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Key worker apprenticeship success shows determination and commitment

Apprentices working in health and social care, childcare and dental care are enjoying great success with their apprenticeships. They have had some fabulous achievements in their End Point Assessments (EPAs), even though they have been under enormous pressure as key workers recently.

Apprentice developing the skills she needs to work in care
An apprentice developing the skills she needs to work in care

All apprentices in these sectors who have taken an EPA have passed and 73% have achieved a merit or distinction. Every teaching assistant apprentice to go through an EPA since September 2020 has achieved a distinction.

Apprentices on a range of health and care standards take end point assessments to complete their apprenticeships. This helps them to demonstrate they have developed the knowledge, skills and behaviours needed to be occupationally competent. This is a fairly new way of assessing the vocational qualifications and is designed by employers.

Learning and Development Apprenticeship

Claire Parkinson, team leader for our health and care apprenticeship team told us how proud she was of the apprentices and the tutor team. We asked her to tell us more about the EPA system.

Why do these results stand out to you?

“For apprentices to be achieving like this when they are key workers, working in difficult circumstances, it is a real testament to them and the tutors who have supported them. I am really proud of the tutors for helping our apprentices achieve.

We have been through a lot of change, not to mention the difficulties of working in a sector so affected by Covid. EPAs are fairly new to the tutor team, and to apprentices who may have progressed from the old style of assessment. Therefore, these results demonstrate we have all adapted well to the new system.

When any of my students achieves I am so pleased. I feel like I have achieved it myself because I am so proud of them and can see the journey they have been on.

One of my students achieved a distinction recently after having to withdraw from the process twice for personal reasons. It was extra special to know she had persevered and proved what she was capable of.”

What are the benefits of an EPA?

“The benefits of the EPA system is that it demonstrates to the employer that the learner has the knowledge, skills and behaviours that is expected in an apprenticeship standard. An EPA is independently assessed so it gives employers reassurance that the apprenticeship programme has been effective.

The beauty of the professional judgement is that apprentices can reflect on how they carry out their role in line with the criteria of the standard. That gives students a sense of empowerment that they are good at what they do and they can communicate it. It gives them an overall sense of achievement too.”

dental nurse

How have apprentices coped with the new style of assessment?

“Tutors work hard to encourage apprentices to develop the skills and the confidence to complete the EPA. Some learners who choose a vocational qualification might struggle with the concept of being assessed in this way. However, we work with them throughout their apprenticeship to make sure they are ready and capable of completing the assessment. We do a lot of mock assessments including professional discussions and situational judgement tests. We work closely with our LEAP mentors to support students to help them be successful.”

How do employers celebrate the success of their apprentices?

“Each employer has a different way of celebrating the achievements of apprentices. I think one example that stands out to me is how the head of training at one of the care employers we work with sends a message of congratulations to each apprentice who passes their EPA. The apprentices really value that. They tell us it gives them a boost when their achievements are recognised by the organisation in that way.”