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.

Gateway

Gateway leading to a grassy pasture

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.

15 Standards

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;
  • Communication;
  • 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.

Functional Skills

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.

Learning Journal

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

A multiple choice test for the Healthcare Assistant Practitioner EPA

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
40-59% Pass
60-74% Merit
75% Distinction

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.

Top Tips

  • 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

Observation for Healthcare Assistant Practitioner EPA

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.

Top Tips

  • 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.

Top Tips

  • 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.

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With the guidance above, your Apprentice should have every chance to succeed during the Healthcare Assistant Practitioner EPA.

To keep up to date with all things EPA, return to our blog or follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

See you around The Hive!

 

We get a lot of questions about the Adult Care Worker EPA.

After all, the Adult Care Worker standard is by far one of the most popular apprenticeships in the UK. The shortage of skilled workers in adult care and other healthcare sectors makes a subsidised apprenticeship program all the more attractive. Hospitals, care homes, day centres and other employers are jumping on the opportunity.

If your Adult Care Worker apprentices are about to go through EPA, this blog will take you through all of the assessment activities that this standard entails to help you ensure that it goes as smoothly as possible.

Situational Judgement Test

adult care worker epa situational judgement test

First up, knowledge. This is the assessment activity that will primarily assess your apprentice’s knowledge against all of the standards set out in the Apprenticeship Standard. Your apprentice should ideally be reviewing the Apprenticeship Standard regularly to make sure they’re fulfilling all of the required standards.

The Situational Judgement Test is a multiple choice question test containing 60 questions. These questions are drawn from a question bank created by TQUK EPA and are specifically designed to address all knowledge standards. The test will primarily focus on higher-order competencies.

The questions asked are situational in nature – that is, they will present scenarios based on real-life work-based activities to which the apprentice will have to provide an in-depth answer or solution.

The grade for the Situational Judgement Test is determined based on the following thresholds:

  • Pass: 40-49 correct answers
  • Merit: 50-55 correct answers
  • Distinction: 55+ correct answers

In order to help your apprentice achieve the best possible result in their Situational Judgement Test, here are some things you can do to help them along the way:
Top Tips

  • Do a mock test: In order to familiarise your apprentice with the format of the Situational Judgement Test, your apprentice can take a mock test. This test will include questions created by TQUK designed to be similar to the questions that your apprentice will encounter in their real Test. Doing the mock test will give your apprentice a sense of what the test criteria will be, the format and the types of questions they will be asked. Get in touch with TQUK if you’d like to do a mock test.
  • Review knowledge standards with your apprentice: Check out the full Adult Care Worker Apprenticeship Standard to see all of the knowledge standards included. You might be able to provide some insight into the standard that your apprentice may find valuable.
  • Help your apprentice relax: Not everyone is great at sit-down tests. Nerves can take over and your apprentice may not perform at their very best. Here are some tips to help your Adult Care Worker get in the right frame of mind for their EPA.
  • Get the time and date right: The test might take place on your premises, or it may take place at a registered TQUK test centre. Either way, make sure your apprentice knows where to go and what to do.
  • Get a paper exam if needed: Although most Situational Judgement Tests will be completed online, paper exams can be provided to those who need them.


Professional Discussion

adult care worker epa professional discussion

Once the Situational Judgement Test has been achieved, your Adult Care Worker will move on to the second half of their EPA: the Professional Discussion. This is where your apprentice’s skills and behaviours will be assessed, along with some bits and pieces of knowledge here and there.

The Professional Discussion is a structured discussion between the apprentice and the End-Point Assessor. It will last approximately 45 minutes.

The Discussion addresses many areas of the apprentice’s prior learning and experience during the apprenticeship. During the assessment, the End-point Assessor will ask the apprentice a series of standardised questions. These questions are developed by TQUK and are designed to address the skills and behaviours outlined in the Apprenticeship Standard. The answers the apprentice provides should be supported by self-assessments, supporting evidence and testimonies from service users, which they will bring to the Discussion.

The grading criteria used by TQUK will also be freely available to all parties so that employers and apprentices can prepare for the assessment. Please contact TQUK EPA if you have any questions about the Professional Discussion.

Top Tips

  • Do a mock discussion: Doing a mock Professional Discussion with your apprentice will help prepare them for the format of the assessment and will give them a better idea of the questions. Please contact TQUK EPA for further guidance on how to conduct a mock discussion.
  • Review all ACW terminology: The adult care sector has a lot of terminology and jargon. Be sure to review commonly-used terms so that your apprentice is using them correctly. After all, it’s vital that your apprentice demonstrates that they know what they’re talking about!
  • Get reasonable adjustments made: Your apprentice might need to have adjustments made to the assessment, for instance, if they have any disabilities. Be sure to anticipate whatever needs they may have.
  • Seek guidance from the End-Point Assessor: The End-Point Assessor is there to help you and the apprentice, and will provide whatever guidance and information they can supply about the EPA.


