Meet the Team

Find out more about the team behind 1st for EPA.

  • Helen Shinner Managing Director

    Give us an overview of your experience and how long you’ve been with 1st for EPA

    Prior to setting up 1st for EPA, I worked in marketing for many years before venturing out on my own as a copywriter and marketing strategist. I then moved into apprenticeships, working on the delivery side. I saw a need for an EPAO that was transparent and supportive, and in 2019 1st for EPA was born. Today, you’ll find me doing a bit of everything at 1st for EPA, from processing bookings to working on strategy.

    What do you do in your spare time?

    I have a 2-year-old daughter and we’re on a mission to visit all our local parks. I also sit on my local School Admissions Appeal Panel. When I get the time, I like to explore new places – a day out in York is a firm favourite.

    What do you like about EPA/assessing?

    I love that we can make apprentices feel supported throughout their EPA, and really make a difference for them.

    What’s your best tip for someone going through EPA?

    This is your time to show off! Don’t be shy, tell the assessor everything you do well.

    What do you like about working at 1st for EPA?

    My fantastic team. Everyone is so friendly and genuinely wants the best for the apprentices we work with. It’s clear how much they care by how welcoming they are in assessments and the time and effort they put into giving apprentices detailed feedback on their EPA. I’m really proud to work with the best people in the industry.

  • Becky Adams Account Manager

    Give us an overview of your experience and how long you’ve been with 1st for EPA

    I started with 1st for EPA in May 2021 and have enjoyed every minute! My background is in customer service and post 16 education, so I feel really suited to this role. I very much enjoy talking to people, offering support and building great working relationships with our clients.

    What do you do in your spare time?

    I enjoy spending my free time with my family, my 2 young children keep me quite busy! We love getting messy in the craft box at home but we’re equally as happy on a family day out at the beach!

    What do you like about EPA/assessing?

    I really enjoy helping people achieve their qualifications. EPA can be quite a daunting experience and I enjoy playing my part in making it a nicer experience for our clients and their learners.

    What’s your best tip for someone going through EPA?

    ‘Blow your own trumpet! Speak about what you do and really show your skills off to the Assessor. Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help. We have super helpful toolkits which offer so much guidance and support but we’re also here to answer any questions you may have.

    What do you like about working at 1st for EPA?

    I love how we are changing the way in which EPA is generally viewed. It’s important to me to work in a company with such good values. 1st for EPA really try to put our clients first and offer support when its needed. Even though I’ve only been here a short time, I already feel like part of the ‘1st for EPA family’ which is a credit to my colleagues and how friendly they are!

  • Tilly Grunwell Business Support Administrator

    Give us an overview of your experience and how long you’ve been with 1st for EPA

    I am the Business Support Administrator for 1st for EPA and I previously did an apprenticeship myself in Business Administration and I have worked within the industry for around 4 years. I only recently joined the company, but I have already gained valuable skills.

    What do you do in your spare time?

    I love to eat chocolate. Is that a hobby? I also love walking my dog, doing gymnastics and spending time with my family! If I can keep busy, then I am happy! I used to be known as the girl who walked around on her hands because I was always doing handstands around the house!

    What do you like about EPA/assessing?

    I like how you can see the apprentice in an area that they have a key interest in and watch them excel forward.

    What’s your best tip for someone going through EPA?

    Take your time, stay relaxed, read the guidance as it’s there to help you.

    What do you like about working at 1st for EPA?

    I love how friendly the whole team is and that you are supported from the minute you start. It is great to see an EPAO that support apprentices from start to finish with communication and tips the whole way through. I cannot wait to progress and develop with this company and I look forward to seeing it grow!

  • Ange P Lead IQA

    Give us an overview of your experience and how long you’ve been with 1st for EPA

    I have been working in the education sector for over 30 years.  Prior to setting up my own company, I was an Apprenticeship Manager for a large Employer Provider, managing a team to deliver apprenticeships to their employees in a variety of disciplines. I have a Master’s in Management, I am a qualified trainer, assessor, and Internal Quality Assurer across several standards and have been working with 1st EPA since early 2021.

    What do you do in your spare time?

    I like to bake, run and I am just about to start a pottery course.

    What do you like about EPA/assessing?

    Seeing apprentices progress to the end of their journey as an apprentice and starting their career fully qualified.

    What’s your best tip for someone going through EPA?

    This is your opportunity to shine, don’t hold back.  Tell the assessor everything in as much detail as possible.  Remember it is all about you!

    What do you like about working at 1st for EPA?

    The people. We are all very supportive and offer a quality service for the apprentices going through the EPA process.

  • Yousuf M Marketing Assessor

    Give us an overview of your experience and how long you’ve been with 1st for EPA

    I have a degree in marketing management with over 10 years’ worth of digital marketing experience. 6 years of this is teaching and assessing experience, alongside a teaching and assessing qualification.

    What do you do in your spare time?

    I spend my spare time with the family going to parks/swimming, old school gaming, active gym goer, internet browsing and I love creating games.

