What is an EPAO?
13 April 2022
If you’re new to apprenticeships, then you’ve probably heard the term EPAO or assessment organisation being used and are now looking to find out more.
What is an EPAO?
There are currently around 250 EPAOs or end-point assessment organisations registered in the UK. They design, manage and undertake the end-point assessment (EPA) of apprentices and are responsible for setting the final grade.
How are they regulated?
Ofqual are in the process of taking over the external quality assurance of end-point assessment organisations from the Institute for Apprenticeship and Technical Education for all apprenticeship standards except degree apprenticeships. A full list of registered EPAOs can be found on the Education and Skills Funding Agency website.
Do EPAOs deliver assessments for the same standards?
EPAOs decide which occupational standards they want to assess with many choosing to specialise in a specific industrial sector or occupation. AIM Assessment is embedded in the creative industries and can accurately contextualise ‘general’ standards for this specialist sector. For example, AIM Assessment brought Data Technician into its portfolio in response to a request from the BBC who were running a programme for journalists ‘Data Driven Journalism.’
Over the last five years AIM Assessment has built a portfolio of 25 assessed standards and has another nine standards planned, making it the authoritative EPAO in the creative industries.
Who chooses the EPAO?
The final decision on which EPAO is used is ultimately the employer’s decision. Often this is done in consultation with the training provider who will recommend the EPAO that is the best fit for them, their apprentice and the job role/standard. It is important to note that an EPAO must operate independently from the employer and the training provider.
How to choose an EPAO
There are a few key things to consider when choosing an EPAO:
- Check they are registered
- Do they have experience of working in your industry?
- Do they provide assessments for occupational standards that suit your needs?
- Are they independent from the training provider and the employing organisation?
- Are they right for you - will they offer advice, guidance and support for you, the apprentice and the training provider throughout the process?
If you are looking for an EPAO specialising in the creative, cultural and professional services industries then take a look at the AIM Assessment website. If you are unsure which standard is relevant to you and your apprentices, please contact the specialist EPA team at AIM.
Many apprenticeships fail because the apprentice is on the wrong standard so talk to an expert as soon as you plan to take on an apprentice.
A full list of the standards assessed by AIM Assessment can be found on the AIM website. We recommend that you download the free employer guides, for a better understanding of the role and the assessment process for each standard.
Advice and support
Contact the AIM Assessment team who will be happy to talk you.