Employers: How to support your apprentices through EPA

Gateway is not the end of the apprenticeship – your apprentices still need you to support them through their end point assessment (EPA).

Here are our top tips on how employers can support apprentices through their EPA.

1. Read the guidance

When Training Providers register your apprentices with us, they will be able to share our:

  • Toolkit (or Resource Pack)
  • Mock tests, project activity or proposal examples (as relevant to the standard)
  • Employer EPA Overview for each standard

This guidance gives apprentices information on what to expect, what they’ll be expected to show, and how to prepare for assessment. The toolkits are full of top tips and example questions for EPA.

The guidance is very useful for you to read too – it will give you a really good idea of what will happen and help you see when and how you can support your apprentices.

2. Give apprentices time to work on their EPA

All EPA demands time spent after gateway. This might be carrying out a project, preparing for a professional discussion, or simply practising mock assessments. Be mindful of your apprentice’s workload and ensure they are given work time to focus on their EPA.

3. Encourage the apprentice to take ownership

Mindset can be everything when it comes to assessment. Encourage your apprentice to take ownership of the final part of their apprenticeship – by seeking out the guidance, ensuring EPA dates are booked, and taking control of any project or prep work they need to do. By doing this, apprentices are empowered and in the best position to perform well in their assessment.

4. Advocate for your apprentice

Apprentices have to balance a lot. Sometimes they find themselves in tough situations – which could be at home, at work or with their training provider. Take time to speak to them and understand any challenges they’re facing. If you can advocate for them on the small things, it can give a confidence boost and you can be a role model for the apprentice to advocate for themselves in future.

5. Look after your apprentice’s wellbeing

Don’t wait for apprentices to speak up and say they’re struggling. Wellbeing is about looking after mental health and it can benefit everyone. 1st for EPA’s Wellbeing Hub has resources and advice for apprentices, and also for employers to support apprentices.

You can see advice on everything from creating an inclusive workplace to some simple desk stretches to relieve tension at work.

6. What to do if your apprentice is struggling with EPA

If your apprentice is struggling with EPA at all, whether it be the prep or the actual assessment, encourage them to reach out to their coach/tutor. There are also EPA tips and resources available online and on our blog.

7. Understand the logistics of EPA

Knowing the logistics means you can help ensure the assessment runs smoothly for the apprentice.

  • For all assessments the apprentice must have photographic ID with them – this can be a photo driving licence card, passport or work ID (as long as it has their full name and photo on it).
  • Most assessments (aside from workplace observations and similar) must take place in a controlled environment. For interviews and professional discussions, apprentices should arrange to be alone in a quiet room, free from distraction and influence.
  • Remote assessments are undertaken using video conferencing software. When apprentices receive the EPA confirmation email, they should test the software given and ensure that there are no firewalls blocking access to the programme and its functions (including screen share and the chat box). If there are any issues with using the specified software, please notify admin@1stforepa.co.uk as soon as possible and we will offer an alternative.

8. After assessment

When your apprentice gets their results, take time to celebrate them! Completing their apprenticeship is a massive achievement and something they should be congratulated on. Many employers use the EPA period or completion as a time to discuss progression opportunities or possibly a promotion. Whatever you decide, mark this occasion and show your apprentice their hard work is appreciated.

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