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This content is taken from the University of Leeds & UCL Institute of Education's online course, Blended Learning Essentials: Digitally-Enriched Apprenticeships. Join the course to learn more.

Skip to 0 minutes and 5 seconds [Bronwen:] The introduction of an EPA is a big change to the apprenticeship process. Many people we spoke to are yet to take their apprentices through it. So we’re presenting a few suggestions to help get you started. And we’ll show you how some training providers are planning for this. Preparation for the EPA is not just about ensuring the portfolio is complete. That is only one aspect. It also includes a test, or assessment, where the apprentice must show that they’ve achieved the competencies required for their standards. The assessment will relate to the type of work in the apprenticeship and may simulate what happens in the real workplace.

Skip to 0 minutes and 38 seconds The end point assessment can take a number of forms– a presentation, a professional discussion, or an observation, for example. Craig Carden at Salford City College likens it to a driving test. [Craig:] The end point assessments, for me, I use the analogy of a driving test. So the trainer or assessor, is providing the apprentice with the knowledge, and the skills, and obviously the practise over the period of the apprenticeship to prepare for the final day. It’s my job as a trainer/assessor to make sure that the apprentice is ready for end point assessments. And it’s a smooth process. It shouldn’t be difficult for them to do.

Skip to 1 minute and 16 seconds [Bronwen:] Just like the driving test, the EPA can be daunting for the apprentice, as Fiona Walker explains. [Fiona:] I think some of the learners, even though they can do the job very well and they know their stuff very well, they’re very, very shy. They don’t sort of react very well to strangers coming in, whereas when they had a paper portfolio, it went away. And it was assessed and came back. And even online, with the Learning Assistant, it can still be assessed online. But when they’re meeting somebody for the first time or having their end point assessment, I think there could be nerves and anxiety. [Bronwen:] Fiona tries to help them cope with nerves by telling apprentices what to expect.

Skip to 1 minute and 54 seconds [Fiona:] As I’m going through, I’m preparing them about what could be asked at the end point assessment, what it’ll be like, and preparation for it. And I’ve told them some things about– they may be filmed. They may be asked questions. There may be written questions. So just giving them a variety of how these end point assessments can take place. So we’ve looked at various questions they can ask. And they have prepared themselves with their manager asking the questions, so that it sort of takes away any sort of barriers when they do come to be asked similar questions in the future. [Bronwen:] A range of digital tools and activities can really help with this preparation.

Skip to 2 minutes and 30 seconds [Fiona:] We’ve even made short videos of ourselves on the iPad, just so that they feel, I can do that. Or, I can answer that question because, if we don’t do it from the start. They’re gonna be so nervous at the end. [Bronwen:] At WhiteHat they also use digital to help prepare their apprentices for the format of the EPA. [Fred:] To prepare for the end point assessment, I think there are two ways that digital can really help. The first is in preparing for professional discussions, so making sure that you can record a professional discussion, and hear it back, and then get feedback from that and make sure you’re answering the right questions in the right way.

Skip to 3 minutes and 6 seconds And the other is that we’ve heard of end point assessments being administered over Skype, which is not something that apprentices might be familiar with. So using Google Hangouts or Skype as a way to practise for end point assessments is also something we’re definitely going to be doing. [Bronwen:] You can use digital technology in very creative ways too, as Sophie explains. [Sophie:] As part of the end point assessment, there is an interview. And one of the most powerful things that we’ve seen is apprentices interviewing each other to really see what works and what doesn’t. And we’ve already started to simulate actually holding a remote session with a coach as a facilitator.

Skip to 3 minutes and 47 seconds But the apprentices all coming on to this webinar or WebEx and interviewing each other, so using digital to reach our apprentices all over London to actually simulate what’s going to happen in the end point assessment. [Bronwen:] We saw earlier how reflecting can help apprentices to improve their practise. It’s also a really useful approach to use in preparation for the EPA. At Salford City College, the staff are considering the use of video to record mock assessments. [Craig:] We’re looking at putting together a workshop where we can put the apprentices through that particular end point assessment. That can be recorded on video, so the apprentices get an opportunity to play that back and look for areas of improvement themselves.

Skip to 4 minutes and 30 seconds [Bronwen:] And don’t forget there is a lot of help online. So use those digital skills to keep up-to-date with developments on the EPA.

Preparation for different forms of assessment

In this video, you will hear how different training providers are using digital to help prepare for the format of the new EPA.

The EPA is delivered by an independent registered apprentice assessment organisation (RAAO), not by the training provider or employer. As you saw from the EPA plans, it can include a variety of assessment methods, including:

  • an online multiple choice assignment
  • an interview with an experienced practitioner
  • an observation doing a work-based task
  • a journal
  • a portfolio record
  • a presentation.

The type of assessment is related to the type of work in the apprenticeship and often simulates what happens in the workplace.

Have your say:

  • Which of these assessment methods do you think is most likely to take place for your apprentices?
  • How can you use digital tools to help prepare for these assessments?

Share and discuss your thoughts with other learners in the Comments.

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This video is from the free online course:

Blended Learning Essentials: Digitally-Enriched Apprenticeships

University of Leeds