Preparing an Apprentice for the Gateway
The gateway is a fairly new concept since the reform of the apprenticeship model from frameworks to standards. The main purpose of the gateway is to ‘open the door’, if you like, between the on-programme element of an apprenticeship and the End-Point Assessment (EPA).
If the apprentice has demonstrated that they have met all of the knowledge, skills and behaviour criteria (KSBs), and all the evidence and qualification certificates have been achieved, they can enter the gateway phase. The employer can also be brought in at this stage to ensure that they are in agreement and feel the apprentice is ready to undertake the EPA.
Knowing When An Apprentice Is Ready
In order to determine whether an apprentice is ready to progress onto the gateway, you will need to refer back to the assessment plan. This will detail the specific requirements for the gateway, and they vary between apprenticeships.
Think of the gateway phase as more of a ‘check-list’ where you are going through to see if a specific set of requirements have been met. Here are a few examples of some mandatory requirements usually included within the assessment plan:
- A letter signed by the employer confirming readiness for the EPA
- Completion of a workforce portfolio
- Self-assessment carried out by the apprentice
As an Assessor, it is important that you are in close contact with the End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) in the run-up to the gateway decision. This is because they provide guidance to the Assessor on both the collection and processing of the gateway evidence.
One thing to be aware of when approaching this gateway stage is the employer themselves. You may find that some employers are keen to rush the apprentice onto the EPA so that they complete sooner. Remember there is a minimum term for the apprenticeship though, so there is nothing to be gained from rushing the gateway process.
On the other hand, you may find that the employer is holding the apprentice back from the gateway process. This could be due to timing or funding constraints within the business, but this could significantly impact the performance of an apprentice if they are held back. At the end of the day, the gateway is the point where an apprentice is not going to benefit from any further training. It is not where the employer feels the apprentice is guaranteed to pass.
Questions To Prove Readiness
As the Assessor, you will have a good indication of whether your apprentice is ready for gateway anyway. There are a few questions you can ask yourself and the employer to triple check the apprentice is ready:
Is there sufficient evidence that the apprentice is ready?
There should be a pile of evidence that shows the apprentice has been consistently working towards the standard, and is comfortable with the assessment methods used within the EPA.
Does the evidence itself show the achievement of the elements?
Are you confident that the apprentice has gained all of the different KSB elements that may be assessed during the EPA?
Are the achievements carried out at the level required?
Are both you and the employer in agreement that the apprentice isn’t just ready for the EPA, but that they can work in their occupation at the level required?
Does the apprentice show competence?
If the answer to all of the questions above is yes, the final thing on the checklist is checking competence. This means that you feel the apprentice is able to demonstrate their skills through the various methods of assessment used during the EPA.
So there you have it, how you can prepare an apprentice for the gateway. If you have any further questions on this topic, or any part of the EPA please give us a call on 01205 805 155 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
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.