End Point Assessment (EPA) is the name given to a series of tests an apprentice must take to prove their ability to do the job they have been training for. These tests take place at the end of an apprenticeship following a period of training and development often referred to as the ‘on-programme’ period. In some Standard based apprenticeships the on-programme stage may include mandatory requirements, such as supporting qualifications. These must be achieved prior to applying for the EPA.
At this point the employer, after discussion with their apprentice and training provider, ‘signs off’ their apprentice as ready for EPA. This decision process is known as the ‘gateway’ to End Point Assessment.
EPA’s can only be taken a minimum of 12 months after the start of an apprentices training and must be successfully completed before an apprenticeship completion certificate can be issued.
Our EPA Services
FDQ is on the Education and Skills Agency Register of Apprentice Assessment Organisations. Find us under code EPA0011. We are approved to deliver end point assessment (EPA) for the following apprenticeship standards:
To find out how FDQ can help with your EPA needs just call us on 0113 3970 395, or alternatively email EPA@fdq.org.uk
What does an EPA involve?
There’s no common format for an EPA; they vary between apprenticeships. All EPA’s are developed from ‘assessment plans’, drawn up by the trailblazer group responsible for the apprenticeship standard. Assessment plans set out the main requirements for the final testing and what methods should be used. As the experts for their respective workforces, employers can determine the knowledge, skills and behaviours required for job roles, and they will be guided on how best to test for occupational competence in their particular industry.
Importantly, EPA’s are not designed to test every single aspect of a Standard. Instead they are designed to enable an apprentice to demonstrate that overall they have developed the key knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to be able to do their job effectively.
An End Point Assessment in the food industry might involve all or some of the following testing methods:
Who can deliver EPA?
Only approved End Point Assessment Organisations (EPAO) registered with the Education and Skills Funding Agency can deliver End Point Assessments. They can either be awarding organisations, like FDQ, training providers or employers. Without exception all should:
Where does EPA take place?
EPA’s are taken under exam conditions, so need a suitably controlled environment to allow the apprentice to concentrate and do their best. This can either be at their employer’s premises or an agreed external location.
What about grading and certificates?
Unlike the SASE frameworks, the new apprenticeships are graded. Individual grades are decided by the results of End Point Assessment tests. Most are graded at Pass, Fail, Excellence or Distinction. This not only motivates apprentices to reach for the top grades but also allows employers to spot their star performers.
Can an apprentice re-sit their EPA?
If an apprentice fails all or part of their End Point Assessment they are able to resubmit for testing. Re-sits should usually only be arranged after extra training and are chargeable. Exact fees vary from one apprenticeship to another due to the differing type of tests involved.
How much does End Point Assessment cost?
The cost of an EPA is determined by a number of factors, including:
Government funding is available to support the costs of End Point Assessment. This forms part of the overall apprenticeship funding. Twenty percent of the total cost of an apprenticeship is retained by government until the final assessment stage. This represents the maximum cost for an EPA, though often they are lower than 20%.
Why choose FDQ?
We are dedicated to developing food industry qualifications and apprenticeships that work for you. Not just on paper, but in the day to day running of your business. As food industry specialists we appreciate the challenges faced in this fast-paced industry. As educational specialists in the food industry, we also know that effective training is critical for a safe, efficient and productive workforce.
As an approved EPAO our dedication to providing an end point assessment service that works for you is just as strong.
The FDQ Promise:
We promise that our End Point Assessment services will be:
How do I book an EPA?
Training providers approved as centres with FDQ will be able to apply on behalf of the apprentice via the FDQ Awards portal. Non-FDQ centres should contact FDQ directly for further information on how to apply.
Still want to know more?
Any new system is bound to be confusing at first, so if you have unanswered questions, or simply want to talk through the EPA process, please call us – we’re here to help.
Call our friendly staff on: 0113 3970 395
Or email your query to EPA@fdq.org.uk
I was lucky enough to be part of the dream team that designed the butcher standard – the first food craft apprenticeship to be approved by government. Now I head up the leading end-point assessment organisation for the butchery apprenticeship. As a result I feel pretty confident to pass comment on it.
