Today we are looking at End Point Assessments that include a professional discussion.
As an employer you will know at the start of the apprentice’s journey what assessments are needed for the End Point Assessment (EPA) for each of your apprentices. If one of the requirements is a Professional Discussion there are ample opportunities to prepare the apprentice well and thereby supporting them to a successful outcome. The Professional Discussion can best be thought of as a showcase or an interview. The apprentice has the opportunity to let the Independent End Point Assessor (IEPA) know how much they have learnt, how they understand the knowledge skills and behaviours, and how they put these KSBs into practise during their day-to-day work.
Anybody that has had interviews knows that they are a skill in themselves, the more you do, the better you get at them. You become more confident with the whole experience, including talking to a stranger and answering questions, whereas your first interview can often be full of anxiety. The same thing applies to the EPA. Without preparation the apprentice can be left feeling vulnerable and unsure of the process. Here at SS Educational Services, we recommend the employee work with the training provider and carry out some practise Professional Discussions with the apprentice, especially as they approach the EPA. This gives them an insight on what to expect, what depth of answer to give and hopefully means they are more confident.
At SSES we carry out several processes for a Professional Discussion element of an EPA.
Once the apprentice has successfully completed the Gateway requirements and whilst they may be by carrying out another EPA activity e.g., a knowledge test or situational judgement test, one of our IEPA will be looking through the apprentice’s portfolio. They will be looking for areas of strength and areas that could be developed. The IEPA does not second mark or regrade the portfolio, they are using it as a means to learn more about the apprentice and prepare for the EPA. However, should the EPA be concerned about missing evidence within the portfolio this would be communicated to the training provider and action would need to be taken before the Professional Discussion could take place. At SSES we have a bank of generic questions, however most of the questions will before formed from the observation and the portfolio. IEPAs are sector-specific experts and will have many years’ experiences in the standard they are involved in. This ensures that the questions asked and the evidence given is understood by the EPA and the correct grading is awarded the question covered. During the EPA the IEPA will ensure it is a positive experience and the apprentice has the opportunity to showcase everything they have learned during their apprenticeship.