Grading

The final grade for the apprentice will be determined based on the following table.

Professional Discussion
Pass Merit Distinction
Situational Judgement Test Pass  Pass  Merit Merit
Merit Pass Merit Distinction
Distinction Merit Merit  Distinction

 

 

 

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And that’s all! We hope this gives you a better idea of what’s involved in the Adult Care Worker EPA and what you and your apprentice can do to prepare.

To keep up to date with the latest EPA news, return to our blog, or follow us on TwitterFacebookLinkedIn and Instagram.

See you around The Hive!

In this week’s installment of A View from the Inside, we chat with Kelle McQuade, TQUK’s Head of End-Point Assessment Organisation, about EPA, the Apprenticeship Levy, her pride in helping learners and what employers and training providers need to think about when conducting an End-Point Assessment.

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When I Grow Up…

Where are you from?

I started off in Milton Keynes, moved to Nottingham for ten years and then moved back to Milton Keynes for a long while… almost 25 years now!

Did you go to college or university?

Did A levels at college — French, Drama and History.

Why those?

Some of that was driven by my secondary school teachers. I had this one great French teacher. There were only three of us in her class at A level so the teaching experience was very close. History, I loved. I had another great teacher. He’s still teaching Music now and also just made his first movie. He was brilliant. And Drama just because I’m ever so dramatic.

What do you think your younger self would think of you today?

I think she might be surprised. I’m a little too sensible. I always wanted to be an ice skater. I equally thought I would do something within the performing arts. Turns out I can’t act, so that was out. But I definitely didn’t think I’d end up in education.

Would it really be so surprising?

When you’re young, you’re told you can do anything. You think you’ll grow up to be an actor or an astronaut. But then you turn around and say, “Hang on, this job that I was only supposed to be in for 15 months turned out to be a 15 year career.” You let things grow organically and learn not be too prescriptive about taking a particular path.

Beginning in education

When some people look back on their careers, they see the path they took as almost inevitable. Did that ever happen to you?

Yeah, actually.

The first teaching role I had was working with NEET learners aged 16-25 through the Prince’s Trust trying to give people a second chance.

It wasn’t a traditional classroom setting. When I was working at the leisure centre, I set up a rookie lifeguard programme. It was for learners who had been on their swimming lesson programme and wanted to know what came next. It kept them engaged.

We applied and got accredited to deliver the course. It was from there that a couple of lessons got taken on by a couple of schools. One of them was in one of the more deprived areas of Milton Keynes.

Sometimes, the internally suspended students would end up in our bar area. When the PE lessons were happening in the leisure centre, they weren’t allowed to take part, but they also weren’t allowed to be home. I ended up just talking to some of these students.

I remember one of them gave me so much abuse. He wanted to call everyone every name under the sun. But one day, I said to him, “What happens if I tell you my name, and you call me that?”

I don’t know how it happened, but it worked. The next time I saw him he was like, “Oh, Kelle mate, how are you?” And I thought, “Wow.” So I said, “I’m good, how are you? How was your day?” He’d say he wasn’t back in lessons yet because this happened and that happened, so we sat down and had a chat. Every time he came in he seemed a little bit calmer and a little bit more respectful to the staff.

Did you keep in touch with him?

I still see him. And he seems to be a very well rounded person, very lovely. Lots of my students have gone on to do some really wonderful things.

MKC, TQUK and EPA

You were Head of Curriculum and Innovation at Milton Keynes College. What did that involve?

I was in charge of quality and professional development. That meant I organised cross-college teaching and learning fairs, looked after the teacher training curricula and reviewed our assessor and IQA qualifications. I also had a team of innovation leaders — outstanding practitioners who taught maybe ten hours every week and taught other members of the training staff to develop their practice. We asked ourselves: what could we do to improve the learner experience and make sure that teaching, learning and assessment were as good as they could be? We wanted our learners to achieve the best results, whether that meant going for jobs, applying for an apprenticeship or going into higher education.

What was your first impression of TQUK?

Very different from other Awarding Organisations. Talking to Andy didn’t feel like a sales pitch. It felt very relaxed and open. He seemed to understand what training centres’ frustrations were. That certainly struck a chord with me. I was head of quality and point of contact for all Awarding Organisations when I worked at the college. There were frustrations with other organisations and how they operated. So there was something different about what TQUK were offering.

When you started at TQUK you were BDM, then moved to head of EPAO. Could you talk more about that?  

It was almost a natural transition. My background lent itself a lot more to EPA. It was brilliant to be involved with creating the EPAO from day one. I was already involved in the thick of the EPA conversations, looking at the directions we might go in. We needed to identify a decision maker and I guess I was just best placed. When it came down to the day to day nitty gritty of EPA, that was where I needed to be.

