What to expect from a Professional Discussion

What is a professional discussion in end point assessment?

A Professional Discussion provides an opportunity for an assessor to gather further information regarding the apprentice’s understanding and knowledge. This method is used when assessing more complex tasks with a requirement to provide in-depth knowledge across a number of assessment criteria. Professional Discussions are useful in end point assessment (EPA) as they determine not only how a candidate is performing, but also their analytical and decision-making abilities.

A Professional Discussion is a conversation rather than a question and answer session. The Assessor will ask questions but the expectation is that the apprentice leads the discussion.

The role of the Assessor in the Professional Discussion

The role of the Assessor is:

  • To introduce the Professional Discussion and manage the process to allow the apprentice to prove their knowledge, skills and behaviours in a supported environment.
  • To focus the discussion on the key elements from the assessment criteria. They will move the discussion on when they have heard enough.
  • To record the main points the apprentice makes. This will be referenced against the relevant assessment criteria to support the assessment and quality assurance
  • To keep the discussion moving forward and give the apprentice chance to cover all assessment criteria.
    Hint: Apprentices should take note of what the assessor says and when it’s time to move onto the next topic of discussion.
  • To conclude and explain what happens next.

The apprentice’s role in the Professional Discussion

At the beginning of the discussion the assessor is likely to be doing most of the talking. There will then be a gradual ‘handing over’ to allow the apprentice to enter into a full discussion where they have the opportunity to do most of the talking.

Remember: The assessor will not constantly direct and lead the conversation. It is the apprentice’s responsibility to take the lead in demonstrating how they meet the assessment criteria.

How is the Professional Discussion carried out?

1 st for EPA works remotely, meaning we can work with apprentices across England. We carry out the Professional Discussion via video call.

Apprentices will need to have access to:

  • A quiet room where they won’t be disturbed
  • A computer with webcam and internet connection
  • A microphone if possible, or else a telephone can be used

The call will be recorded for quality assurance and in accordance with our internal verification (IV) policy.

Important: Apprentices must bring photographic ID to verify their identity.


1st for EPA provides full guidance on what to expect and how to prepare for a Professional Discussion. This forms part of the Apprentice Toolkit, available to apprentices who are registered with us.

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