibility in the order of assessment activities, it is recommended that the Work-Based Project takes place before the Professional Discussion.

Professional Discussion with Portfolio of Evidence

During their programme, Apprentices must gather a Portfolio that includes examples of their work throughout their apprenticeship. This portfolio will be used by the Apprentice to demonstrate to their Employer that they are ready for EPA. At least two weeks before their Professional Discussion, the Apprentice must extract 10-15 pieces of evidence from their Portfolio to submit to their EPAO which will support them in their Discussion. This evidence could include witness statements, customer feedback such as emails or letters, manager feedback from one-to-one sessions and so on.

The Professional Discussion will last for 60 minutes, +/- 10%. During the Discussion, the Apprentice will use evidence from their Portfolio to support them. The Discussion can be conducted face-to-face or with online video conferencing software and must take place in a controlled environment. The End-Point Assessor will use questions taken from a template set by the EPAO and will grade the Discussion as either fail, pass or distinction using the grading criteria in Appendix B in the standard.

Grading

In order to pass their apprenticeship, Apprentices must gain a pass in every End-Point Assessment element. Once the Apprentice has done this, their final grade can be calculated according to the table below:

Practical Observation with Q&A

Work-Based Project (Supported by Interview)

Professional Discussion (with Portfolio of Evidence)

Grade

 

Pass

Pass

Pass

Pass

Distinction

Pass

Distinction

Pass

Pass

Distinction

Pass

 

Distinction

Pass

Pass

Pass

Distinction

Pass

Distinction

Pass

Pass

Distinction

Distinction

After their apprenticeship is complete, Apprentices will be able to join the Institute of Customer Service as an individual member at professional level. If the Apprentice chooses to pursue customer service further in their career, then they may be eligible for further professional membership.

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And there you have it! We hope this helped all the interested Employers and Apprentices out there learn more about End-Point Assessment for the Customer Service Specialist Apprenticeship. If you’d like to see the other Apprenticeship Standards which we offer EPA for, then click here.

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

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If you want to jumpstart your career in 2019, then an apprenticeship is the perfect way to go!

Not only do apprenticeships allow you to earn while you learn, but they also provide a cost free alternative to university, give you valuable work experience and a high chance that you’ll secure permanent employment. In fact, 90% of apprentices stay in employment after their apprenticeship, with 71% of those staying with their employer after the end of their programme.

So, to help all those who have decided to take the leap, we’re offering four valuable tips to help you completely crush your apprenticeship application.

1. Choose The Right Apprenticeship For You

There are a large range of apprenticeships out there spanning many roles and sectors. Whether you’re interested in working in Hospitality, Healthcare or Management, there will be a perfect apprenticeship out there waiting for you.

So get out there and find it!

A great place to start is with the Find an Apprenticeship service. You’ll be able to search for any job title or employer you’re interested in, input your postcode, and the website will come up with all of the relevant apprenticeships available in your area. If you’re unsure of what specific job role you’d be interested in, you can also use the ‘browse’ function and look for an apprenticeship by category.

2. Conduct Research Into Your Role

Once you’ve found an apprenticeship that you’d like to apply for, make sure you thoroughly research the role. Familiarise yourself with all of the responsibilities along with the qualities that your employer is looking for. Spend a good amount of time reading through the job description and researching the company itself by looking at its website and learning about its values. You’ll need to think about how you will suit the role and the company to optimise your application and interview chances.

3. Personalise Every Application

That research that you conduct will come in handy once you write your application. Once you’re more familiar with what your potential employer is looking for, you can start to write about your own qualities and experiences and connect them with how you’d be perfect for the role.

Write about specific examples to back up your claims. If you say that you have great leadership skills, then give an example of how you’ve demonstrated this in the past. Also make sure that you have excellent spelling and grammar throughout your application as small mistakes never look great.

Furthermore, if you’re applying for multiple apprenticeships, make sure you personalise every application you send. Even if you’re applying for apprenticeships that have the same job role, each role and company will be different, and changing your application to match each role will give you a greater chance of securing several interviews

4. Look Smart and Remain Calm

If you manage to secure an interview, then well done! You should refresh yourself on all of the research that you conducted into your role and company. You can also research some questions that they might ask you in the interview and practice your answers beforehand so that you’re not caught off guard.

