End-point assessment (EPA) is the final stage of an apprenticeship. It is an impartial assessment of whether your apprentice has developed the skills, knowledge and behaviours outlined in the apprenticeship standard.
Assessments are designed by employers in the sector and are conducted by independent bodies known as end-point assessment organisations (EPAOs).
It's important that you select an EPAO as early into the apprenticeship as possible, either directly or through your training provider, to ensure that your apprentice fully understands the assessment criteria and how they will be assessed.
As well as successfully completing the EPA, your apprentice may need to complete, and pass, several additional requirements before completion of the apprenticeship. This might include mandatory English and maths qualifications.
Once all elements of the apprenticeship are completed, the apprentice will receive their apprenticeship certificate.
Finding the right end-point assessment organisation
An EPAO is separate from the employer and training provider to ensure that the assessment remains impartial.
You can search for an EPAO using the online tool 'Find an end-point assessment organisation for your apprentice.'
You must decide which EPAO will conduct the assessment, however you can seek advice from your training provider about which EPAO would be the best fit.
If the apprentice is completing an integrated degree apprenticeship, the apprentice's higher education institute will be the training provider and EPAO. The assessor will be independent to the training delivered, ensuring impartial assessment.
Levy employers will use their apprenticeship levy funds to cover assessment costs.
Non-levy employers are able to access funding to cover their assessment costs (up to the funding band maximum).
You can negotiate a price with the EPAO for the assessment. It is expected that the cost of the assessment will not usually exceed 20% of the funding band maximum for the apprenticeship.
Each apprenticeship includes an end-point assessment plan which describes how the apprentice should be tested against the appropriate criteria, using suitable methods. For example, you apprentice may need to complete:
- a practical assessment
- an interview
- a project
- written and/or multiple choice tests
- a presentation
It is important that you engage with your EPAO at the start of the apprenticeship to understand how your apprentice will be assessed.
Preparing for the assessment
To ensure that your apprentice has plenty of time to prepare, you should:
- ensure your apprentice knows who their EPAO is
- ensure your apprentice engages with their EPAO to understand what is expected of them
- work with the training provider to develop mock assessments
- discuss assessment preparation with your apprentice during review meetings
- provide study leave and support for assignments
- set out targets that are clearly linked to the assessment requirements
- provide feedback on formative assignments
- ensure that reasonable adjustments are put in place for the assessment, where required. You can get advice in our guidance for reasonable adjustments.
You can read our best practice guide for further information on how to support your apprentice through the end-point assessment.
After the assessment
If your apprentice successfully completes their apprenticeship and passes their assessment, they'll be awarded with a certificate. The EPAO will request the certificate on your behalf.
For some apprenticeships, passing the EPA and completing the apprenticeship will also lead to professional recognition by an authorised body.
Consider how you can celebrate your apprentice's success, for example, you could nominate them for a national apprenticeship award.
If your apprentice fails one of more components of the end-point assessment they will be offered the opportunity to take a resit or retake.
Following the failure of the assessment, you and your training provider should consider a supportive action plan that responds to the feedback provided by the assessor.
A resit cannot be taken with the intention to increase the grade if the apprentice passes the assessment.