If you are an Assessor, you will have noticed during lockdown that there has been a slight reform in how end-point assessments have been carried out. EPAs usually involve a face-to-face element, which just hasn’t been possible due to social distancing restrictions. However, due to COVID-19, learners have been able to be assessed remotely rather than in their place of work. This has allowed thousands of people to carry on with, and complete their apprenticeship despite lockdown.
What flexibilities were introduced?
Due to the nature of apprenticeships, different flexibilities were introduced for each standard. Generally speaking, the Institute for Apprenticeships has allowed the use of technology to carry out observations and professional discussions remotely. There has also been increased flexibility with regards to the order of the assessment methods. Rather than the observations being carried out immediately, written tests and professional discussions have been allowed to be implemented first.
We have written several blog posts that delve into the subject of end-point assessments (EPAs), particularly with regards to the different types of assessment methods used. In case you are not familiar with the term EPA, we will explain it for you quickly. Apprentices have to pass an EPA to prove that they can carry out their role to the standards required. Once they have passed this, they will then have completed their qualification.
An EPA has to be carried out by an independent end-point Assessor, who has not had any previous contact with the apprentice or their employer. The Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement is the qualification you need in order to become an IEPA.
What does this mean now workplaces are opening?
The good news is that these special measures will be retained until at least the start of 2021. With workplaces starting to re-open, the Institute for Apprenticeships has reassured us that there are no plans to drop these temporary measures any time soon.
As people start gradually returning to work, face-to-face learning and assessments will become a lot easier again. However, it’s nice to have the stability of knowing that the face-to-face part of the EPA can still be carried out remotely until 2021.
Where do I find out more information?
The Institute has specified that they will give 12 weeks notice from when any new changes are announced. This will give EPA organisations the time they need to adjust their assessments and forward this information onto their Independent End-Point Assessors. Of course, we will be keeping an eye out and letting you know of any updates as they come in.
If you would like any further information or advice on these flexibilities, please drop us an email on firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be happy to answer any questions you may have.