There are lots of acronyms when it comes to the world of apprenticeships, and a common one you may have come across is KSBs. This stands for Knowledge, Skills & Behaviours and they are the main assessment methods used in an End-Point Assessment (EPA). They represent the core attributes an apprentice must have in order to be competent in the occupation they are working in.
A Test of Competency
The KSBs must be met by the apprentice, evidenced and assessed in order to pass their course. If they fail just one part of the KSB, they will fail the entire EPA. The old frameworks just required apprentices to provide evidence they had met each of the KSBs. However, this didn’t prove the learner actually understood the topic or had learned the skill required.
It is the role of the Independent End-Point Assessor (IPEA) to test an apprentice’s competence against the KSBs rather than against the duties that they have developed for the job. It is important to identify the KSBs required to undertake each duty, and map each KSB to at least one duty.
Knowledge refers to the technical detail and ‘know-how’ that an apprentice needs to both attain and understand in order to carry out their duties. Some of these will be specific to the occupation, but some may be broader such as first aid training.
This is where the apprentice’s knowledge is applied in a practical manner. Skills will have been learned through both experience, and on-the-job training from a senior member of staff.
One thing to be aware of is that skills shouldn’t be a repetition of the tasks or duties the apprentice carries out. What we mean here is that a duty may be ‘laying bricks’, but the skills will include mixing cement.
Behaviours are mainly referring to the mindset that the apprentice has. Do they think in a way that is required for the duties they are expected to carry out? These don’t just have to be instinctive, they can be learnt too.
The great thing about behaviours is that they are transferable, so they may be similar across apprenticeship standards. Knowledge or skills tend to be more specific to a particular apprenticeship. Examples of behaviours include: teamwork, problem solving, and having a professional attitude.
Finding The Specific KSBs
Only organisations that are on the register of End-Point Assessment Organisations (EPAO) are allowed to carry out EPAs. The training provider will be involved in arranging the End-Point Assessment, but the assessment itself must be independent.
We would advise contacting the EPAO early on in the apprenticeship so you can check what the assessment actually involves. This will give your apprentice the time to gather evidence that supports they have achieved the relevant KSBs.
If you would like any further information on the End-Point Assessment please feel free to have a look at our news section, or get in touch with the team directly.