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!

 

Thinking about hiring an Apprentice? You’ve come to the perfect place! As an End-Point Assessment Organisation, we’re passionate about apprenticeships and the amazing benefits they bring to businesses across the UK. We think that all companies should hire Apprentices, and we’re not afraid to shout about it!

So, if you’re an Employer interested in hiring an Apprentice, we’re here to help! We know that there are a few rules and regulations you need to get your head around, but we’re dedicated to guiding you through the process. Below, we’ve compiled all the information that you’ll need, from start to finish, in order to hire an Apprentice and take your business to the next level.

Enjoy!

1. Why You Should Hire an Apprentice?

a slab of concrete asking why

Hiring an Apprentice can benefit your business in so many ways. Apprenticeships are designed to train individuals with little or no experience to become fully competent workers who have all of the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviours needed to excel in their occupation.

Here are just a few things your business will benefit from by hiring an Apprentice:

  • An increase in productivity – according to research by the National Apprenticeship Service, a whopping 76% of Employers said that productivity in their workplace had improved because of implementing apprenticeship programmes. 75% of Employers also reported that hiring an Apprentice improved the quality of their product or service!
  • A decrease in staff turnover – investing major time and energy into training your Apprentice helps secure their loyalty to your company and decrease your staff turnover. In fact, Whitbread, the UK’s largest hotel, restaurant and coffee shop operator, found that turnover rates for entry-level, back-office roles were reduced by 15% on the apprenticeship level. Additionally, nearly three-quarters of their Apprentices stayed with the company for more than 12 months, whereas only a quarter of other employees did.
  • You contribute to your community – hiring an Apprentice helps combat youth unemployment in your area while also raising your company’s profile! According to a 2015 report from the Centre for Economics and Business Research, five million consumers were more likely to buy from an Apprentice Employer, and one in four consumers would even pay more for goods and services from companies that employed Apprentices.

Convinced yet?

2. Take the Plunge and Pick Your Standard

a man taking a plunge into the sea of apprenticeships

The first step to hiring an Apprentice is to identify a role within your company which you would be happy to offer an Apprentice. After that, you can pick an Apprenticeship Standard at a suitable level that matches the job role that you’d like to offer. Before you go ahead, you must ensure that you can offer your Apprentice a role which has 30 paid hours a week or more throughout their entire programme. Your Apprentice’s hours will also include any Off-the-Job Training that they must undertake.

There are a huge variety of Apprenticeship Standards available across many sectors that could benefit you and your business. As an End-Point Assessment Organisation, we offer End-Point Assessment for standards across these sectors:

Childcare and Education

Business

Hair and Beauty

Hospitality

Healthcare

HR

Retail

Management

Sales, Marketing and Procurement

3. Check the Funding You’re Eligible For

money for hiring an apprentice

Before hiring an Apprentice, you should check the government funding that you’re eligible for. If you’d like more information about government funding, then you can check out our article Apprenticeship Funding Rules: Your Ultimate Guide which Employers, Employer-Providers and Training Providers can use to navigate the funding rules. Here’s a short summary below:

The Apprenticeship Levy was introduced in 2017 in order to encourage large Employers in the UK to get more involved in the funding and execution of apprenticeships. The Apprenticeship Levy is a tax on businesses with a pay bill of over £3 million. 0.5% of their annual pay bill is collected by the government and reserved to be used as funds for apprenticeship programmes. Funds from the Apprenticeship Levy not used by Employers are reallocated to other apprenticeship programmes.

Do you pay the Apprenticeship Levy?

If you’re hiring an Apprentice and already pay the Apprenticeship Levy, then you can collect your Levy money through setting up an account on the apprenticeship service. This service will allow you to manage your funding and pay Training Providers and End-Point Assessment Organisations for their services as well. You’ll have monthly instalments sent to your apprenticeship service account, and you’ll also receive a 10% top-up from the government.

What are funding bands?

All Employers will receive funding according to the funding band allocated to their Apprenticeship Standard. Funding bands refer to the maximum amount of money the government has allocated to fund each Apprenticeship Standard and ranges from £1,500 to £27,000. Funding bands are numbered from 1-30, with one band allocated to each Apprenticeship Standard. If you pay the Apprenticeship Levy and the costs of your apprenticeship go over the funding band maximum, then you’ll need to pay the difference with other funds from your own budget.

Are you exempt from the Apprenticeship Levy?

Employers who do not pay the Apprenticeship Levy will have to pay a co-investment rate of 5%. This means that the government will pay 95% of the costs of the apprenticeship up to the funding band maximum, and you’ll have to pay the remaining 5% of the costs. However, if the costs of the apprenticeship exceed the funding band maximum, then you’ll need to pay the difference.

4. Does Your Apprentice Tick All The Boxes?

Before hiring an Apprentice, you must check that they meet the following checklist. Your Apprentice must be:

  • 16 years old or older;
  • Out of full-time education;
  • Live in England or the country where your company is based;
  • Have the right to work in England or the country where the company is based;
  • Spend at least 50% of their working hours in England or the country where your company is based.

