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Apprenticeship Assessments and Certifications Explained

With around 20% of working hours dedicated to classroom-based learning at a college, university or external training provider, apprenticeships can span from 1 to 4 years and allow you to obtain a nationally recognised qualification in the industry of your choice.

Apprenticeships are mostly categorised by levels, with different apprenticeships providing the equivalent of more commonly known qualifications. They are a great way to gain invaluable insights and experience while working a paid job.

This article will walk you through what you can expect from apprenticeship assessments and the certifications you can obtain.

How will your apprenticeship be assessed?

At the end of an apprenticeship in England, all apprentices are assessed to ensure their competency in the role they have been training for (this is a fancy way of saying that assessors will be checking that you’re confident in what you’ve learnt from your time as an apprentice and that you can complete all of the different parts of your role).

You’ll need to demonstrate your ability to perform all aspects of your role, as well as evidence the knowledge, skills and behaviours you have learnt throughout your apprenticeship and associated training – you’ll do this by completing what is called an ‘end-point assessment’.

Assessments for engineers

What will my end-point assessment look like?

There are several different types of end-point assessments and they vary depending on the level, industry, and length of apprenticeship you take.

Your end-point assessment (EPA) will be overseen by an independent end-point assessment organisation (EPAO).

Your employer will confirm your end-point assessment type and end-point assessment organisation at the beginning of your apprenticeship to ensure you clearly understand what is expected of you to pass your apprenticeship. Throughout your apprenticeship, your employer may even provide ‘mocks’ to prepare you for your assessment.

Some end-point assessment examples include:

  • Observation – the assessor will oversee how you take on your duties in the workplace and you may be asked some questions.
  • Practical demonstration – this assessment style will require you to demonstrate your skills, knowledge and behaviours in a simulated working environment.
  • Test – ranging from multiple choice to open-answer or scenario-based questions, a test-based end-point assessment can take place either online or in person and will focus on ensuring you understand the necessary elements of the role you have undertaken.
  • Project-based – in this case, you will be clearly assigned a project to undertake in your role. This will assess your ability to work to a brief, completing a task that is similar to your working duties.
  • Presentation-based – this style allows you to demonstrate the skills, knowledge, and behaviour you have attained throughout your apprenticeship that would not be observed through a practical assessment. This may be based on a particular project, or simply outline your learnings.

*Please note – It is important to let your employer and training provider know about any specific requirements you might have so that they can put in place any necessary accommodations. (Reasonable adjustments are changes to the assessment that aim to reduce the impact of a disability or a physical or mental health condition that might otherwise put you at a disadvantage compared to others).

electrician at work

Throughout your apprenticeship

Top tip

“Working towards your end-point assessment throughout your apprenticeship will keep you on track to pass, demonstrating your ability to perform your role, and opening opportunities for progression in your chosen career.”

Ensure that you complete practice assessments covering all areas of your final evaluation to confirm your capability and confidence to showcase the necessary knowledge, skills, and behaviours (your end-point assessment organisation or training provider can supply you with these practice assessments).

To sufficiently prepare for your assessment ahead of time, it is recommended that you:

  • Confirm the requirement of any materials, like an evidence portfolio, necessary for your assessment.
  • Provide written authorisation to your end-point assessment organisation for certificate application.
  • Verify your personal details to ensure the accuracy of your pass certificate.

Getting ready for the last stage and finishing your final assessment

Before the final assessment, there’s a stage called gateway where your employer (line manager) and the trainer will check if you’re all set for the big test.

To get ready for this, you should:

  • Make sure the people testing you have your permission to give you a certificate.
  • Check that all your personal information is right for the certificate.
  • Do any necessary work beforehand for the big test, like a project, report, or presentation.

If you meet all the requirements for the gateway, the people testing you will get everything ready for your final assessment.

*Please note – The gateway requirements might include doing well in English and math as mentioned in the final assessment plan.

male student quantity surveying

Your end-point assessment checklist:

  • Review the assessment plan to re-familiarise yourself with the assessment methods so you know what to expect
  • Use all practice materials shared with you to understand the different assessment methods
  • Make sure any work required has been completed and submitted
  • Speak with other apprentices or past apprentices to get tips for your assessment

You’ll need to find out:

  • The date and time of your end-point assessment
  • Where your end-point assessment is and how you will get there
  • Any equipment you will need, such as pens or a calculator
  • Any technology you will need to use for your assessment (make sure you practice with any technology that you’re unfamiliar with)
  • When and how you will find out your results

Results, feedback and celebrations!

Your end-point assessment organisation will let you know your results and request your certificate if you’re successful in passing your apprenticeship.

If for any reason you fail your end-point assessment, don’t worry. You can resit or retake your end-point assessment.

Resit: A resit is having another go at one or more components of your assessment without re-training.

Retake: A retake involves completing further training before you try again.

It is worth noting that you can’t do a resit or retake to improve a passing grade.

Time to celebrate!

Finishing your big test and passing your apprenticeship is a big deal. You should be proud of your hard work and celebrate this achievement!

In some cases, you might even get an extra qualification or professional recognition.

Either way, sharing your experience could inspire others to complete an apprenticeship and help others in a similar position undergoing end-point assessments.

Life after your apprenticeship

Your employer and training provider will be on hand to discuss what you want to do next and how they can support this transition.

Whether you’re looking to complete another apprenticeship at a higher level to further your skills or simply want to get stuck into an entry-level position, you have all the skills you need to take on those next steps in your career.

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