Qualifications regulator Ofqual it consulting on the conditions, guidance and requirements for the apprenticeship end-point assessments it regulates.
The introduction of standards-based apprenticeships in England, led by the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA), will require apprentices to complete an assessment at the end of their training. The assessment could, for example, take the form of conducting certain tasks, an interview or completing a multiple-choice test.
‘Removing unnecessary rules’
To make sure each end-point assessment is of the required standard, it must be subject to external quality assurance, with four possible providers for this quality assurance: the IfA, Ofqual, professional bodies or employer groups.
Where Ofqual is involved, the body will regulate the endpoint assessment against its General Conditions of Recognition in the same way it does for other qualifications. However, Ofqual’s chief regulator Sally Collier proposes making some changes to their requirements: “This will make sure we can take account of the specific way that end-point assessments are delivered, by removing unnecessary rules, providing bespoke guidance, and ensuring the rules that we apply are appropriate,” she said.
Ofqual ‘should be primary custodian’
The Association of Employment and Learning Providers (AELP) chief policy officer Simon Ashworth said it is encouraging to see Ofqual being proactive about their planned approach.
“Especially when there are still many unanswered questions around external quality assurance of end-point assessment with many new and inexperienced organisations taking on responsibility for some standards and arrangements – and approaches to quality assurance for some of these being far from clear,” Mr Ashworth added.
“We need a system that is robust and this is why AELP has long said that Ofqual should be the primary custodian of quality assurance for apprenticeships.”
Ailin O’Cathain, head of policy at the Federation of Awarding Bodies, said the federation believes that the quality of EPA is crucial to the ongoing success of apprenticeships, adding: "We therefore welcome the work Ofqual has undertaken to ensure its requirements are fit for purpose for the end point assessments that it quality assures. The federation will work with our members over the coming weeks to consider the consultation in detail with a view to providing a response that not only reflects the views of our members but also aims to make a useful contribution to the approach Ofqual adopts in this important area”.
The consultation closes on 4 May at 5pm and can be completed online here.