Adapting to the new normal - supporting apprentices through COVID-19

COVID-19 has had a substantial impact on education in recent months. With apprenticeships starting to experience a national decline, some organisations have managed to buck the trend by enrolling and inducting learners remotely so they can begin their learning journey.

EPA Plus has been responding quickly to the changing situation presented by COVID-19 to meet the needs of providers, employers and apprentices, and we’d like to share the results of this.

Keeping end-point assessment on track

To keep end-point assessment accessible and on track, we’ve proactively worked with our regulators to enable flexibilities and expanded our digital solutions introducing proctoring (remote invigilation) so that all assessments can take place remotely.

Over the last three months, we’ve undertaken over 150 proctored assessments and received extremely positive feedback on this in a recent survey. 97% of customers said they would continue to use proctoring after lockdown and almost 80% rated their apprentices’ experience four or five out of five. One of our customers commented that “the proctoring process has allowed us to continue during lockdown. The support we have received has been excellent and the assessor was very professional and understanding.”

Flexible and supportive approach

We recognised the financial impact COVID-19 has had on many organisations and therefore we reduced our prices where flexibilities have been applied and extended our payment terms to support customers through this uncertain time.

Although we’re working remotely, our customer service still remains first class. We’ve been getting in touch with our customers with apprentices approaching EPA to offer our support.

Not only have we been sharing clear guidance and updates on EPA flexibilities and the rapidly changing situation as soon as we have it, we’ve been joined by over 1,000 attendees at our weekly check-in webinars. One of customers stated “the check in webinars are very relevant and I really enjoy them. I feel that the information provided is clear and delivered in an easy to understand manner.”

What does it mean for the future?

We welcome the Government’s recent announcement that they will be giving businesses £2,000 for each new apprentice they hire under the age of 25, on top of the existing £1,000 payment provided to 16-18 year olds apprentices and those aged under 25 with an Education, Health and Care Plan. The support for apprentices to start their apprenticeship remotely is undoubtedly needed now more than ever and at EPA Plus, we’re looking forward to continuing to play our part on the road to recovery.

For further information on our EPA standards visit our end-point assessment webpage.

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