It goes without saying, the employer’s role in apprenticeships is vital. But what about their role in supporting apprentices with the end-point assessment, and how can you (as the provider) support them with this?
Start at the beginning – and start with the fundamentals
It starts with the fundamentals. At the core of an apprenticeship, the employer takes the lead in making sure the apprentice is given the breadth and depth of workplace experience needed, alongside the structured learning from the training provider, to become competent in their role. The success of the apprentice at end-point assessment is built on this foundation.
That means the employer’s role in supporting the apprentice with end-point assessment starts right at the beginning – with the design of the curriculum and how it is delivered. The apprenticeship levy (or co-funding) means employers now have more ‘skin in the game’. This gives you a great opportunity to bring the employer in to really help shape the curriculum and delivery of the training.
That said, employer involvement will vary, depending on the standard, the size of the employer, and how much they want to be involved. The employer will look you as the provider for guidance on who the relevant End Point Assessment Organisations (EPAO) are for that standard and who to select, although the final decision sits with the employer.
So what does this all mean in practice, particularly as the apprentice approaches the gateway and end-point assessment? Here’s a few areas for you, and your employers, to use as a checklist…
The employer’s role in preparing apprentices for gateway and end-point assessment includes…
- Signing the commitment statement – the employer understands the importance of their role and what is required of them
- Input into, and agreement of, the individual learning plan with the apprentice(alongside the wider curriculum)
- Providing apprentices with on-the-job opportunities to develop knowledge, skills, and behaviours
- Giving apprentices the time needed for off-the-job training
- Agreeing which EPAO to use
- Agreeing an expected gateway date early on in the apprenticeship
- Holding regular reviews with the training provider and the apprentice to review the apprentice’s progress and set appropriate targets
- Involvement in and supporting preparatory assessments organised by the trainer (e.g. giving time, space and support with observed assessments in the workplace or involvement in mock presentations). This is particularly important in the lead up to gateway.
- Signing off the gateway in agreement with the training provider and apprentice
- Supporting apprentices with any workplace projects, portfolios or activities that are used as a formal part of the end-point assessment
The employer’s role in the end-point assessment process
Employers have the final say on whether an apprentice should be put forward for the end-point assessment based on whether they feel the apprentice has displayed occupational competence, met the gateway criteria, and is ready to complete their assessment.
Depending on the assessment methods, employers may be involved in the set-up of the end-point assessment itself, which may include providing appropriate workplace access to assessors on the day. They may be directly involved in the assessment itself by sitting on an assessment panel, agreeing a project brief, or providing a written reference.
So how can training providers support employers with their role?
Here are some examples…
- Brief employers on the end-point assessment process, well in advance
- Help the employer to select an EPAO early on (you can do this on the employer’s behalf where the employer has given permission). Some employers will want details about who exactly will be assessing their apprentice and their occupational credibility. You may need to liaise with the EPAO for this information.
- Provide templates for the creation of project briefs (where applicable)
- Liaise with the employer about dates when booking the end-point assessment and any potential resits
- Where the employer is directly involved in the end-point assessment, provide clear guidance on their role and what they should / should not do (liaise closely with your EPAO to make sure you are giving the right guidance)
- Share the results of the end-point assessment
- Encourage the employer to celebrate their apprentices’ success
For more help with preparing your apprentices for end-point assessment…
SDN host regular CPD webinars and support to help providers prepare apprentices for end-point assessment (and their role in supporting the employer). We recently hosted a 5-part webinar series, which you can find in our CPD resource library here.