Why On-Programme Assessors Need To Know About EPA

Why On-Programme Assessors Need To Know About EPA

End-Point Assessment is a huge part of the Apprenticeship and Assessing worlds. If you’re a regular reader of our blog posts, you should know quite a lot about EPA by now. You may think that as you don’t want to be an End-Point Assessor, you don’t need to know about it. We believe otherwise. Any Assessor – including On-Programme Assessors – involved with Apprenticeships, in any way, need to know as much as possible about EPA.

end-point-assessment


On-Programme Assessors

As an On-Programme Assessor, it’s ideal that you know about End-Point Assessment. Whilst you won’t be taking your Apprentice through their actual EPA, you still need to have as much knowledge as possible about it. Your Apprentice will likely have a lot of questions about the EPA and you need to be able to support them and answer these questions.

Your candidates that are going through their Apprenticeships may also find it beneficial to have Mock End-Point Assessments. There’s no issue with the Mock EPA being conducted by yourself as the On-Programme Assessor; but it is obviously vital that you have the correct, up-to-date knowledge in order to prepare them efficiently. 

It would be especially beneficial for you to have EPA Knowledge if the company you are working for is on the register of End-Point Assessment Organisations. If this is the case, you need to know your stuff. Plus you never know; your employer might give you the opportunity to carry out an EPA – and it might be something you want to carry on doing. 

On the whole, it definitely doesn’t hurt to have the knowledge. It can open doors to many other opportunities in your career.


How Can I Gain The Knowledge?

Now, the number one way we would recommend to get to grips with End-Point Assessment is our Workshop. It doesn’t matter how much or how little experience you have in assessment; if you agree that having End-Point Assessment knowledge would benefit you, this workshop is perfect for you. We designed our comprehensive workshop to give anyone the opportunity to learn all there is to know about EPA, and put EPA skills into practice. Oh and best of all – it’s just a one day workshop. So there’s no work you need to do prior to or after attending. Phew.

If you are interested please take a look at our next End-Point Assessment Workshop. The locations and dates of our EPA Workshop vary, so if the date/location isn’t right for you there’s a good possibility there will be in the future.


For any further questions you may have about End-Point Assessment, please take a look at our EPA Knowledgebase Page.

What is Recognition of Prior Learning?

What is Recognition of Prior Learning?

Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) is an assessment method that you may have come across as an Assessor. You may have even used in your own studying. Or, you may have never heard of it or used it before. That’s why we’re here to explain exactly what RPL is, and how you can use it within your work.

recognition-of-prior-learning


What is Recognition of Prior Learning?

As we said before, RPL is an assessment method. This method takes into account any ‘prior learning‘ your candidate has done, that could be used to tick off certain criteria in the qualification you are assessing. So as the Assessor, you would need to cross-reference the relevant previous work against the criteria you are looking for. Using this method can reduce the time required to complete the course; in some cases, significantly.

But basically, Recognition of Prior Learning is about your learner being able to demonstrate they have met some of the requirements of said course, through knowledge or skills they already have. Meaning that they don’t need to develop this knowledge or skills to pass some of the criteria. 

However, this differs from ‘Unit Exemption’…


What is Unit Exemption?

Unit Exemption is used when the candidate has previously passed a unit of work, that is the same as a unit in the prospective qualification. Sounds a bit confusing, but let us break it down.

As an example from our perspective, some of our learners have only completed 2/3 units of the Assessor qualification (AVRA/ACWE); but now would like to complete the full CAVA. So in these circumstances, we would enrol learners onto the CAVA, and use their AVRA or ACWE certificate and exempt them from the Units they’ve already covered. This way they would receive the CAVA certificate upon completion, as opposed to unit credits.


So what’s the difference between RPL and Unit Exemption?

