Remember that final scene in the 1969 Michael Caine movie The Italian Job, the perfect heist has been pulled off, they’re driving off into the mountains and then all of a sudden the gold bricks are hanging over the edge of a cliff?
‘Hang on a minute lads, I’ve got a great idea’
What Caine and crew failed to do was execute a plan from start to finish.
In End-Point Assessment terms, TQUK has cracked the plan, escaped with the gold and is already planning the next coup. A number of End-Point Assessment Organisations and the sector in general seem to be hanging on the edge of that cliff. We all need to calm down and take a moment here.
We’ve read the recent article published in FE Week regarding the alleged ‘crisis state of end-point assessment’, paying particular attention to the section highlighted as ‘The EPA organisations that aren’t ready to deliver’ and we can confidently say we are ready and have been for a number of months.
We have mock MCQ tests in abundance, we have tried and tested assessment materials in abundance, we have learner support packs ready to assist the apprentice, we have a network of qualified assessors – let’s cut to the chase, we’ve already certificated apprentices on the new standards.
As early adopters of the standards, TQUK end-point assessment partner HIT Training have had apprentices completing their programmes with us well before other providers:
“When other training providers realise that HIT Training have been successfully completing end-point assessment for over six months, they are always surprised.’; says Jill Whittaker, Managing Director of HIT Training.
“We have been delighted to partner with TQUK, their excellent planning skills have been integral to smoothing the way for our early EPAs.’
Being completely confident in their ability and the people they work with was the key to HIT Training’s early EPA success. Ensuring the right people in the right places were properly trained with the right knowledge, skills and behaviours to fulfil the needs of the role but, also, properly prepared for end-point assessment.
“It’s not just the apprentice who needs to be ready – EPA is time consuming and, like other elements of the programme, it needs employer buy-in to be a success.”
If TQUK EPA is to be the shining beacon in the distance that proves to others that end-point assessment works, then so be it. We’re ready to be the guiding light. We’ve already got other EPAOs coming to us to and asking to sub-contract MCQ work to us because we have made such great strides already.
Over the past few months, in fact let’s call it the best part of a year, TQUK has invested heavily into the reformed apprenticeship model and the End-Point Assessment system.
And it seems that investment has paid off. But unfortunately negativity breeds negativity – instead of investigating what is going wrong in some circles, should we not be focusing on how to fix things and move forwards? We fear that this negative cloud will spoil the progress that some of have made and spoil it for those that are not just making this work but excelling at it.
Andrew Walker, TQUK Managing Director said: ‘We’re doing End-Point Assessment now. As with any new challenge, there will always be some unanswered questions; there are still bumps in the road to come.
‘But we’re committed, we’re dedicated and we’re working with the cards we’ve been dealt. There hasn’t been a challenge put in front of us that we haven’t been able to solve. It’s exciting to see the apprentices coming through on multiple standards and all the hard work is paying off.’
We recently attended a number of EPAO events where we’ve heard the top and bottom of all the conversations swirling around the sector and it seems alarming to us that we’re all still talking about this, and talking negative at that.
Nothing has come as a shock to the system at these events, nothing has come out of the blue and left us tearing our hair out (recently). Nothing has been said that we’re not doing already.
We’ve implemented, hit the bumps in the road, hung the gold bricks over the proverbial cliff face, retrieved them, smoothed over the surface, refined our process and drove off into the mountains.
Yes, one of the reasons that some EPAOs might not be fully ‘EPA ready’ will be due to the lack of information from the named External Quality Assurers or the timeliness of the IFA to confirm the EQA, this inevitably hampers progress. Not to mention when they go into administration without a whisper of warning.
But we can’t be the only EPAO grabbing the bull by the horns and taking a proactive approach?
We’re working around the barriers and offering to support EQAs through these challenges and the disappointing gaps in assessment plan details using our experience of both assessment and End-Point Assessment.
Now, we’re ready to carry out our first assessment for the Adult Care Worker apprenticeship standard and its full steam ahead.
Surely they can’t be that far ahead we hear you say?
We’ve not even discussed our brand new End-Point Assessment dedicated website, nicknamed The Hive by the way, loaded with content, support and a clear pricing structure in black and orange.
We’ve not even discussed our brand new Verve EPA management system, designed to be comprehensive and easy-to-use, allowing employers and training providers to accurately track apprentice progress with smart notifications and reminders to assist in all key apprenticeship milestones.
We’re not still talking about it and debating it. We don’t want another referendum. End-Point Assessment is here to stay and we have a responsibility as a group of EPAOs to deliver the best service we can for apprentices, that’s why we’re in this sector. We have a responsibility help apprentices, help the country and its sectors grow with talented individuals.
‘To all the other EPAOs I say ‘follow our lead’ – we’re doing this now and we’re doing this well. End-Point Assessment, business as usual.’