When you came in, the whole sector was getting used to the new reforms. What was it like to jump into a new regulatory landscape?

Coming from a college into an Awarding Organisation is so different. I don’t think I really appreciated all the work that an Awarding Organisation does. I certainly underappreciated the massive amounts of work that TQUK does with the staff size. When I started, I was overwhelmed and impressed with what was being achieved by the team. I still continue to be.

But I think coming in at a time whilst I was having to learn all about awarding and not having been exposed to the behind the scenes aspects of that before, there was a certain comfort that everybody was learning about EPA at the same time. You’re laying the track as you go along with everybody else. Unfortunately, that means that sometimes the information you need isn’t there yet — we’re still experiencing that on a weekly basis. I get impatient — I want everything to be perfect, and I want it to be perfect right now!

Guiding employers and training providers through the final assessment

What’s one question you get asked by employers or training providers that you hear too often?

What we seem to get asked a lot about recently is the 20% off-the-job training. Sometimes with that, it’s just a matter of linking people to the right information. We also get a lot of questions about VAT and how that’s different for levy and non-levy payers — where the cut-off points and the variations are. These things can get pretty complex and they need to get sorted out.

What’s one thing you wish employers or training providers knew already going into EPA?

The one thing I would say is that just because it’s called ‘End-Point Assessment’ doesn’t mean they don’t have to think about it until the very end. You need to start thinking about it at the very beginning because you need to know what that assessment is going to look like. We expect to have employers or training providers knocking at the door saying they’ve got a learner at Gateway, can we help? People should come to us at the start. That way, we could advise on the best practices throughout the process. We expect to see that shift over the next six months.

In the FE media, the reforms seem to be fairly controversial. Employers and training providers are raising concerns about how to implement the off-the-job training requirement and how the Apprenticeship Levy isn’t working. How do you address those concerns and still get people on your side?

One thing we always try to do is take the headache away from the partners we work with. We make it clear from the beginning that we know what we’re doing and understand assessment. We were very early to market with EPA so we learned some very valuable lessons with an initial low volume of learners. We’re now so well-versed that the volume has increased massively and we’re able to pass those key messages and lessons onto employers. It’s important for us to be that calm face that can offer reassurance and provide answers where we can. And where we can’t, we’re able to make some pragmatic, educated assessments of the situation. We have a reputation for being one of the best and most knowledgeable EPAOs in England — and we want to keep it that way.

Thoughts and reflections

Looking back on your time in education, what’s the one thing you’ve accomplished that you’re most proud of?

I’m really proud when I see a learner — whether it’s a student or a member of staff — achieve their goals. I get to think, “I had something to do with that.” Those are the things that matter, and that’s why we do what we do — to see the end product of the services we deliver.

What about situations you look back on that make you think, “I could’ve done that better”?

When I was first teaching the NEET program covering social skills and social development, half my students were older than I was. Sometimes, you can struggle when you’re trying to offer help and it isn’t being accepted. But it isn’t until you’re a bit older that you can reflect back and think, “They weren’t in a place to acknowledge or receive that help. It wasn’t about you. It wasn’t personal.”

You’re one of the only real athletes in the office. Was exercise always a big part of your life?

I’ve always been very sporty, played hockey and netball. I’ve always been very accident-prone too. As we sit here I’m three weeks into a sprained ankle. (Laughs.)

Where do you see yourself in ten years?

Mai Tais on a beach! (Laughs.)

Professionally, who knows? I don’t try to predict these things – the landscape in education is always changing. If you told me two years ago I’d be head of EPAO for an Awarding Organisation, I wouldn’t have believed you. I just enjoy the ride.

Lightning round!

You’ve now entered the lightning round! You must answer the following questions within 3 seconds or less!!

Oh God!

Who do you think would win in a fight: old Godzilla or new Godzilla?

Haven’t seen either, so couldn’t say.

Men or women?

Women.

How many streets have you lived on?

Too many, probably about 20.

Favourite member of Take That?

Gary Barlow.

What animal does Ash have tattooed on his arm?

I think it’s supposed to be a bee but it ended up being a wasp.

Love Island or Survivor?

Neither!

Favourite person in the office?

Katie, for sure.

Biggest pet peeve?

People who eat too loudly.

Favourite flavour of Fanta?

Lemon, but only while on holiday.

What is the meaning of love?

When you feel fizzy.

Like Fanta…

Yeah.

Thanks for your time!

Thanks!

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To keep up to date with the latest news from TQUK EPA, return to our blog or follow us on TwitterFacebook and Instagram.

See you around The Hive!

How TQUK Can Help You

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Bee

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