How does end-point assessment work?

When an apprentice reaches the end of their training, the employer (supported by the training provider) will make the decision on whether or not the apprentice is ready to take the EPA – this decision process or stage is known as the “gateway”.

Key points to note include:

  • an apprentice can’t complete and achieve their apprenticeship without passing the end-point assessment
  • the registered assessment organisation and the assessor must be independent of and separate from the training provider and the employer
  • the EPA organisation must be approved on the SFA’s register of apprenticeship assessment organisations
  • EPA is separate to any qualifications or other assessment an apprentice may undertake during training. 

While the majority of assessments will be graded, it’s important to note that some exemptions may apply, subject to agreement being given during the approval process. A grading system has many advantages for employers, enabling them to distinguish between pass, merit and distinction candidates whilst also motivating learners to aim high.

Assessment plans 

The manner of conducting end-point assessments is developed and outlined by each Trailblazer group once the standard has been approved. In devising chosen criteria, employers decide how to test for occupational competence within their specific industry – a key milestone for apprenticeships. 

The EPA doesn’t have to cover every aspect of the standard; instead, it’s designed to be holistic – evaluating the KSBs that should be met over the duration of the apprenticeship.

While Trailblazer groups are free to select a range of methods – such as examinations, interviews, observations at work and professional assignments– the assessment plan must achieve four things:

  1. Explain what will be assessed – i.e. the skills, knowledge and behaviours listed within the standard.
  2. Explain how the apprentice will be assessed, outlining the proposed methods.
  3. Indicate who’ll carry out the assessment and who’ll make the final decision on competency and grading.
  4. Propose external quality assurance measures – to ensure the assessment is reliable and consistent across different locations, assessment organisations and apprentices.

Contact Us

Contact our EPA team for advice, guidance or to discuss your particular requirements on 0191 2408950 or email