On-Programme Learning – What Does It Entail?
There are two different parts of an apprenticeship, the on-programme element and the End-Point Assessment. We have talked a lot about the EPA part in recent months, so for a change let’s look at the on-programme learning side of things. All apprentices need to complete 20% off-the-job training as part of their apprenticeship. This must be included within an apprenticeship’s paid hours too.
The on-programme part of an apprenticeship is also known as the learning phase, where apprentices develop the knowledge, skills and behaviours (KSBs) set out in the apprenticeship standard. We have already looked at detail into what KSBs are, but just as a reminder:
- Knowledge – this is the technical detail that an apprentice needs to carry out their role.
- Skills – this is the application of the knowledge in a practical context.
- Behaviours – this refers to the mindset the apprentice has, for example do they work well as part of a team?
The on-programme assessment gives the opportunity to gather evidence and receive feedback from their Assessor. It is the best way to prepare an apprentice for the EPA, so on-programme assessments are an essential part of an apprenticeship.
The assessment plan for the individual apprenticeship will outline which methods will be used within the EPA. It is therefore a good idea to include these within the on-programme training plan. Using a mixture of different assessment methods will put your apprentice in the best possible position when it comes to their EPA.
As an Assessor, use your common sense when it comes to choosing assessment methods for your apprentice. You will have the experience to know which method would be most relevant to the standard you are assessing. For example, a practical role would not be best assessed with an exam; the apprentice will need to show their skills via a practical assessment, observation or professional discussion.
A showcase portfolio, more commonly known as the portfolio of evidence, demonstrates the apprentice’s performance in relation to the criteria set out in the assessment plan. It is used as the basis for the professional discussion / interview.
Before choosing the evidence to include within the portfolio, the apprentice should check what is required as stated in the assessment plan. This includes the type of evidence that can be submitted; the amount of evidence that should be presented; the criteria the portfolio must cover; and the period of time from which the evidence should have been collected (during the on-programme stage).
When choosing evidence for the portfolio, there are 2 main questions an apprentice should ask themselves:
- Which pieces of evidence give holistic evidence that covers all of the relevant criteria?
- Is this the best evidence I have, showing that all the requirements have been met for me to achieve the highest grade?
On-Programme Leading To EPA
On-programme Assessors need to take the time to understand the EPA, and the particular requirements for the standard their apprentice is undertaking. You need to be on hand to answer any questions they have regarding the EPA and the Gateway. They may also benefit from mock End-Point Assessments to help with their preparation. You therefore need to know your stuff! Lucky for you, we have created a course which is perfect for this – the Award in End-Point Assessment Principles & Practices.
If you would like any further information regarding the on-programme part of an apprentice, and how you can support your learners through this, please give us a call on 01205 805 155.
Steve is a Chartered Manager and a Fellow of the Chartered Management Institute.
He provides Educational Consultancy to the 19+ sector as well as being an Assessor, IQA, EPA and Digital Marketing Professional. When not doing any of these he finds time, every now and then, to write blogs and articles.