Your interview attire will depend on the role and the company. If you’re applying for a role in a more formal company then smart business attire, such as pressed shirts, blazers and trousers will be the way to go. However, if you’re not sure, then it’s best to check with the company before the day. Some employers don’t mind smart casual, or even casual wear, and wearing a suit and tie to an interview like this would look out of place.

Nerves are only natural before an interview. However, by preparing as best you can, having some faith in yourself and remaining calm and professional throughout your interview, you’ll put yourself in the best position to be accepted onto an apprenticeship and start your career off with a bang!

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We hope this helped all you aspiring apprentices out there with your applications!

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!

 

We’d like you to join The Hive!

We’re looking for Freelance Assessors across a range of apprenticeship standards to help us provide excellent, fair and comprehensive assessment of our apprentices. If you have an assessor qualification and a minimum of two years’ experience in assessing then check out all of our standards below and get all of the juicy details! If you’re interested, email epa@tquk.org with a CV and short cover letter to apply!

Freelance Associate Project Manager Assessors

Associate Project Manager apprentices manage business projects to ensure their success and work closely with a motivated and integrated project team to effectively meet the required project outcomes.

This assessor role requires you to have:

  • Excellent knowledge and understanding of the Associate Project Manager Apprenticeship Standard
  • The ability to contextualize the relevant work based project(s)
  • Current, relevant occupational knowledge and expertise at the relevant level of the occupational area(s) you are assessing, which has been gained through ‘hands on’ experience in the profession within the last 5 years

Find more details here!

Freelance Hair Professional Assessors

Hair Professional apprentices must have an intimate knowledge of hair types and will be able to instantly work with a diverse set of hairstyles. This standard contains two routes that apprentices can choose to pursue. To be an assessor, you must have:

  • Route 1: Hairdressing Level 3 qualification or equivalent experience of working at or above this level
  • Route 2: Barbering Level 3 qualification or equivalent experience of working at or above this level
  • 5 years’ worth of hands-on experience, with sufficient depth, as a hairdresser or barber at a senior level

Find more details here!

Freelance Healthcare Support Worker Assessors

Healthcare Support Worker apprentices will work in a team to deliver excellent and compassionate care to those who need it the most. They will attend to a range of clinical duties which includes monitoring health conditions and tracking the overall recovery of their patients.

This assessor role requires you to:

  • Be occupationally competent across the whole Healthcare Support Worker Standard
  • Be a registered healthcare professional or have completed a Level 3 Apprenticeship or regulated occupational competence qualification at Level 3 or above
  • Have experience of working in a health or social care setting within the last 2 years

Find more details here!

Freelance Senior Healthcare Support Worker Assessors

Senior Healthcare Support Worker apprentices will act as the main assistant to registered healthcare practitioners to help them deliver an excellent healthcare service to people of all ages.

This assessor role requires you to:

  • Be occupationally competent across the whole Senior Healthcare Support Worker Standard
  • Be a registered healthcare professional or have completed a Level 3 Apprenticeship or regulated occupational competence qualification at Level 3 or above
  • Have experience of working in a health or social care setting within the last 2 years

Find more details here!

We are also looking for other freelance assessors to join us! If you are occupationally competent in the standards below, then click the links to find out more details on how you can apply!

Business

Business Administrator Assessors

Learning and Development Practitioner Assessors

Learning and Development Consultant / Business Partner Assessors

Childcare and Education

Teaching Assistant Assessors

Children, Young People and Families Practitioner Assessors

Children, Young People and Families Manager Assessors

Healthcare

Adult Care Worker Assessors

Lead Adult Care Worker Assessors

Healthcare Assistant Practitioner Assessors

Hospitality

Hospitality Team Member Assessors

Hospitality Supervisor Assessors

Commis Chef Assessors

Chef De Partie Assessors

Senior Production Chef Assessors

Hospitality Manager Assessors

Production Chef Assessors

HR

HR Support Assessors

HR Consultant / Partner Assessors

Management

Operations/Departmental Manager Assessors

Team Leader/Supervisor Assessors

Retail

Retailer Assessors

Retail Team Leader Assessors

Retail Manager Assessors

Sales, Marketing and Procurement

Customer Service Practitioner Assessors

IT Technical Salesperson Assessors

Customer Service Specialist Assessors

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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!

Hiring an apprentice is the perfect way to improve your business in 2019!

As we’ve said before, hiring an apprentice brings a wealth of benefits to your organisation. 75% of employers reported that hiring an apprentice had improved the quality of their product or service while others saw a decrease in their turnover rates and an influx of new ideas in their workplace.