With Recognition of Prior Learning, the candidate would need to write a reflective account for each assignment being used. The reflective account needs to be about what they learned within previous work that shows they’ve met the criteria. This then proves their understanding and how it relates to this qualification you are assessing them on. Assignments can only be used for RPL if they were recently completed; normally at a maximum of around 2/3 years ago.

There is a really simple difference between this and Unit Exemption; as with Unit Exemption, the candidate does not need to do any further work. And, it doesn’t matter how long ago the unit was completed; it only matters that the unit is still exactly the same.

If you would like further information on any other assessment methods, take a look at our post on what exactly assessment methods are.

How to Write a CPD Plan

How to Write a CPD Plan

As a professional in any sector, it’s important to keep up-to-date with your career development. This is why you’ll need to make a CPD plan. (Continuing Professional Development). Whilst it does take time, CPD Plans are great ways to identify and develop your skills in order to reach your career goals. 


What do I want/need to learn?

Assessing your current career situation is a great place to start with your CPD plan. Where am I? Where do I want to get to? These are the questions you need to be asking yourself in order to identify the areas in which you want to develop. You need to summarise what you are currently doing in your career, and use it to plan future career milestones you’d like to achieve. Create smaller milestones and check-in points so that you can review your development and see if you are hitting your personal targets. So think about:

  • Steps you are going to take over the next few years that will bring you closer to your career goals
  • What specific skills, knowledge, and experience you need to develop in order to achieve these goals
  • What activities you are going to do to fulfil the goals

It’s important that you are being honest with yourself in this step to get the best out of your plan. What does success really mean to you? You need to understand your motivations to succeed; do you feel like you are succeeding in your current job? It’s OK to think ‘big’ – but just be smart about it. Your goals should be Specific, Measurable, Achievable, Realistic, and Timely. SMART.


What will I do to achieve this?

So now you’ve identified what you want or need to learn, you need to plan how you’re going to do this. This step is important because it helps you identify the professional skills and abilities you need to help you reach your goals; therefore enabling you to plan new learning and development opportunities that are relevant to your professional development. Consider how you will know if you have achieved this goal – will you gain a qualification? Will you be able to manage a team?

For example, if you’re an Assessor and one of your goals is to eventually become an Internal Quality Assurer, you’re going to need the relevant IQA Qualification. Researching this qualification, the requirements necessary to enrol on to the course, and the criteria for the job once qualified can also be a helpful step in this process.

Remember, when you’re defining your activities, make sure they are clear and detailed. So you’ll need to state the actual course/conference/training session you would like to attend. 


What resources or support will I need?

Now you’ll need to consider what’s going to help you complete a certain goal. Going back to the example of being an Assessor with the goal of becoming an IQA, you would need support from your Assessor. In terms of resources, you’ll need to use the online support materials provided when you enrol onto the course, and perhaps use wider research by doing your own web searches. However, for some courses, there may be textbooks and study guides available. Watching videos on the likes of YouTube may be deemed supportive. Only you will know what you need.


What will my success criteria be?

When will you consider this to be a successful outcome? As we mentioned before, think about what success will really mean to you. So again using the previous examples, the success criteria for an Assessor wanting to become an IQA might be when they are qualified. Or, it might be when they actually get an IQA job. It is entirely down to you – it’s your plan, your professional development, and therefore, your future.


Milestone Dates

Your ‘milestone dates’ include:

    • Start Date;
    • Target Dates for review and completion;
    • Actual Completion Date

Of course, you will only be able to fill two of these sections in when planning your CPD. The actual completion date won’t be filled in until that time. However, you can fill the target date for which you’d like to have completed this by!

Be realistic with your timings. It’s OK if you don’t meet that achievement by the target date you set yourself; that’s why it’s called a CPD plan. Plans don’t always happen the way we thought they would.


So after you’ve filled all of these sections in, your CPD plan should be in a table that looks something like this:

We hope this helps! For more advice on CPD, take a look at our post on 9 Ways to Keep your CPD Record Up To Date.

