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

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

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

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

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

End-Point Assessment

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

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

On Demand Test

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

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

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

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

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

Marking

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

Practical Observation

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Professional Discussion

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

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

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

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

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

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

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And that’s it!

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

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

See you around The Hive!

 

How TQUK Can Help You

The new apprenticeship standards are designed to improve upon what’s gone before and help with the apprentice’s initial journey into their chosen career, before you know it, they’ll be on the road to success.

Bee

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