• Apprentices have been sharing positive feedback on how remote end point assessment (EPA) is working for them during the Covid-19 lockdown
  • The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) is supporting remote EPA so hard-working apprentices can still complete their apprenticeships without face-to-face contact with assessors

Pioneering apprentices who were among the first to take part in remote EPAs have spoken about their experiences.

Guidance published by the Institute in March, after the country was put into lockdown to help curb the Covid-19 virus, advised that EPAs should be delivered remotely where possible.

Hundreds of remote EPAs have been carried out so far and apprentices from the digital sector reflected positively on their experiences.

Andras Tyichi, a level 3 software development technician apprentice, said:

“Doing a project remotely was interesting. Having the webcam, the microphone and the screen share on constantly was a little unnerving first, but I managed to get used to it after a day or two. My advice to other apprentices would be a classic: keep calm and carry on. The world will get through these dark days, and so will you.”

Joanne Devanney, a level 4 data analyst apprentice, added:

“I think the assessment I had went very well. I answered all the questions presented to me with confidence, due to the knowledge I have gained since beginning the apprenticeship. The assessor was clear, professional and everything was explained to me clearly. The meeting link worked well with no issues regarding audio or connectivity and so I found very little difference to this taking place in the workplace.”

Tom Wilson, a level 4 software development apprentice who was also assessed remotely, had the following advice for others:

“Continue to prepare and carry on doing your apprenticeship as normal. Don’t worry about the remote assessment, as once you have setup the webcam and screen share you can just carry on as normal, and it will feel natural after the first couple of days.”

Apprentices must pass an EPA to prove they can do their job to the high standards required and complete their apprenticeship.

The EPA process usually involves an element of face-to-face assessment, which is not currently possible due to movement restrictions due to Covid-19.

That is why remote assessment arrangements which maintain quality but allow for sufficient flexibility for learners to complete their apprenticeships are being rolled out.

The Institute has for example this month approved remote EPA arrangements for the level 2 and 3 butcher and advanced butcher standards, which was welcomed by Mike Whittemore, Head of Butchery and Food Training at Crosby Training.

He said: “One of the most rewarding aspects of apprenticeships is how they bring together lots of industry players and the government to provide solutions for the common good of the industry and apprentices. The launch of remote EPAs for our apprenticeships has been a wonderful example of that collaboration in action. We have worked well together on ensuring that remote assessment will work for butchery, which is obviously a very hands-on occupation. I’m delighted that this means butchery apprentices can continue to complete during this pandemic.”

The Institute’s chief executive, Jennifer Coupland, said:

“It’s important to try to preserve apprentices’ rights to their EPA wherever we can, through remote assessment. These examples of how apprentices have adjusted well to the new challenges are really encouraging. I hope their examples will inspire and reassure other apprentices and their employers.”

 

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