How to Gain Experience as a Newly Qualified Assessor

How to Gain Experience as a Newly Qualified Assessor

If you’re thinking about becoming an Assessor or already are a newly qualified Assessor, chances are, you’ve been looking at what kind of job opportunities there are. Much like any other jobs, some vacancies may ask for ‘experience’.

Having ‘experience’ as a requirement for a job as an Assessor can be seen as unfair for some. How can a newly qualified Assessor gain experience if they need the experience to get a job in the first place?! If you are having this issue there are options available for you to explore.


Shadow an Assessor

This would involve you in observing another Assessor carrying out their day-to-day job. This Assessor would need to be qualified. It would be most ideal to be watching the Assessor actually carrying out assessments with their learner. You wouldn’t be required to do or say anything as the shadower you are simply watching and taking notes.

Whilst this is volunteer experience and therefore unpaid, shadowing is a great way to get your foot in the door. It will also get some well-needed experience under your belt. It’s great for newly qualified assessors and will maximise your chances of getting an Assessing job, so it’s definitely worthwhile!

Plenty of training organisations and/or local colleges are happy to allow newly qualified Assessors to shadow their Assessors; mainly because it doesn’t cost them anything. So all you would need to do is approach these types of companies. Another thing to consider is if you have any family or friends that work in Further Education; have a chat with them and see if they can help you out with any shadowing opportunities. Even consider asking your connections on LinkedIn.

( Sorry because of the way we deliver our courses we are not able to offer shadowing opportunities.)

End Point Assessment

Another route you could try is End Point Assessment. End Point Assessors (EPA’s) are the people who do the final checks to ensure that an apprentice has passed their apprenticeship. This is a different job to being an assessor and is in huge demand at the moment. Have a quick search for End Point Assessor jobs and you will see what I mean.

To be an EPA you need three things;

  1. A recognised Assessor such as the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement.
  2. .Occupational competence in the relevant sector.
  3. An appropriate occupational qualification.

Within EPA your occupational competence is far more important than your assessing experience. In most cases just having the assessor qualification is enough. This makes it an ideal job for a newly qualified assessor who has worked in their sector for a number of years.

What skills a newly qualified assessor will need to be an EPA

There are a few new skills that you need to have to be an EPA if you area newly qualified assessor but you can learn these quite quickly. Until recently there was no easy way of learning these new skills. That is why we have started running a series of EPA Workshops

In our EPA workshops, you learn all the new skills you will need to be an EPA and get the opportunity to put them into practice. Importantly it also counts as a full day of CPD. Our next workshop is in Manchester on the 11th October but please be aware they do book up very fast so you will need to be quick if you want to get on it.

If you like the idea of being an End Point Assessor take a look at our End Point Assessment Knowledgebase which has a lot more information for you to read through.


And one final point. Even if a job advert does ask for experience, don’t let it put you off from applying. Put yourself forward for jobs regardless of their expectations of your experience – it won’t hurt! There are employers out there that will still consider hiring you even if you don’t have much experience.

You may also like to read;

6 Top Tips for newly qualified assessors.

The importance of LinkedIn for newly qualified assessors

 

 

Become an Assessor Before the New Academic Year

Become an Assessor Before the New Academic Year

Finally – the summer holidays have just begun! And what a way to start them with this heatwave we’re getting at the moment. 6 weeks of relaxing, spending time with the kids, going on holiday… what more could you want?

Well, you could be thinking about finding something new to do in September. Maybe you’re starting to get bored in your current job, or perhaps just fancy a change. Whatever the reason, we can make it happen. In the next 6 weeks, you could become an Assessor ready for the new Academic Year.


What is an Assessor?

