As we draw May to a close please allow us to offer another weekly EPA update on the following subjects:

  • Functional Skills- Calculated Results and EPA Sequencing
  • ESFA guidance – updated on 19th May
  • Apprentice Framework switch off
  • New EPA Standards

As well as, a further update and / or reminder regarding:

  • Hospitality & Catering Standards – LIVE from today (26th May)
  • Update on Alternative Assessment Delivery

And finally, a thank you, for your feedback so far and to request more feedback and success stories:

  • COVID-19 Apprenticeship success stories

Functional Skills – Calculated Results & EPA Sequencing

In addition to the flexibilities applied to enable Level 2 Apprentices to progress through Gateway, without requiring evidence of “attempting” Level 2 assessments until 31st July 2020, last week a further Functional Skills related flexibility was published.

The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education have confirmed an additional temporary flexibility that enables all Apprentices to progress to undertake their End-Point Assessment, ahead of receiving their calculated Functional Skills Qualification, later on in the summer.

Typically, an Apprentice is required to provide an End-Point Assessment Organisation with evidence of achievement, for the required Functional Skills level, as part of the mandatory Gateway evidence, prior to the Apprentice commencing their End-Point Assessment.

This new flexibility will enable Apprentices to now progress through Gateway, without this evidence, undertake their End-Point Assessment and submit the Functional Skills evidence at a later date, once received by their issuing Awarding Organisation.

End-Point Assessment Organisations will not apply for the Apprenticeship Certificate until the required Functional Skills evidence has been received.

This flexibility, which has immediate effect, applies to:

  • All Apprentices due to take a Functional Skills Qualification test and receive a result between 20th March and 31st July 2020;
  • Apprentices that are deemed by their Training Provider to have the required level of Functional Skills and sufficient evidence to demonstrate this, to receive a calculated Functional Skills Qualification Pass; and
  • Occupationally competent Apprentices at Gateway who are ready to progress to sit their End-Point Assessment.

Additional guidance is expected to be published shortly to provider Employers, Training Providers and End-Point Assessment Organisations, with greater detail on the implementation of this flexibility. Once published, we will of course seek to implement quickly and provide a further update.

As many of you will be familiar with, our EPA Management system VERVE EPA is custom designed per standard to require evidence against individual standards. We will require evidence of Functional Skills in order for you to submit an Apprentice through Gateway.

In light of this flexibility, to aid this, we have produced a generic document titled “Functional Skills Calculated Results Form”

This can be found under the General Support Materials tab on VERVE EPA.

Training Providers are asked to read and use this form to upload, in lieu of Functional Skills results, when submitting an Apprentice through Gateway. As noted above, once we receive the detail as to the Calculated Results evidence, we will provide a further update on what evidence is needed and how this should then be submitted, in order to enable us to proceed, should the Apprentice have already successfully completed their End-Point Assessment.

ESFA guidance – updated on 19th May

The ESFA have offered a further update to their published guidance, dated 19th May 2020.

This most recent update provides detail on some safe working practices, in line with steps taken to restart the economy and how training and assessments can continue to take place, in line with this safe working practice.

Their included FAQ has also been updated:

  • Questions 19-22 – Linked to furlough arrangements, including Apprentice wage calculations.
  • Question 24 – Funding support for redundant Apprentices.
  • Question 43 – Linked to Apprentice readiness when their line manager is furloughed.

Please read the FAQs here.

Apprentice Framework Switch Off 

A reminder that all Apprenticeship Frameworks will be withdrawn on 31st July 2020.

All Apprentices beyond this date will be required to be registered on an Apprenticeship Standard. Please contact us should you wish to explore adding further standards to your agreement with us, or to discuss other standards, which are not currently part of our portfolio.

New EPA Standards – Coming Soon

Whilst this continues to be a challenging time for us, we have not let this affect our plans to progress and build upon our already impressive End-Point Assessment portfolio.

We are delighted to confirm that we have submitted applications for the following five additional Apprenticeship Standards.

  • Level 2 Early Years Practitioner
  • Level 2 Healthcare Cleaning Operative
  • Level 3 Advanced and Creative Hair Professional
  • Level 4 Lead Practitioner in Adult Care
  • Level 5 Leader in Adult Care

More information, including our fees, can be found on our website.

Hospitality & Catering Standards – LIVE from today (26th May)

We are pleased to confirm that we are fully operational, as of today, for our entire Hospitality and catering suite of standards. Support materials for the approved alternative assessment materials can be found on VERVE EPA.

Please contact us should you wish for any further information.

Update on Alternative Assessment Delivery

Whilst we have been providing you with updates on the approved alternative assessment methods for a range of standards, we thought it might also be useful to share a few brief snippets of feedback from Apprentices, who have now undertaken some of these assessments.

Question – How did you find the alternative assessment method that has been put in place during the COVID-19 outbreak?

Apprentice 1 – Absolutely fine. I actually didn’t expect it to happen, as I had it in mind that it would involve observations, which we know couldn’t happen during the given circumstances.

I had been asked instead to write a reflective statement, which I hadn’t done in ages! But once I started to write it, things were really flowing and I kept thinking of new things to write down. By the end of it, I felt comfortable and it didn’t take too long. It all started to fall into place and it’s a really good way of helping to finish End-Point Assessment. It’s a great idea!

Apprentice 2 – Personally, I found it better. I feel a little more pressure and don’t particularly enjoy being observed, so it takes away that pressure and gives you the chance to better prepare for it.

It feels like it flows better, because you feel less pressure.

Question- Could more have been done to support you to be ready for remote assessments?

Apprentice 1 – Everything for me was absolutely fine!

I was told support will always be given, they will always explain anything or help with any questions, which is absolutely fantastic. I felt comfortable in completing, so for me, I feel nothing more could have been done.

Apprentice 2 – No, I feel I had all the support I needed from those around me, they could always help with any questions I had.

Question – What would you say to other Apprentices who may be apprehensive about the new assessment methodologies?

Apprentice 1 – I felt a little apprehensive at first. Questioning am I able to do it? Will I be able to complete it? But you just have to take a deep breath and throw yourself into the unknown, if you’re unsure.

It may be different for different people. It could be easy, it could be difficult, but just throw yourself at it, and ask questions.

I don’t use computers a lot at home, I’m not fantastic on them, but I threw myself to it and I felt really good when finishing it.

You need to do it and this is the way to do it, so go for it!

Apprentice 2 – Don’t think too much into it. Think of it as an informal chat with someone about what goes on in your average day. I had gotten worked up on how it would be delivered, which made me panic more. When you panic, you forget points, no matter how much you can revise it or go through it. Don’t worry about it, it was great.

COVID-19 Apprenticeship success stories

As before, please do share with us your good new stories, so we can help celebrate all the hard work you are doing to keep Apprenticeships progressing and innovative ways you are working with your Apprentices! Get in touch on epa@tquk.org and give your email the subject line: ‘COVID-19 Apprenticeship success stories’.

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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