To help all of the interested employers out there, here’s a useful step-by-step guide on how to hire an apprentice

1. Choose a Standard

Line of doors.

There are still apprenticeship frameworks to choose from, but they are slowly being phased out as the government replaces them with the new and improved Apprenticeship Standards. So, the first step to hiring an apprentice is to choose an Apprenticeship Standard that would benefit your business. There are a huge variety of standards available spanning numerous sectors, from Healthcare to Business to Retail. By hiring an apprentice, you’ll join the many businesses who’ve benefitted from a 76% productivity increase, an increase in retention rates and will give back to your local community by helping combat youth unemployment in your area.

2. Find a Training Provider

Laptop on a table.

After you pick a standard, you should find a training provider that offers training for your chosen standard. We partner with many training providers that train apprentices for employers across the country. The Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers is a good place to start looking, as it contains the extensive list of training providers who are eligible to train apprentices.

3. Check Your Funding

U.K. pounds.

You can receive government funding to pay for your apprentice’s training. If you’re an employer with a pay bill of over £3 million every year, then you automatically pay the apprenticeship levy. This means that you’ll receive funds to spend on training and assessing your apprentices and the government will add 10%. If you’re a business that doesn’t need to pay the levy, then you only need to pay 10% towards the cost of training and assessing your apprentice. You’ll need to agree to a payment schedule with your training provider and pay them directly for the training. The government will then pay the remaining 90% up to the assigned funding band directly to your training provider.

The standard that you choose will have a funding band allocated to it, which is the maximum amount of money that the government will contribute towards your standard. If you’d like more information on funding bands, then check out our handy Funding Band page that’ll give you all the details

4. Advertise Your Apprenticeship

Man shouting on megaphone.

You’ll then have to advertise your apprenticeship vacancy and wait for an influx of applicants. Conveniently, your training provider will do this for you so that you won’t have to lift a finger!

5. Select Your Apprentice

Hand shake.

Once you’ve assessed your pool of candidates, you will select your apprentice and sign an apprenticeship agreement with them. You’ll also have to sign a commitment statement with your apprentice and your training provider. This includes details such as the planned content and schedule for training and what is expected from all parties involved.

Apprenticeships will last for a minimum of a year and can last up to five years depending on the programme. If you’d like more information on the apprenticeship process, then you can contact the National Apprenticeship Service at 0800 015 0600.

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We hope this useful guide helped you take that first step towards hiring an apprentice and taking your business to the next level 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!

 

With the recent additions of the Production Chef, Children, Young People & Families Manager and Children Young People & Families Practitioner Standards, we’re proud to announce that we now offer EPA for a nice, even 30 Apprenticeship Standards!

We’ve come a long way from our founding, when TQUK EPA was approved to deliver End-Point Assessment in April 2017. Since then, we’ve reached a lot of milestones on our journey to becoming a lead End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) in the apprenticeship sector.

2018 was a particularly big year for us, as we were approved to deliver a huge number of Apprenticeship Standards and were the first EPAO to pass apprentices on a number of new standards in the U.K.! This includes passing the first apprentice in the country on the new Adult Care Worker Standard as well as the first apprentice on the new Lead Adult Care Worker Standard.

Now, we offer End-Point Assessment for an impressive 30 standards across a wide range of sectors! Some of our most popular sectors include Healthcare and Management, where we offer standards such as Adult Care Worker, Lead Adult Care Worker, Healthcare Support Worker, Operations/Departmental Manager and Team Leader/Supervisor. To see all of the standards that we offer End-Point Assessment for, head over to our Sectors page and give them a browse!

Stay tuned as we continue to grow in 2019 and gain approval for many more Apprenticeship Standards. We’re not planning to stop anytime soon!

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

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Do you have what it takes to join The Hive?

TQUK EPA is growing at lightning speed, and we’re looking for more busy bees to join our team!

We’re on the hunt for an EPA Assessor Coordinator and an EPA Health and Social Care Assessor/Trainer to hop on board as we continue to establish our place as an industry leading EPAO. To see the full job descriptions of these roles, head over to our Join The EPA Team page!

EPA Assessor Coordinator

This role sits at the heart of our EPA team. This individual will support the growth of our assessment provision and maintain consistently high quality assessment practices. They will be responsible for growing our team of assessors, including an associate bank, and establishing rigorous assessment practices that meet and exceed customer expectation. They will recruit, train and monitor EPA performance through a series of structured training, standardisation and performance review activities that deliver excellent assessment practice.

