The End-Point Assessment (EPA) is coming up, and your Healthcare Assistant Practitioner Apprentice is probably preparing as best as they can.
As the Apprentice’s Trainer/Mentor, you’re doing everything you can to make sure they have all the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours they need.
But there are also loads of extra things you can do to make sure their chances of success are even greater.
In this blog, we’ll offer you some guidance and tips on how to make the EPA a true showcase of your Apprentice’s amazing abilities.
Before we get into any of the assessment components, you’ll need to do some checks.
Make sure that your Healthcare Assistant Practitioner Apprentice has completed everything below so that they can proceed on to the EPA.
In order for your Healthcare Assistant Practioner Apprentice to proceed on to EPA, they must meet the 15 standards of care as set out in the Care Certificate.
The Care Certificate is an identified set of standards that health and social care workers adhere to in their daily working life. Meeting this set of standards ensures that all workers have the same Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours to provide safe, compassionate and high-quality support.
By the end of the Formative Study, your Apprentice should be able to demonstrate the following standards:
- Understand their role;
- Their personal development;
- Duty of care;
- Equality and diversity;
- Work in a person-centred way;
- Privacy and dignity;
- Fluids and nutrition;
- Awareness of mental health, dementia and learning disability;
- Safeguarding adults;
- Safeguarding children;
- Basic life support;
- Health and safety;
- Handling information;
- Infection prevention and control.
You can find a full description of the Care Certificate standards here.
Your Healthcare Assistant Practitioner Apprentice must have received their certificates in Level 2 English and Maths by the Gateway stage to use as evidence for their readiness to undertake EPA.
Level 5 Qualification
As part of their Formative Study, your Apprentice will need to complete a regulated Level 5 occupational competence qualification.
You should keep in mind that your Apprentice needs to have achieved their qualification and received their certificate before Gateway. Keep in contact with your Awarding Organisation to ensure your Apprentice gets their certificate at the agreed time.
Some End-Point Assessment Organisations are also Awarding Organisations. You can make things simpler by having one organisation performing both functions!
Check with the Apprentice
It’s important for the Apprentice to feel confident in their abilities going into the Healthcare Assistant Practitioner EPA. If they’re a bit nervous about their EPA, here are some tips to help them get into the right mindset.
Throughout the apprenticeship program, your Apprentice will have kept a Learning Journal to reflect on their development. The Journal needs to be completed in the 3 months leading up to the EPA. Ensure that all evidence for the Journal is gathered before this point.
Once all the above criteria have been met, the Employer will make their final approval and the EPA can begin!
The EPA for the Healthcare Assistant Apprenticeship is made up of three assessment activities:
- Multiple-Choice and Short Answer Test;
- Observation of Practice;
- Reflective Journal and Interview.
Multiple Choice and Short Answer Test
First up, Knowledge!
Your Apprentice will be required to complete a Multiple Choice and Short Answer Test. This component will test their Knowledge of the following criteria in the Apprenticeship Standard:
- Principles and philosophy of health and social care;
- Physiology, organisation and function of the human body;
- Lifespan developments and healthcare needs from prenatal to end of life/bereavement;
- Research and development in the health and social care sector to inform and improve quality of care;
- Provision and promotion of holistic person centred care and support, duty of care and safeguarding of individuals;
- Importance of the strategic environment in health and social care and the implications for the individual;
- Importance of current evidence based practice within the scope of the role.
In this test, there will be 40 multiple-choice questions worth one mark each and four short answer questions (approx 250 words each) worth five marks each.
Below is the grading table for this assessment component:
|Combined multiple choice and short answer score||Grade|
TQUK uses online testing software that will allow your Apprentice to take their test on a computer. This software allows for digital invigilation and eliminates the need to book a place in a test centre.
Here are tips to help your Apprentice totally knock this assessment out of the park.
- Book extra time to review knowledge criteria: Some Apprentices might struggle with knowledge components. Even if it’s just an hour or two, try to sit down with your Apprentice to make sure their knowledge is sufficient to pass the test.
- Do a mock assessment: Mock assessments help your Apprentice get used to the assessment conditions and get a better sense of what questions will be asked of them. They’re also easy to set up and, with TQUK, free of charge. Give them a try!
- Check to see if your Apprentice has difficulties with sit-down tests: Some Apprentices don’t do well with sit-down exams as it can make them nervous and apprehensive. Once you know, you can suggest some coping strategies to help them better perform during the test.
- Review terminology: There are lots of terms specific to health and social care, and it’s easy to forget a definition here and there. Review the terminology of the sector to make sure your Apprentice understands them and is using them correctly.
- Confirm the time and date: The EPA portion of the apprenticeship can be a stressful time. Make sure your Apprentice has the times and dates right.
Observation of Practice
Next up, Skills!
During this portion of the Healthcare Assistant Practitioner EPA, the End-Point Assessor will observe the Apprentice during their normal course of work in their workplace. The Observation should take a minimum of 90 minutes but can last several hours.