An Assessor is someone who supports and guides learners through vocational qualifications. As an Assessor, your job is to collect various different types of evidence from your learners to meet all of the learning outcomes specified within their qualification. Generally, on a day-to-day basis, you would be expected to:

  • Plan and deliver NVQ training programmes and workshops;
  • Observe candidates’ competency in their workplace;
  • Examine candidates’ portfolios of evidence;
  • Question candidates about how they would deal with non-standard situations;
  • Provide feedback and offer advice if the standards are not met;
  • Sign off the NVQ when all the requirements have been met;
  • Keep records of candidates’ progress, according to the requirements of the NVQ awarding bodies;
  • Attend standardisation meetings with other assessors;
  • Work closely with the training staff and candidates’ line managers.

(this information has been taken from our NVQ Assessor FAQ).


How do I become an Assessor?

To become an Assessor, there are only a couple of things you need.

  1. Occupational Competence
  2. The Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement

Occupational Competence comes in the form of accredited qualifications and/or work experience. It all depends on the Industry you wish to assess in, as to whether you will be required to hold a qualification in that area or not. For example, most Health and Social Care assessor jobs will ask for a minimum of Level 3 in Health and Social Care. On the other hand, a lot of jobs in trades will ask for a number of years work experience. It all depends on your sector – so we’d advise having a look at job sites to see what requirements employers are looking for!

Now, the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (for short, CAVA) is the ‘universal’ Assessor qualification. By this, we mean that regardless of the sector you work in, you’ll need the same qualification. So whether you want to assess in Early Years, Construction, Dental – you need the CAVA. Find out more about this qualification on our CAVA page.


Can I become a Qualified Assessor by September?

You can indeed – we’ve designed our courses to have no start/end dates. This means you can start the course whenever you like, and take as long as you need to finish it. The quickest completion we have had to date is 2 weeks. So effectively, you could start the course today with just a deposit of £50, and have plenty of time to complete in the next 6 weeks*.

*subject to practical session availability.

For more information, give us a call on 01205 805 155, or send us an email at training@brooksandkirk.co.uk. You can also message us on Facebook.

Who do End-Point Assessors work for?

Who do End-Point Assessors work for?

Unlike traditional NVQ assessor positions, if you want to find End-Point Assessor jobs, you can’t just go to any old college or training provider. Instead, you will need to go to specialist organisations that have been approved to deliver End-Point Assessments…


Who do End-Point Assessors work for?

At this moment in time, there are organisations all over the UK that are offering End-Point Assessor jobs; from professional bodies, to awarding bodies, to training providers. But they do all have one ‘name’ in common…

End-Point Assessment Organisations (EPAOs). EPAOs have all gone through the government’s application process and have been approved to offer End-Point Assessments.

These organisations can vary significantly; both in terms of the amount of apprenticeships they are approved to offer and their geographical coverage. So if you’re in the market for End-Point Assessor jobs, you need to find EPAOs that:

  • Are approved to facilitate EPAs in apprenticeship standard(s) you are competent in;
  • Will take on apprentices in geographical areas you can cover.

Less is More

I can guarantee you that there isn’t as many EPAOs as you may think there is as well. As of 1st August 2019, there were 245 approved End-Point Assessment Organisations. When you consider that between them, they need to cover every single apprenticeship standard across the country… 245 isn’t a massive number.

But in the long term, having a relatively small amount of End-Point Assessment Organisations will make it easier to standardise End-Point Assessment across the board. So in fact, in many ways ‘less is more’ when it comes to End-Point Assessment Organisations.

Tell me more about EPAOs

So, now you know who Independent End-Point Assessors work for, what’s next? Well, it all depends on what you are looking for now… 

For those of you who want to learn more about EPAOs, take a look at who End-Point Assessment Organisations are and what they do

Alternatively, if you are job hungry, here’s how to find End-Point Assessment Organisations

How can I find End-Point Assessment Organisations?

How can I find End-Point Assessment Organisations?

You could try searching for them one by one online. However, given that there are around 250 of them, it may take you a while.

Wouldn’t it be much better if there was just a list of EPAOs that you could filter, so that you could easily find the ones that are relevant to you? Well, there is and you can – thanks to the Register of End-Point Assessment Organisations.


