2020/21 was a difficult year for apprentices, with learning programmes interrupted and workplaces closed at short notice. With the pandemic in retreat in 2021, apprentices can look forward to resuming their training and undertaking assessments, before embarking on their chosen career paths.
The 2021/22 academic year will see some changes to End-Point Assessments (EPAs), so it’s worth being abreast of any developments so you can plan in advance:
The Lasting Effects Of Covid-19
Even though the pandemic in the UK has dramatically improved in recent months, the effects of lockdowns will persist for some time – particularly as Covid-19 struck just as numbers for the End-Point Assessments were beginning to increase. Approximately 30,000 apprentices, particularly in health and social care, are yet to complete their English and maths functional skills tests, so a backlog remains from 2020. In the months ahead, steps will have to be taken to help apprentices finish their training and commence employment.
New Approaches To Assessments
In response to the turbulence of the pandemic, many End-Point Assessment Organisations (EPAOs) sensibly implemented measures with External Quality Assurers to adapt EPAs for the ‘new normal’. By working creatively within the regulatory requirements, EPAOs were able to ensure that the maximum number of apprentices could complete their assessments.
Investing in digital platforms is one proactive step that can be taken. Software such as EPAPro enables a streamlined approach to assessments, allowing easy data exchange between stakeholders and improving visibility throughout the process. With integrated communication tools, it is easier to deliver learning programmes flexibly and facilitate assessments in remote settings, particularly if further restrictions make in-person assessments difficult.
Next Steps In 2021
Continuing to innovate technologically will be key to driving End-Point Assessment processes forward. Technology should be used to introduce flexibility into learning and assessment, without affecting quality or compliance. This will help maintain rigorously high standards while future-proofing the sector against disruptions should they occur again.
EPA software should aim for:
- EPAs to be conducted remotely if needed.
- EPA exams online to become an option should circumstances justify.
- Reduced costs in delivering EPA.
- Increased speed of bookings.
- Greater flexibility for apprentices and employers.
- More visible information sharing between key stakeholders in the EPA process.
EPA software should also deliver more effective, higher quality feedback. This will improve the quality of apprenticeship training and provide employers with more incisive information about their employees that forms the basis for future CPD.
Migrating To EPAPro In 2021
If you’re ready to embrace a new way of delivering EPA in 2021/22, speak to us at Skilltech Solutions about EPAPro. Simply contact us here and we’ll arrange a free no-obligation demonstration of our EPA software so you can see how it could transform your assessment process.