The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (the Institute) is preparing to simplify and strengthen how end-point assessment (EPA) works for apprenticeships where the statutory regulator has an established professional competency test.

In situations where an apprentice has met the statutory regulator’s requirements to practice, this will be counted as that apprentice’s end point assessment, making use of robust assessment where it already exists to ensure that EPA is best serving employers and apprentices, and protects public funds.

This is likely to lead to making permanent some of the flexibilities that were introduced as a result of COVID-19, particularly in the nursing sector where flexibilities that were agreed with the National Health Service and Nursing and Midwifery Council have been well received.

Going forward, the Institute will be working with employers to consider how this could be extended to other statutory regulators – there will be no blanket approach.  Integrated EPA will only be considered where a statutory regulator, which admits professionals into occupations that parliament has said must be regulated, sets established tests of professional competency.

A consultation will take place on each standard before any change is made in line with the Institute’s revisions process – giving people a chance to feed back.

Where the decision is taken to integrate the EPA with the professional competency tests, there will be at least three months’ notice given to end-point assessment organisations (EPAOs).

The Institute told end point assessment organisations for nursing and other relevant apprenticeships on 14 October that work will start on introducing the changes in the coming weeks.

Jennifer Coupland, chief executive of the Institute, said: “This innovative new approach will build on lessons learned from the assessment flexibilities introduced around COVID-19.  This will simplify the system and make it work better for both employers and apprentices, particularly in professions such as nursing.”