Many people like the idea of giving back by transferring their skills, knowledge and experience to the education sector – but are often put off by having to commit to lengthy and complicated retraining process. Going back to college full time to study for a teaching qualification later in your career can feel counter-productive, especially when you already have extensive experience training colleagues within your industry.

Luckily, there’s now a new route into a career in education – becoming an End-Point Assessor (EPA) – and you might not even need a teaching qualification to get started. Sound good? Then read on…

What is end-point assessment?

Created as part of the new apprenticeship standards, an end-point assessment is an independent assessment of an apprentice’s competency by testing their skills, knowledge and behaviours against those identified in the specific standard for their subject area.

This assessment is intended to be a full assessment of the competency of the apprentice in their role – not their ability to pass a unit or exam, but rather provide certification that they are qualified to undertake their role in full.

The end-point assessment does not form part of the training programme and must be undertaken by an independent, external end-point assessor who has not had prior contact with the apprentice. This has been introduced to make the awarding process truly impartial, minimising bias during the assessment process.

Where do end-point assessors work?

There are a variety of employment opportunities for end-point assessors, including:

  • Direct employment by an End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO)
  • Employed by an independent training provider offering added value services
  • Employed within the sector offering added value services
  • Working freelance offering assessment services independently

Whichever route you choose, you would be travelling to assess apprentices within their workplace or on-site at an education provider. Most EPAs have a specific patch that they cover, as well as much of the work being done remotely.

What experience, skills and qualifications does an end-point assessor need?

Experience in your industry

Having ‘occupational credibility’ is a key part of the EPA role – so you need to have recognisable, recent and relevant links to the industry being assessed, usually within the last 12 months and for a minimum of 35 hours. If you are still practicing your specialism within industry, this is ideal – you may even be able to undertake end-point assessing alongside your current role!

  • Occupational competence – you should have extensive industry experience in your industry specialism and be able to recognise this in others
  • Hands-on experience at or above the level being assessed (so if you’re assessing level 3 apprentices, you should have worked in industry at level 3 or above beforehand)
Experience training others

You’ll also need to have had prior experience training others – so if you’ve trained apprentices, supported junior colleagues in learning the ropes, or provided training to other people within your organisation, you could be a great fit for a role as an EPA.

Prior experience assessing apprentices or possessing an assessing qualification are advantageous, however many employers don’t require this, and some will even offer to support you undertaking relevant qualifications while on the job.

You should be able to demonstrate the following skills:

  • Ability to make sound, unbiased judgements of competency
  • Confidence in delivering appropriate feedback
  • Awareness of health and safety
Organisation, integrity and adaptability

End-point assessing is still a new form of assessment within apprenticeships, so you must be organised, skilled at solving problems, and committed to continue learning and developing your skills. The responsibility for an apprentice’s final grade also lies with you – so you must ensure you are objective, honest, and realistic at all times.

You should be confident in:

  • Time management and organisation
  • Writing and reporting on apprentices’ skills and competency
  • Contingency planning and adaptability
  • Treating apprentices fairly and grading with honesty and integrity

You should also be self-motivated and committed to undertaking ongoing CPD – both within your industry and within assessing.

Desirable – but not essential

The following skills and experience would put you at an advantage, but rest assured not all EPA employers require these.

  • Suitable assessment qualification – e.g. TAQA, A1, D32/33
  • Previous experience of assessing
  • Evidence of recent and relevant CPD in both your industry specialism and within assessment
  • Recent enhanced DBS certificate (all Protocol candidates can apply for one through us!)
  • Knowledge of Prevent and Safeguarding
  • Willingness to travel independently (e.g. access to own car)
  • Grading skills (such as in BTEC qualifications)
  • Knowledge of standards and assessment plans
  • Experience setting, designing and explaining assessment tasks

Can I take a qualification in end-point assessment?

Yes you can! The Strategic Development Network offer the Highfields Level 3 Award in Undertaking End-Point Assessment – this is a blended learning course for qualified assessors.

To find out about upcoming courses, visit the SDN Events page.

Registered Protocol candidates benefit from an exclusive discount on this course – contact us to find out more.

How can I get started?!

If becoming an end-point assessor sounds like it’s for you – then we’re here to help.

Protocol’s specialist Skills & Training Team work with end-point assessment organisations and training providers across the UK, and we can help support you in finding your next role.

We’re especially keen to hear from individuals in the following specialisms:
  • Insurance/Investment
  • Banking
  • Equine
  • Property Maintenance
  • Steel Fixing and other construction specialisms
  • Mechanical Operations Engineering
  • Expert Chefs
  • Creative/Digital – especially Junior Content Producers
  • Project Management
  • Lab Technicians (Food, soil)
  • Retail Managers qualified to level 5

To find out about our current EPA vacancies, have a look at our job search.

To be notified of future vacancies, as well as access exclusive training and resources through our CPD portal Learning Zone, simply register with us today – it’s free!

This article was written by Alessandra Metcalf, Marketing Co-ordinator at Protocol.

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