Quite simply the butchery apprenticeship standard is transforming the butchery profession – for the better. Age-old butchery skills are being revived. That deep knowledge of the meat supply chain is being re-instilled. The industry asked itself the question, ‘What does it mean to be a butcher today?’, and the apprenticeship answered it.
But don’t take my word for it. Ask the 1000+ apprentices who’ve enrolled since 2018, the family businesses whose futures are now secured, or the retail giants, Morrisons and Sainsburys, who know a good thing when they see it and have hundreds of apprentices on programme.
So, what’s this got to do with bakery, I hear you say?
Because the bakery industry is on the brink of doing the same. We know there’s a market opportunity, but it has yet to take off for some SMEs due to funding obstacles. It will take a concerted joint effort by training providers and SME employers to demand that funding is directed to where it’s needed. Butchery overcame similar issues and I’m confident that the baking industry will do too. And here are 10 good reasons why the bakery apprenticeship is worth fighting for:
1. It attracts 5 times the funding of the previous framework, £9,000 per apprentice
2. Small bakery businesses only contribute £450 at most, and that cost is waived if you have less than 50 employees and apprentices aged under 19
3. Largescale bakers have a dedicated ‘automated baker’ pathway within the apprenticeship
4. It’s not just for youngsters! There are no upper age limits so the bakery apprenticeship can be used to ‘train and certify’ your whole workforce
5. The employer is King! They negotiate the training contract based on what their business needs
6. It delivers apprentices with proven skills – the compulsory end-point assessment ensures apprentices only qualify when they’ve mastered the skills employers need
7. Apprentices are tested by independent industry examiners with years of experience – making success at end-point assessment a real confidence booster for the apprentice
8. 20% off the job need not be a barrier – training providers are now adept at managing this requirement creatively so as not to impact the smooth running of a business
9. It’s meeting the needs of all types of bakery businesses today, with half the current apprentices being supermarket bakers and half being craft or automated bakers
10 All successful apprentices receive both an apprenticeship certificate PLUS a L2 Bakery Diploma
In short, bakery employers and training providers, it’s time to make it happen!
Find out more about the bakery apprenticeship and end-point assessment or call us on 0113 3970 395 to discuss your business needs
Food manufacturing giant and FDQ end-point assessment customer, PepsiCo, are embracing the FDPO apprenticeship to enhance and standardise their training across their Walkers Crisps production sites.
Over fifty apprentices have successfully completed their FDQ end-point assessment (EPA) and PepsiCo now have around 275 apprentices on programmes throughout the UK.
Mandy Reader, Organisational Capability Manager, UK and Ireland, explains how the Food and Drink Process Operator apprenticeship fits into their ‘Grow our Own’ strategy,
“We have a four-stage technical pipeline and our aim is to develop our own technical talent from entry level, General Support Operators. The FDPO apprenticeship enabled us to map our training needs into a nationally accredited qualification. This makes it a much more attractive prospect for potential candidates. They can see that there’s a career path open to them if they work hard. For some it’s the first time they’ve ever achieved a qualification.”
With over 1500 applicants for less than 100 vacancies recently, their approach looks to be working.
End-point assessment a game changer!
Managing a multi-site apprenticeship programme requires significant resource, according to Reader. In her view, key to PepsiCo’s success is the three-way partnership between FDQ, as their EPA partner, PepsiCo, and CQM, their training provider. EPA represents a game changer for everyone, says Reader,
“For business and apprentices, EPA provides independent verification that they have achieved a recognised industry standard, one developed by food manufacturers themselves. For us it’s vitally important to work with a food specialist EPA organisation. With high volumes of apprentices going through end-point assessment, having assessors with solid occupational experience combined with a dedicated EPA Manager is central to the success of the programme.”
The Food and Drink Process Operator Apprenticeship is now firmly established as the entry level production qualification for PepsiCo’s UK businesses. It has resulted in what Reader believes are ‘Gold Standard’ General Operators. And she’s not the only advocate of their apprenticeship programme. PepsiCo won the Food Manufacture Training Award in 2018 and have recently been named as an East Midlands Regional Finalist in the Employer of the Year category of the 2019 National Apprenticeship Awards.
Find out more about the Food and Drink Process Operator apprenticeship and end-point assessment here.Read more