This individual must be organised, have significant experience in both assessment and internal quality assurance and will thrive on keeping up with developments in an ever changing landscape.

A few key responsibilities include:

  • Taking a lead role in the active recruitment of End-Point Assessors in line with our current and upcoming EPA offers
  • Managing the on boarding process of all EPA Assessors, both permanent and associate
  • Managing and growing a bank of associate EPA Assessors
  • Implementing a programme of pre and post assessment standardisation activities / events
  • Monitoring the performance of assessors to ensure high quality practice is consistently maintained

The essential skills and qualifications that this individual must have are:

  • A minimum of 2 years’ experience within the specialist vocational sector
  • A minimum of 2 years assessing experience with robust knowledge of assessment techniques
  • Evidenced experience in the vocational sector at or above the level to which they will assess
  • Relevant assessor / IQA qualification
  • Level 2 English and Maths qualifications (or equivalent)
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills including report writing

We’d like someone who is confident and ambitious with a “can do, will do!” attitude. They should be motivated, energetic and take responsibility for their own area of work. But most importantly they should work well with others and have fun as they join the TQUK Team!

EPA Health and Social Care Assessor/Trainer

An apprenticeship End-Point Assessor is responsible for providing independent, fair, reliable and consistent assessment services to our customers working with apprenticeship standards. This EPA Health and Social Care Assessor/Trainer must use their assessment experience with relevant industry knowledge of the Health and Social care sector to form judgements and grading decisions on a variety of apprenticeship assessment activities. This individual must be flexible in their approach to all tasks and have exceptional assessment abilities with the independence to travel.

This is a dynamic role which requires the post holder to manage a caseload of both EPA and IQA activities, as well as provide training and guidance to new and associate EPA assessors and deliver EPA process training to partnering training providers and employers. As with the EPA Assessor Coordinator role, this individual must be organised, have significant experience in assessment and internal quality assurance and must be able to keep up with developments in an ever changing landscape.

A few key responsibilities of this post will be to:

  • Deliver outstanding End-Point Assessment and Internal Quality Assurance services to assigned apprentices and employers
  • Undertake End-Point Assessment activities with integrity and impartiality to offer a fair, reliable and consistent assessment experience for all apprentices and employers
  • Manage their assigned caseload to ensure all stages of the EPA journey are completed in a timely manner and to the expected standard
  • Produce accurate and well informed assessment feedback and written reports to validate assessment grading decisions
  • Support the on boarding process of EPA assessors through delivering training and wider induction activities

Their essential skills, experience and qualifications include:

  • A minimum of 2 years’ experience within the Health and Social Care sector
  • A minimum of a relevant Level 3 Health and Social Care Diploma
  • A minimum of 2 years’ assessing experience with robust knowledge of assessment techniques
  • Evidenced experience of preparing and delivering training
  • A relevant assessor and IQA qualification
  • Level 2 English and Maths qualifications (or equivalent)
  • Sound IT and digital literacy
  • Outstanding organisational and time management skills
  • The ability to work in a flexible manner, adapt to different environments and solve problems independently
  • Excellent communication and interpersonal skills including report writing

As with all of our staff at TQUK, we’d like someone with confidence, bravery and ambition. They should be able to maintain professional standards and boundaries, develop great relationships with team members, customers and stakeholders and be motivated and enthusiastic in their work!

As mentioned above, if you’re interested in these roles then you can go to our Join The EPA Team page and find the full job descriptions there. If you think you’d be a good fit, then email kelle.mcquade@tquk.org with a CV and a short cover letter to apply!

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

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It’s only a week into 2019 and we already have an exciting staff announcement!

Matt Garrod, one of TQUK’s shining Client Relationship Officers, is hanging up his hat as CRO and moving to the TQUK EPA team as an End-Point Assessment Officer!

His addition comes as the EPA Team continues to expand as a result of our non-stop growth as an EPAO. 2018 was full of exciting action for us, and we’re sure that Matt’s addition to the EPA Team is the first step to an even bigger and better 2019!

In his time at TQUK, Matt has already dazzled as a Client Relationship Officer, forming lasting relationships and providing world-class TQUK customer service to our centres. As an EPA Officer, he’ll provide invaluable support to our training providers and will be responsible for monitoring and maintaining the quality of our EPA provision.

