When COVID-19 hit at the beginning of 2020, no one knew just how much it would impact life. From the closure of schools and shops to sweeping changes to the way we work, life as we know it was totally transformed.
End-Point Assessment was no different. On-the-job training is a vital part of Apprentices gaining the knowledge, skills and behaviours they need to power their careers forward. With COVID-19 interrupting the progression of End-Point Assessments, how were Apprentices going to gain their certifications?
Richard Gibbons was an Apprentice taking the Children, Young People and Families Manager (CYPFM) apprenticeship standard during the height of the pandemic. Having worked in social care for over a decade, Richard knew that the next step in his career was to help others in improving their quality of life.
Richard said, “I have always been passionate about social care. My career began over 10 years ago when I started supporting individuals with ASD and other complex needs.
“The End-Point Assessment was a positive experience which led to me achieving the highest grade possible for my qualification which I was extremely pleased with.”
Achieving a Distinction takes a lot of hard work, motivation and dedication, especially in the midst of a pandemic.
Taking place over the course of 24 months, the CYPFM standard is comprised of a situational judgement test and a competence interview with a portfolio of evidence. These assessment components identify that the Apprentice is competent with their knowledge and the strengths that they’re able to demonstrate within the given standard.
Whether they’re working as a manager in children’s residential care or a manager in the community in a range of different settings, the Apprentice puts the child, young person or family at the centre of their practice. To gain the relevant knowledge, skills and behaviours for a wide range of outcomes, the Apprentice will work on a multi-agency basis with professionals from a variety of different backgrounds alongside team leaders and managers from their own organisation.
Richard said, “’The End-Point Assessment was well structured, with information being shared both effectively and promptly. I could prepare for the situational judgement test and the competency assessment in a manner that suited my learning style.”
The pandemic still impacted Richard’s overall studying and assessment though. The significant gap between the completion of his portfolio and starting the EPA process was a waiting game for Richard.
“I had to keep refreshed with legislative and regulatory knowledge that underpins practice in social care to ensure I had the best chance of success at the assessment stage,” he said.
“I was able to achieve this through reflecting on my portfolio evidence and research-based Knowledge. I was also supported extremely well by my TRN assessor, Pete Foot, who was a constant network of support, signposting me to required learning criteria and communicating both virtually and face to face when restrictions allowed.”
The support that Apprentices’ receive from their End-Point Assessors is crucial in giving them the best opportunity to prepare for their assessment and achieve the highest possible outcome.
Richard said, “I had email and phone call correspondence from my End-Point Assessor, where she briefed me on the expectations of the End-Point Assessment and provided me with guidance on how I could prepare for the test and interview.
“I always had the opportunity to ask questions and the process was outlined to me thoroughly. Having then sat both exams, the information I was given was a fair reflection on how the assessment phase transpired.”
Achieving a Distinction in CYPFM is an incredible achievement, especially with the addition of a pandemic hindering the assessment process. Our End-Point Assessment Delivery Manager, Amy Tolan said, “Richard’s achievement of a Distinction within the Residential pathway of the Children Young People and Families Manager (CYPFM) standard is a phenomenal accomplishment, particularly with the challenges recently faced with COVID-19 restrictions. Richard has developed new knowledge and skills in order to successfully achieve his Apprenticeship Standard, and in turn, enhancing his career opportunities.
“Everyone has a different choice of career pathways, which is what is great about the education industry, but Richard is a great example of where further education can really prepare the next generation of workers. How amazing is it to be learning whilst you work, in a ‘hands on’ environment and earning a salary as you do so!
“TQUK wish Richard all the very best for his future endeavours as he supports the children and families entrusted to his service.”
With restrictions easing and a CYPFM Distinction to his name, Richard is now looking forward to “having an active role in helping others progress and improve their quality of life and the outcomes for children placed in social care.”