There isn’t an awful lot of information on the internet regarding End Point Assessment Organisations (EPAOs) so we thought we would bring you another instalment. We are going to take a look at the ‘Independent’ bit of an EPA and what this really means.
What Are EPAOs?
An EPAO is an awarding body, training provider or professional body that is registered to carry out End-Point Assessments. They must be on the official EPAO register in order to take part in an apprentice’s End-Point Assessment. Their main responsibility is to ensure all apprentices are receiving the same standards in their EPAs. This ensures that there is consistency across the board.
EPAs are completely independent to the rest of the NVQ that an apprentice goes through. In order to ensure that the trained apprentice has the skills to do the job they have been trained for, they are required to complete an End-Point Assessment. Most of the apprentice training is carried out within a working environment. This way, once the apprentice is qualified, they are able to continue within that particular company.
One thing that you need to be aware of when you are looking at becoming an IEPA is the ‘Gateway’. This is where the apprentice has had their on-programme element signed off, and have developed the skills, knowledge and behaviours required for their role. It is during this gateway stage that the Assessor needs to be in close contact with the EPAO. They will be the ones to provide guidance on how the gateway evidence should be collected.
There is a government legislation that requires EPAs to be carried out by a body entirely separate to those who have provided the original training. An EPAO is required to provide assessments which are reliable and valid. The assessment tools they use must be comparable, manageable and without bias. It is also the responsibility of the IEPAs to understand the industry within which the apprentice works, and to ensure the EPA covers everything that is required.
EPAOs are responsible for working in collaboration with employers, Assessors and training providers, to ensure the methods of assessment are fit for purpose. It is important that IEPAs are trained on a regular basis. This ensures that they are kept up to date with any changes to the assessments.
We hope this blog has helped to clear up what EPAOs are and how they are linked with End-Point Assessments. If you are considering becoming an Independent End-Point Assessor, you will need to be a qualified Assessor, as well as having an IQA qualification. If you would like any further information on this topic, please give our team a call on 01205 805 155.