On his move, Matt says:

“I wanted to join the EPA Team as it’s a fast growing part of TQUK and I wanted to become a part of the team before it could expand even more quickly! My role as an EPA Officer will also be more service oriented which is something that I really enjoy, and I look forward to providing fantastic support to our internal and external EPA staff. Here’s to a brilliant 2019!”

Kelle McQuade, our Head of End-Point Assessment Organisation, chimes in with her own thoughts:

“I’m delighted for Matt to be joining the EPA Team! His level of knowledge and experience of TQUK and our EPA services means that he’ll be the perfect addition to The Hive as we keep expanding into 2019 and beyond. I have no doubt that Matt will help us thrive as we solidify our position as a leading EPAO in the apprenticeship sector. We’re glad to have you on board, Matt!”

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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!

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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!

Teaching Assistants work in Primary, Special and Secondary education across all age ranges, encompassing special educational needs and emotional vulnerabilities. They are vital assets to have in a classroom to make sure classes function for all.

The primary role of the Teaching Assistant is to support the class teacher to enhance the pupil’s learning either in groups or individually, ensuring they understand the work set, know their learning objectives and stay on task in order to make progress. Teaching Assistants are good role models, act with honesty and integrity and contribute to planning and class activities.

A Teaching Assistant’s apprenticeship will include attaining vital knowledge, skills and behaviours to excel in their job role, including understanding how pupils learn and develop, IT skills, knowing a curriculum and how to deliver it, developing strategies for learning and support, assessment skills, knowing how to promote professional standards, and being able to maintain professional relationships across the organisation.

Once the apprentice has completed their training, they will move on to the final test: the End-Point Assessment.

The End-Point Assessment for Teaching Assistant apprentices is comprised 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

The Practical Observation will take place in the apprentice’s workplace by the End-Point Assessor. The Observation will last approximately 2 hours and the Question and Answer session will last for approximately 15 minutes after the end of the observation. All details of the event (venue, date, time) will be planned by the End-Point assessor, the Apprentice and the Employer at the End-Point Assessment planning meeting.

The Observation should:

  • Reflect typical working conditions
  • Allow the apprentice to demonstrate all aspects of the standard being assessed
  • Take a synoptic approach to assessing the knowledge, skills and behaviours as defined by this method
  • Be carried out on a one-to-one basis. It is mandatory that only one apprentice is observed at a time and without support or input from trainers

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, 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 own contribution aligns with the teaching

Once the Observation is complete, the End-Point Assessor will conduct a Question and Answer session with the apprentice, which will last for 15 minutes. This session will allow the End-Point Assessor to further question and apprentice an area that they have partially demonstrated during the Observation in order to provide additional assurance.

Questions that the End-Point Assessor will ask the Apprentice during the Questions and Answer session will be written by the End-Point Assessment Organisation.

Professional Discussion Supported by Portfolio of Evidence

Teaching Assistant Grading

The Professional discussion will last for approximately 90 minutes and will be a structured discussion between the apprentice and the End-Point Assessor following the Practical Observation, to establish the apprentice’s understanding and application of the knowledge, skills and behaviours. The discussion will be planned in advance with the Apprentice and the Employer and will need to take place in a quiet room away from distractions.

The Portfolio of Evidence will allow the End-Point Assessor to lead the discussion, asking the apprentice questions drawn from a template set by the End-Point Assessment Organisation. The Portfolio can then be used by the apprentice to evidence and support their responses to those questions.

The purpose of the Professional Discussion is to:

  • Make judgements about the 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 assessor asking scenario based questions. EPAOs must develop question ‘test banks’ of sufficient size to prevent predictability and review them regularly to ensure they, and the questions they contain, are fit for purpose
  • Ensure there are no gaps within the evidence particularly in relation to Safeguarding and Health & Safety
  • Provide a basis for the independent assessor to make a decision about the grade to be awarded for this assessment method only

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 comprise the following:

  • Feedback from Performance Management review system
  • Evidence of pupil progression
  • Work produced by the Teaching Assistant 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

Grading for Teaching Assistant Apprenticeships

Teaching Assistant Grading

Final grading for this apprenticeship 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

 

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We hope this blog gave you a better picture of what’s involved in your Teaching Assistant’s End-Point Assessment. To keep up to date with all the latest EPA news from TQUK, return to our blog or follow us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and LinkedIn.

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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.

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