How to find End-Point Assessment Organisations

Prospective Independent Assessors can use the Register of End-Point Assessment Organisations to find EPAOs that are suitable for them.

Admittedly, the register wasn’t developed and made publicly available for this purpose. It is actually more for employers who are looking to find an assessment organisation to facilitate the EPA for their apprentice(s). Using the information provided on the register, employers can choose any organisation that’s listed against the respective Apprenticeship Standard for which their apprentice is completing.

But anyway, enough about employers and how they can use the register. In this post, we are focused on how you,  a prospective Independent Assessor, can use the register to find an End-Point Assessment Organisation.

The Register of End-Point Assessment Organisations

To find EPAOs that deliver End-Point Assessments in apprenticeships you are competent in, you need to follow a 2-part process. However, you only need to do Part 1, if you don’t know the exact name of the apprenticeships you are interested in.

Part 1
  1. Go to the List of Apprenticeship Standards on the IfA website;
  2. Using the ‘Keywords’ filter tool, type in a word that best describes the area you are occupationally competent in;
  3. Identify which apprenticeships are relevant to you by clicking on them and reading the ‘overview of the role’ section at the top;
  4. Copy the name of the apprenticeship (i.e. ‘Teaching Assistant’, ‘Steel Fixer’, ‘Adult Care Worker’ etc.).

Now you are ready for part 2.

Part 2

Just so you know, it is ideal to be on a desktop device with Microsoft Excel to do the following;

  1. Go to the Register of End-Point Assessment Organisations page on the gov.uk site;
  2. Look for the grey box (like the one below) and click on the link to the register;screenshot text about register end point assessment organisations
  3. Open the ‘Find and Replace’ function by pressing ‘Ctrl + f’;
  4. Paste in the name of the apprenticeship and just keep clicking ‘Next’ to identify all of the EPAOs on that list that deliver that EPA.

And that is how you find End-Point Assessment Organisations!

There is one final point that you need to be aware of however. Hardly a day goes by where one EPAO or another isn’t applying to add another apprenticeship standard to their list. So, don’t treat the information on that register as ‘final’; there’s a good chance it may not be absolutely up to date.

Who are End-Point Assessment Organisations?

Who are End-Point Assessment Organisations?

So by now, you know what End-Point Assessments are. And, you’ve probably heard of End-Point Assessment Organisations (EPAOs); but may not exactly know who they are. We’re going to have a look into this, and also find out what End-Point Assessment Organisations actually do…


Who are End-Point Assessment Organisations?

Awarding Bodies, Training Providers, and Professional Bodies can become EPAOs. Each of these organisations must be registered on the EPAO register before they can carry out Independent End-Point Assessments with Apprentices. So, once approved and registered by the Government, any of the 3 groups can become an EPAO.

It’s important to know that only the organisations that are on the register are eligible to take part in the Apprentice’s End-Point Assessment. Whilst there might be a number of different people/organisations that are involved in the End-Point Assessment, only the EPAO needs to be listed on the register.


What exactly do End-Point Assessment Organisations do?

EPAOs are completely independent from the rest of the Apprentice’s NVQ. Their main responsibility is making sure that Apprentices’ all receive the same standards in their End-Point Assessments. So, in line with the assessment plan, EPA’s responsibilities are, to name a few:

  • Design and develop the content of the End-Point Assessment;
  • Check and verify that the Apprentice has completed any essential elements prior to the End-Point Assessment, including any mandatory qualifications;
  • Carry out End-Point Assessments of Apprentices;
  • Quality assure the End-Point Assessment they deliver;
  • Stick to the external quality assurance arrangements;
  • Make sure that End-Point Assessment is synoptic and independent;
  • Identify and record when the Apprentice has passed the End-Point Assessment.