If you’re an Employer based in Scotland, Wales or Northern Ireland, it may be worth contacting your local apprenticeship authority to find out more details:

5. Find Your Perfect Training Provider

two women talking about apprenticeships

Next, you should find a Training Provider for your Apprentice that offers training for your selected Apprenticeship Standard. The Register of Apprenticeship Training Providers is a great place to start looking, as it contains an extensive list of Training Providers who are eligible to train Apprentices.

If you’re based in England, you can also use the find apprenticeship training tool from gov.uk. Simply click on the link and search for an Apprenticeship Standard by job role or keyword. When you click on your chosen standard you can then start finding a Training Provider. If you already know the name of a Provider which you might be interested in using, then you can also find a Training Provider directly by name.

6. Spread the Message and Advertise Your Apprenticeship

woman hiring an apprentice

After you’ve chosen your Training Provider, you’ll need to advertise your apprenticeship vacancy and wait for those applications to roll in! Conveniently, you won’t have to do this yourself, as your Training Provider will do this for you through the find an apprenticeship service.

Top Tip: If you’re writing the job description for your Apprentice, include the same details that you would if advertising for a normal job role. Outline the desired qualities that you’d like in a candidate, include a job title, and describe the main duties that your Apprentice will be undertaking along with the purpose of their role.

7. Interview Your Batch of Candidates

Interview your Apprentice candidates as you would any other candidate. Make sure you prepare a list of questions you can use to fairly assess their personality and competence that allows them to show the very best of themselves. If you already have a bank of questions that you use for the role that you’re advertising, you can also use those in your interviews.

Top Tip: Apprentices don’t need to have any former work experience to apply for or enrol in an apprenticeship, so they may not have any. By putting more value on their character than their CV, you’ll have a better chance of finding the right candidate.

8. Pick Your Winner and Sign those Contracts

your new apprentice

After you’ve picked the right candidate, you’ll need to sign an apprenticeship agreement with them. Your apprenticeship agreement will describe what you agree to do for your Apprentice, and will outline things like:

  • How long you’ll employ them for;
  • The type of training that you’ll give them;
  • Their working conditions;
  • The qualifications that they’re working towards.

You can write your own apprenticeship agreement, but the UK government also provides an apprenticeship agreement template that you can fill out instead.

You’ll also have to sign a commitment statement with your Apprentice and your Training Provider. Your commitment statement must include:

  • The planned content of the apprenticeship programme and the schedule for training;
  • What is expected and offered by you, the Employer, the Training Provider and the Apprentice;
  • How to resolve queries or complaints.

9. Check How Much You Should Pay Your Apprentice

The minimum that you can pay your Apprentice is the National Minimum Wage, which is currently £3.90/hour. This rate applies to Apprentices who are under 19 and those who are over 19 in the first year of their apprenticeship.

If your Apprentice is over the age of 19 and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship, then you’ll need to pay them the minimum wage rate for their age. So, for example, if your Apprentice is 20 and has completed the first year of their apprenticeship, then you’ll need to pay them the minimum hourly rate for their age group. You can check the minimum wage rates here.

You must pay your Apprentices for their normal working hours, which includes training that is part of their apprenticeship, such as Off-the-Job Training. Apprentices are also entitled to the other benefits and pay that employees at your company receive who are at a similar level. This could include paid holidays and sick pay.

10. Pick Your End-Point Assessment Organisation

employer looking for an epao

End-Point Assessment is the final test for Apprentices during their apprenticeship. This final test includes a mix of assessment activities that Apprentices must complete in order to pass their apprenticeship.

As an Employer, you’ll need to choose the End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) that will deliver your Apprentice’s End-Point Assessment. You can find an EPAO from the Register of End-Point Assessment Organisations.

We offer End-Point Assessment for a range of Apprenticeship Standards across multiple sectors. If you’re interested in using our services then you can fill in our contact form or alternatively give us a ring at (+44) 03333 583344. We’d be happy to help!

11. Support Your Apprentice throughout their Programme

employer supporting an apprentice

There are many things that you can do to support your Apprentice as they begin to work for you. Some tips include:

  • Providing them with a great induction to their role and making their introduction period as thorough as possible;
  • Helping them feel comfortable in their surroundings and remaining approachable and open throughout their programme in case they have any questions or concerns;
  • Offering support and training opportunities in order to show them that you’re dedicated to helping them with their personal and professional development.

You can read our Supporting Your Apprentice page for more advice!

End-Point Assessment Support

If your Apprentice is nervous about their End-Point Assessment, then don’t worry! We’ve got some articles that can help them ease their nerves, including How to Prepare for EPA and 5 Cool Ways to Get Into a Good EPA Mindset. We also offer a whole hive of resources that our Apprentices can use to learn more about their apprenticeship and what their End-Point Assessment will entail!

Additional Links

Here are some additional pages that you may find useful:

What is End-Point Assessment?

Off-the-Job Training

Apprenticeship Funding Rules: Your Ultimate Guide

Funding Bands

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And there you have it! We hope this guide helps all interested Employers with hiring an Apprentice and taking their business to the next level!

If you’re interested in using us as your End-Point Assessment Organisation, then you can go to our End-Point Assessment Sectors page.

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

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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