Special measures that have allowed thousands of people to complete their apprenticeships through the COVID-19 lockdown will be retained into the new year.

The Institute’s Chief Executive Jennifer Coupland made the commitment to continuing flexibilities for the delivery of end point assessments (EPA) until at least the start of 2021, in a series of webinars with the sector this morning.

These have been rolled out for more than 100 apprenticeships to ensure learners are still able to complete their studies. In most cases they allow for high quality remote rather than face-to-face assessment.

With workplaces now starting to reopen, the Institute wants to reassure the sector that there are no imminent plans to drop the temporary measures.

Jennifer said: “It is fantastic that the assessment flexibilities, which we carefully tailored for different sectors with employer groups, have helped thousands of apprentices to complete in spite of COVID-19.
“We want this to continue as people gradually return to work-places and face-to-face learning and assessment becomes more viable. The Institute will start looking from September at where to go next with the flexibilities, but I can confirm we are not planning to make any changes before the new year to give everyone a degree of stability.” 

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

The EPA process usually involves an element of face-to-face assessment, which was not possible due to movement restrictions during lockdown. Remote assessment arrangements, which maintain quality but allow for sufficient flexibility for learners to complete apprenticeships, were introduced to help mitigate this.

The prime minister has now advised that people should start returning to work where possible, which sparked enquiries as to whether the Institute will continue to support remote assessment and other flexibilities around the delivery of EPA.

Jennifer said: “The EPA flexibilities have played a vital role in supporting the completion of many apprenticeships through these challenging and unprecedented times. We want to clarify now that there are no imminent plans to reverse these.”


Note to editors:

The Institute will give 12 weeks from when any changes are announced to existing flexibilities before EPA organisations will have to deliver them.