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Three Steps To An Apprenticeship

With the advent of the modern Apprenticeship Standard (as distinct from the Apprenticeship Frameworks, which were ended in July 2020), apprenticeships work a little differently. 

Under the old Frameworks, apprentices were assessed as they progressed through their apprenticeship. The Framework was fundamentally a qualification-based programme, and once an apprentice had been assessed, they were not re-assessed. At the end of a framework, the apprentice should have achieved a competency-based qualification, such as an NVQ, and a technical qualification, such as a BTEC. 

The problem with this system was that an apprentice could complete their apprenticeship, yet still not have the skills an employer needed. 

This all changed with Apprenticeship Standards. Fundamentally, these modern apprenticeships draw heavily upon employer requirements – which is achieved through the trailblazer group. Whilst this is critically important to the credibility of apprenticeships, there have also been major changes in how they are ‘built’. 

An Apprenticeship Standard is made up of three distinct phases: 

  • The practical period  
  • The gateway  
  • The end point assessment (or EPA) 

The Practical Period 

This is basically where all the ‘fun stuff’ happens! An Apprenticeship Standard lists all the things that should be covered during the apprenticeship and is broken down into knowledge, skills and behaviours. 

The practical period forms the bulk of the apprenticeship experience and during this at least 20% of the time must be spent completing off-job-training (OJT). 

The Gateway 

This is a ‘point in time’ moment and is achieved once the apprentice has completed all of the required… 

  • Knowledge, skills and behaviours 
  • Core qualifications (if appropriate) 
  • Maths and / or English components (if needed) 
  • OJT hours 

The training provider, apprentice and the employer must all agree that the apprentice is ready to move on to the next stage. This is agreed with the parties signing the Gateway Declaration Form.

The End Point Assessment (EPA) 

Once the apprentice has gone through gateway, they move on to the EPA. This is an independent assessment of all they have achieved whilst on-programme. This stage can take 3-4 months depending on the awarding organisation and the specific apprenticeship (some apprenticeships in the land-based sector have times during the year where an EPA cannot be carried out). 

The EPA is typically made up of several steps, all of which must be successfully achieved to be awarded the apprenticeship. The EPA may include some, or all, of the following: 

  • A multiple-choice test 
  • A professional discussion 
  • A project 
  • A practical assessment 

In future blog posts, we’ll be looking in more depth at each of these three stages. 

If you wish to discuss apprenticeships in general, or those we offer at Kingston Maurward College, please contact me at  

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