    What do you like about EPA/assessing?

    Reading through projects and seeing what professionals are doing in the workplace, as well as the interaction in the discussions.

    What’s your best tip for someone going through EPA?

    Remain calm and ensure you’ve actively participated in the project.

    What do you like about working at 1st for EPA?

    Nice friendly team with a caring environment.

  • Paul M PR & Communications Assistant Assessor

    Give us an overview of your experience and how long you’ve been with 1st for EPA

    I’m a freelance PR consultant and former business journalist with more than 20 years’ experience working in the media. I have run successful PR campaigns for a range of organisations in the private and public sectors. I’m also an Associate Lecturer in PR and Journalism at the University of the West of England. I’ve been with 1st for EPA since October 2020.

    What do you do in your spare time?

    Walk the dog and write fiction (novels and screenplays), though not at the same time!

    What do you like about EPA/assessing?

    You can always learn something new from people starting out in PR who are looking at things with fresh eyes.

    What’s your best tip for someone going through EPA?

    Be yourself.

    What do you like about working at 1st for EPA?

    They are a friendly and supportive bunch of people, but they also expect high standards from their assessors.

  • Sian R Junior Content Producer Assessor

    Give us an overview of your experience and how long you’ve been with 1st for EPA

    I have a degree in TV and Film and also run my own photography and video business specialising in weddings, newborn and family. I have worked in apprenticeships for over 5 years, more in a role supporting learners to be EPA ready but since the start of 2021 I have moved into the assessing side. It has been great to be able to watch learners in their role and being involved in the final outcome of their apprenticeship.

    What do you do in your spare time?

    Photography and videography are big hobbies of mine that I also get paid for, so it is the best of both worlds. When I am not shooting I am enjoying spending free time with my husband, two little boys and pug called Ishka.

    What do you like about EPA/assessing?

    Being able to see the final outcome of the learners’ journey and seeing all the amazing work they produce for their employers.

    What’s your best tip for someone going through EPA?

    Read through the standard, making sure you can competently hit all elements.

    What do you like about working at 1st for EPA?

    It is a small business that has the learner at the heart of it.

  • Lisa H Digital Marketer and Junior Content Producer Assessor

    Give us an overview of your experience and how long you’ve been with 1st for EPA

    I have been working in education since 2006. I’ve taught a variety of subjects including Digital Media Production, Social Media for Business, Digital Marketer and Junior Content Production. I have a BA Hons degree, a Certificate in Education, QTLS status and a CAVA certificate. I have also worked as an external verifier for 5 years for a variety of exam boards.

    What do you do in your spare time?

    In my spare time I like to spend time with my husband and daughters. We like to go for walks and love nature and also enjoy visiting museums and galleries. My daughters share my love of craft and enjoy making things.

    What do you like about EPA/assessing?

    I enjoy assessing as not only is it rewarding to help learners progress on their journeys, but I also feel the role allows for your own development. I enjoy learning the standards thoroughly and playing my part in ensuring the standards are being upheld and that grades are being awarded correctly. I find assessing to be invaluable CPD.

    What’s your best tip for someone going through EPA?

    Spend time looking through your portfolio so that you can see your own progression and learning.

    What do you like about working at 1st for EPA?

    I feel very welcomed and supported. I am looking forward to working with 1st for EPA where I feel I’ll develop my skills and knowledge further whilst helping to successfully contribute to the team.

  • Gennie R Junior Content Producer Assessor

    Give us an overview of your experience and how long you’ve been with 1st for EPA

    I am a fully qualified Adult Education trainer with a number of years experience delivering digital content creation training in a variety of settings from colleges, private sector companies, public and third sector organisations.

    I have also produced digital content for a number of companies including ITV, BBC Comedy, Millennium Volunteers, Royal College of Science Association, Cardiff City Council, Hammersmith and City Council, Roots and Routes – Rotterdam, and more.

    What do you do in your spare time?

    In my spare time I like gardening, permaculture, swimming, Pilates, yoga and producing music.

    What do you like about EPA/assessing?

    I enjoy EPA assessing because I am passionate about content creation and digital technologies.

    What’s your best tip for someone going through EPA?

    My best tip for someone going through EPA would be to read the instructions regarding the assessments very carefully, a number of times, before taking the assessment.

    There are things that, as assessors, we need to see evidenced and so make sure that you fully understand what each of the criteria is, and plan to demonstrate those criteria purposefully during the assessment process.

    What do you like about working at 1st for EPA?

    1st for EPA are a great company to work with. They are very supportive. They are available to give their team a great deal of help with anything they need and without delay.

    They care deeply about delivering a quality service and they are constantly improving and developing what they do.

  • Jessica S Marketing Assessor

    Give us an overview of your experience and how long you’ve been with 1st for EPA

    I’m a Chartered Marketer with over 25 years of experience in high level marketing roles across many industry sectors. I’ve worked in many different countries including Australia and France, and as well as assessing I work as a marketing consultant. I have been teaching and assessing for over 15 years with a range of organisations such as Google and CIM. Overall I am dedicated to helping others succeed in marketing in the same way I have been able to.

