The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education’s chief executive Jennifer Coupland has revealed apprenticeship end point assessment (EPA) flexibilities will be extended until at least March 2021. EPAs usually involve face-to-face interaction during the process, however during lockdown, this has not been possible.

The EPA flexibilities were introduced to 132 apprenticeship standards since the original lockdown in March 20, following an announcement that the measures would remain in place until January 2021.

Although the flexibilities vary dependant on the standard, options include using technology to conduct observations, having professional discussions remotely or reordering assessment methods so that written tests or discussions can be taken now but observed later.

Coupland said she understands that businesses can not run as usual as many temporarily close, however training can continue, explaining: “We would expect that providers will work as closely as possible with employers to make sure that apprentices who are on their programmes can continue to advance their off-the-job training during the month of lockdown and hopefully progress if they’re about to take an end-point assessment”.

Reports of around 25,000 apprenticeships have managed to complete their course during lockdown, with the EPA flexibilities allowing for this. Coupland also reassured those listening that the quality of the EPAs has remained a priority and is being protected despite the changes.

The institute is said to review this timeframe again in March 2021.

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