• The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education celebrates the successes of thousands of learners who refused to let COVID-19 to stop them completing apprenticeships.
  • Apprentices reflect on their positive experiences of remote assessment.

Apprentices have spoken about how they overcame COVID-19 restrictions to complete their apprenticeships through remote working and assessment.

The Institute has developed temporary flexibilities to how end point assessment (EPA) is delivered for more than 100 apprenticeships since lockdown was enforced. 

This has allowed thousands of learners to complete their apprenticeships through remote assessment.

Eleanor Bradshaw, passed her level four associate project manager apprenticeship at Severn Trent Water with a distinction. The 20-year-old said:

“I was part of the company’s security team, delivering projects on critical water treatment works across the Severn Trent region. It meant that when I was aged just 19, I was managing the budget and progress for contractors on my site, ensuring all documentation was up to date to enable safe working, and making sure measures were in place mitigate against any external threats.
“I didn’t want my career progress to be hindered by the pandemic - so it was really important for me to do the assessment remotely, pass my apprenticeship, and move into a full-time role.
“When it came to my assessment, I was given the appropriate equipment as well as support from my manager to practise my presentation over the phone. Despite the strange circumstances we are currently in, it didn’t stop me being able to get a distinction.”

Serena Variah, 19, another level four associate project manager apprenticeship at Severn Trent Water, said:

“My apprenticeship consisted of managing my budget and schedule to keep my project on track, also engaging important stakeholders we worked with such as the council and contractors. This was by arranging meetings with them and keeping them up to date with ongoing projects.
“I had my apprenticeship EPA during the lockdown, so I had to do an interview and presentation sat at a desk, at the end of my bed, over a video call. It wasn’t how I expected to be wowing my assessors but, either way, it worked out in the end.
“It was important to carry on with my assessment as it was my last hurdle to completing my apprenticeship. I am now excited to be starting in a new team as an assistant project engineer and developing myself as project manager.”

Kirsten Cornally, 21, who is level three advertising and media executive at Wavemaker, said:

“My role is to run finance accounts for my clients, work on media plans and briefings and highlight the most affective audiences to target for advertising campaigns.
“It was definitely odd initially doing such an important assessment remotely. However, I found it wasn’t very noticeable that I wasn’t in the room with the examiner and the technology really helped me to fully demonstrate my capabilities. It was important for me to carry on with my assessment as I had put all of my work into preparing for it, and so I didn’t want to lose my momentum going into it.”

Maya Albin, 22, a level three advertising and media executive apprentice, added:

“My apprenticeship involved gathering evidence of my daily tasks, such as, co-ordinating media responses, managing client expectations, and putting together a strategy for advertising. That is looking at what media channels are best for my clients as well as what audiences should be reached to give the best result.
“I based my assessment project around work I was doing for a client on the competitor landscape. I was then involved in a question and answer session with the assessors around my project and my normal working day.
“I wanted to carry on with my assessment because as an industry newbie, I wanted to prove my capabilities and showcase the things I’ve learnt throughout my apprenticeship.”

These positive accounts follow earlier remote EPA success for digital and butchery apprenticeships.

Institute Chief Executive Jennifer Coupland said:

“It is fantastic that thousands of the apprentices are not just meeting the unprecedented challenges around COVID-19, but thriving with remote assessment and moving on with their careers. Credit must also go to their employers, training providers, and our network of end point assessment organisations for making this possible.”

Terry Fennell, chief executive of FDQ which is a remote provider of EPA for the food and drinks process operator apprenticeship, spoke about the hard work that has gone in to getting remote assessment right for his sector. He said:

“The food and drink process operator EPA demonstrates the importance of collaboration, innovation and resilience in the face of the assessment challenges posed by Covid-19. Achieving a successful remote EPA for this apprenticeship required all three in abundance.”

Jan Richardson-Wilde, chief executive of Occupational Awards Limited, another remote provider of EPA, said:

“It has been critical, during this challenging time, for us to all work together to get these positive changes in place for EPAs to continue.  This has enabled us to support the apprentices to achieve and become fully qualified and the food and drink employers to continue to have a fully skilled workforce.”

Heather Akehurst, chief executive of Open Awards, the Institute’s EQA delivery partner, said:

“Open Awards as the EQAP provider for these standards are pleased to have been able to bring together stakeholders collaboratively to reach consensus on how to deliver EPA during these challenges times, whilst ensuring quality remains at the forefront. After the hard work of all, it is rewarding to see so many apprentices achieve their apprenticeships and progress in their chosen careers.”