    What do you do in your spare time?

    I like to go hiking, running, canoeing and wild swimming and spend as much time as possible travelling around new countries with my family in our trusty campervan.

    What do you like about EPA/assessing?

    1st for EPA is a great student experience as they have a high emphasis on service quality and delivery. They are very supportive to students and have high standards for themselves and their students.

    What’s your best tip for someone going through EPA?

    Don’t be worried about the presentation and professional discussion stage. Imagine you’re presenting to your line manager or going for an internal interview with someone you know. It’s not as scary as you think it’s going to be.

    What do you like about working at 1st for EPA?

    Very supportive company who put an emphasis on students feeling as happy and relaxed as possible while going through the EPA process. An easy going, friendly company who have a great deal of respect for their fantastic team of professional assessors.

  • Samantha G Business Administrator Assessor

    Give us an overview of your experience and how long you’ve been with 1st for EPA

    I have been working for 1st for EPA for a year.  I have been assessing for 15 years and conducting EPA for three years. I have managed apprenticeship programmes and also been on the launch team for several large apprenticeship programmes such as Next and EE. I have a level 5 HR qualification as well as PTTLLS and TAQA.

    What do you do in your spare time?

    I like to keep fit, cook and walk.  I also love to travel… when we are allowed.

    What do you like about EPA/assessing?

    I love the variety and making a difference to people’s careers.

    What’s your best tip for someone going through EPA?

    Prepare and ensure you fully understand what is expected of you.

    What do you like about working at 1st for EPA?

    I like the professionalism and how there is always someone there for support if required.

  • Michelle S Internal Quality Assurer (IQA)

    Give us an overview of your experience and how long you’ve been with 1st for EPA

    I have worked with a range of qualifications in a number of different settings. My experience of being self-employed gives me up to date experience of administration, marketing and management that is relevant to world of apprenticeship standards.

    What do you do in your spare time?

    Having recently moved to a new area with my partner, most of my spare time is taken up with exploring the surrounding area and building a family home for us to bring our baby into when he or she arrives in January 2022.

    What do you like about EPA/assessing?

    I love seeing an apprentice be able to tell me all about their apprenticeship as it gives them the opportunity to really brag about all the fantastic things they’ve been doing, and most apprentices really have done amazing things!

    What’s your best tip for someone going through EPA?

    Relax! There are no trick questions, just tell your End Point Assessor what you (not your colleagues or manager) have been doing as part of your role over the course of your apprenticeship; it really is that simple.

    What do you like about working at 1st for EPA?

    The team are really supportive and are working to a common goal with high standards of work that everyone takes pride in.

  • Dr Jane T PR and Marketing Assessor

    Give us an overview of your experience and how long you’ve been with 1st for EPA

    I have worked in the education sector for over 20 years. I was a Senior Lecturer in Marketing Communications at Manchester Metropolitan University (MMU) Business School for 13 years, including Course Director for the MSc Public Relations and MSc Public Relations and Media Management programmes. I have a Master’s Degree in Public Relations and a PhD in Business and Marketing. I was a Lecturer for the Chartered Institute of Public Relations (CIPR) Diploma and a Senior Examiner for the Chartered Institute of Marketing (CIM).

    I founded my own marketing communications consultancy in 2009 and have worked for 1st for EPA since March 2021.

    What do you do in your spare time?

    I enjoy painting, printmaking, and acting and directing in amateur theatre. And I enjoy cycling and walking my rescue greyhounds.

    What do you like about EPA/assessing?

    Meeting apprentices and seeing the impact the apprenticeship has had on their lives and aspirations is very rewarding. Their enthusiasm and commitment are inspiring, and it’s great to see them start out on exciting careers.

    What’s your best tip for someone going through EPA?

    Be prepared. Check the assessment criteria and make sure you have met as many as possible. Be ready to answer questions on your work and your apprenticeship experience. Examples really help! Preparation will give you confidence so you can really shine at the EPA.

    What do you like about working at 1st for EPA?

    It’s a very friendly and supportive team, and they are very well organised. They work to a high standard and put the apprentice at the heart of their services.

  • Barbara A Quality Manager

  • Ayesha Z HR Assessor

  • Trevor P Marketing Assessor

  • Deb S PR and Marketing Assessor

  • Barbara A HR Assessor

  • Gemma S Digital Marketer Assessor

  • Sophie B Digital Marketer Assessor

  • Eric R Junior Content Producer Assessor

  • Kirsty W IQA and Marketing Assessor

  • Dr Amna K Marketing Assessor

  • Melanie T Invigilator

  • Liz R Invigilator

  • Vicki D Invigilator

  • Chris K Junior Content Producer Assessor

  • Chris L Junior Content Producer Assessor

  • Ian S Junior Content Producer Assessor

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