So, that’s summed up who End-Point Assessment Organisation are, and what they do. Keep an eye out for our next blog, where we’ll explain how you can find an End-Point Assessment Organisation…

How do I find an Assessment Plan?

How do I find an Assessment Plan?

So by now, you know that all of the information for specific End-Point Assessments comes from; the Apprenticeship Standards, and the Assessment Plan. You might be thinking ‘how do I find an Assessment Plan?!’ It’s pretty straightforward actually, but we’ll take you through a step-by-step process to finding one relevant to you.


Step 1 – Google Search

So first you need to go onto Google (or whatever search engine you use; Bing, Yahoo…) and type in ‘Institute for Apprenticeships’.

From here, you’ll need to click on their website; Institute for Apprenticeships.

Step 2 – Search for an Apprenticeship

You’ll then need to click on ‘Apprenticeship Standards’ at the top of the home page.

It will lead you to a page that looks like this;

Now you’ll need to find an Apprenticeship that you would be competent to assess in. You can see from the screenshot above that 3/4 of these qualifications have been ‘Approved for Delivery’. This box will need to be ticked on the Apprenticeship you’re looking for.

So once you’ve found the desired Apprenticeship, click on it!

Step 3 – Accessing the Assessment Plan

When you’ve clicked on the Apprenticeship (in our example, we’ve used an Early Years Educator) you’ll find the Apprenticeship Standards. Not quite what you’re looking for – but we’re getting there!

On the right-hand side of your screen, you’ll find a variety of options (you may need to scroll down, and if you’re on mobile, they will be at the bottom of your screen). These options look like this:

assessment-plan-boxes

All you need to do is find and click on the box that says ‘Assessment Plan’ and bingo – you’ve got it!


That’s the three easy steps you need to take to find an Assessment Plan. Of course, if you find maybe that Apprenticeship isn’t right for you to be assessing, then just start the process again from Step 2.

Where can I find information on specific End-Point Assessments?

Where can I find information on specific End-Point Assessments?

No two End-Point Assessments are the same – they all have their differences, depending on their level and their sector. And, since the Apprenticeship reform, every Apprenticeship has two vital documents. In order to find out what the requirements are and what’s involved for specific EPAs, you’ll need to know what those documents are. So we have:

  1. The Apprenticeship Standard
  2. The Assessment Plan

Now, it’s important to note here that the EPA Assessment Plan is completely different to any other regular assessment plan you may have created during your time as an Assessor. We’ll go more into this shortly, but first, we’ll explain what an Apprenticeship Standard is.


What is an Apprenticeship Standard?

An Apprenticeship Standard contains all of the Knowledge, Skills, and Behaviours (KSBs) the Apprentice needs to have met during their Apprenticeship. It will also state;

  • The duration of the Apprenticeship;
  • The level of the Apprenticeship;
  • Any qualifications needed beforehand; for example, Maths and English;
  • Career progression opportunities;

Here’s an example of the Business Administrator Apprenticeship Standards. The Apprenticeship Standards are then used to create the Assessment Plan…


What is an Assessment Plan?

The Assessment Plan for an Apprenticeship is the document that pretty much works as a specification for an End-Point Assessment.

Some would say it’s like a guide for the End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) to use, that shows all the assessment methods they need to carry out with their Apprentice during the EPA. You as the End-Point Assessor would not create this document, it is created by an Awarding Body. This is why we mentioned previously about the EPA Assessment Plans being completely different. 

So, going back to the lines of Business Administration for an example, this sector’s Level 3 Assessment Plan includes a Knowledge Test, a Portfolio-based Interview, and a Project Presentation. The Assessment Plan will include all the details on how long should be spent on each assessment method, what KSBs each method is evidencing, and the grading scale. 

The Apprentice must pass each assessment that has been set in the assessment plan, in order to become qualified.


So now you know exactly where you can find the information on the requirements and what’s involved for certain EPAs; within the Apprenticeship Standard and the Assessment Plan!