To pass the Observation of Practice, your Apprentice must be able to meet the following requirements:
- Communicate complex, sensitive information through a variety of methods;
- Manage information, keeping accurate records and ensuring confidentiality;
- Use and promote a range of techniques to prevent the spread of infection including hand hygiene, the use of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) and waste management;
- Promote and maintain a safe and healthy working environment;
- Identify and manage risks;
- Demonstrate and promote what it means in practice to provide person centres care and support;
- Treat people with dignity, respecting an individual’s diversity, beliefs, culture, values, needs, privacy and preferences;
- Show respect and empathy for those you work with – have the courage to challenge areas of concern and work to best practice – be adaptable, reliable and consistent;
- Show discretion and self-awareness;
- Promote effective inter-professional and multi-disciplinary team working with peers, colleagues and staff from other agencies;
- Provide appropriate leadership within the scope of the role;
- Undertake defined clinical or therapeutic interventions appropriately delegated by a Registered Practitioner.
Here are some tips to help your Apprentice totally nail their Observation.
- Take some extra time to review Skills criteria: Go through the Apprenticeship Standard with your Apprentice and identify, in detail, what each criterion may demand, and make sure your Apprentice can do it.
- Do a mock assessment: Doing a mock assessment for an Observation would require you to come up with a structure and know what to look for. Get in touch with TQUK to get guidance on how to conduct a great mock Observation.
- Relax: An Observation can be very stressful for an Apprentice. After all, the End-Point Assessor is reviewing their every move. Calming the Apprentice’s nerves will help them relax and allow them to do their best work.
- Make sure the Apprentice knows where everything is: Your Apprentice may need to use particular items during their Observation, and they may struggle to remember where they are during the Observation. Make a checklist of important items they may need and have them double-check their location before the assessment.
Reflective Journal and Interview
Last up, the Reflective Journal and Interview!
Throughout the course of the apprenticeship, the Apprentice will complete a Reflective Journal where they will reflect on their development and the following components of the Apprenticeship Standard:
- Case management: Manage own work and caseload and implements programmes of care in line with current evidence, taking action relative to an individual’s health and care needs.
- Supervision and teaching: Allocates work to and supports the development of others and may supervise, teach, mentor and assess other staff as required.
The Journal must be 2,000 words (+/- 10%) and must include evidence of the Values and Behaviours being applied in the context of case management and supervision and teaching.
The Journal must be completed and submitted by the Apprentice in the three month period leading up to the EPA. It will then be reviewed by the End-Point Assessor and serve as a reference point for the Interview.
The Interview will be an opportunity for the Apprentice to further showcase their Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours. If the End-Point Assessor has any questions that arise from their review of the Journal, Observation or Multiple Choice and Short Answer Test, they will raise these issues during the Interview in order to clarify anything. The Interview will be a two-way dialogue.
The Reflective Journal and Interview are graded on a Pass, Merit, Distinction basis by the End-Point Assessor.
The following is a description of the grading criteria from the Apprenticeship Standard assessment plan:
Pass = Meets the Standard
The content of the Reflective Journal:
- is organised and uses a recognised referencing system;
- uses appropriate language and sentence construction but with some inaccuracies in grammar and spelling;
- is able to relate some concepts and theories to practice;
- makes satisfactory connections between learning and future practice;
- does not go outside the word limit;
- is able to engage in a professional discussion and is able to provide evidence that supports practice;
- demonstrates the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours set out in the Standard have been met.
Merit = Exceeds the Standard
The Reflective Journal content:
- is well organised and uses recognised referencing systems;
- uses appropriate language and sentence construction with accurate grammar and spelling;
- is able to relate a range of concepts and theories to their practice;
- makes good connections between learning and future practices;
- does not go outside word limit;
- is able to engage in and actively take forward a professional discussion and provides evidence that demonstrates a good level of analysis and synthesis across the range of theories and concepts applied to their practice.
Distinction = Far exceeds the Standard
The Reflective Journal content:
- is highly structured and uses a recognised referencing system extensively;
- uses appropriate language and sophisticated sentence construction with accurate grammar and spelling;
- is able to relate a wide range of concepts and theories to their practice;
- draws conclusions and makes insightful connections between learning and future practices;
- does not go outside word limit;
- is able to engage in a professional discussion in a way that demonstrates a very good exceptional knowledge of the concepts and theories they apply to their practice, including an awareness of the limitation of their knowledge and how this influences any analyses and interpretations based on that knowledge.
- Encourage your Apprentice to start their Reflective Journal early: Some Apprentices have trouble expressing themselves well in writing. If your Apprentice has trouble with their writing, advise them that the earlier they start their Reflective Journal, the better. It will give them time to review and make changes over the course of their apprenticeship.
- Reference the grading criteria: Advise your Apprentice to follow the grading criteria above for a Distinction when creating their Reflective Journal and encourage them to live up to those criteria. By following this guidance, they will be put in the best place to succeed.
- Do a mock assessment: While you can’t do a mock assessment for the Journal, you can do one for the Interview. Submit a request to TQUK asking for mock assessment materials, including mock interview questions and assessment reports, so that your Apprentice is prepared for every eventuality.
- Relax: Interviews can be stressful. Do you what you can to prepare your Apprentice and make them feel confident and comfortable before their assessment.
- Time and date: Make double-sure your Apprentice has the right time and date for their Interview.
With the guidance above, your Apprentice should have every chance to succeed during the Healthcare Assistant Practitioner EPA.
See you around The Hive!