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Who are the key participants in an apprenticeship and what are their roles?

An apprenticeship combines on-the-job training with classroom learning and involves a number of key stakeholders – these are the employer, the learner or apprentice and the training provider. Each has a vital role to play in the apprenticeship journey and can have a significant impact on whether the apprentice completes and achieves qualification. This article explores the significance and obligations of each participant and describes how they can impact the End-Point Assessment (EPA).

Series of jigsaw pieces connecting different functions and job roles
Key participants in an apprenticeship and their job roles

The role of the employer in apprenticeship delivery

Apprenticeships provide employers with an opportunity to grow their own talent and develop staff, so they have the skills needed by the business.

Aside from selecting a training provider and negotiating the cost of training, there are a number of obligations an employer has that can impact the outcome of an apprenticeship:

  1. An employer must establish they have the time and resources available to support the apprentice and can provide the right work experience so the learner can put their training into practice in the workplace.

  2. The apprentice will need to attend formal training delivered by an approved training provider and the employer must ensure that at least 20% of the apprentice’s time is spent on ‘off-the-job’ activities.

  3. The employer must provide the apprentice with a contract of employment and an apprenticeship agreement for the duration of the apprenticeship.

  4. The employer should take part in regular apprentice reviews so that they can monitor learner progress and identify any issues or extra support requirements.

  5. The employer is responsible for selecting the End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) and may be required to pay for additional Assessments should the apprentice fail first time. It is therefore essential that the employer, apprentice and training provider all agree that the learner is ready.

An employer who takes its obligations seriously and puts the right support in place is much more likely to retain talent, make timely decisions about EPA, avoid costly retakes and see a return on their investment in apprenticeship training.

What is the role of the apprenticeship training provider?

An apprenticeship training provider is an organisation that has been approved to deliver apprenticeship training. A training provider can be a college, a university, an independent training provider or an employer and must undergo an application and approval process before they can begin teaching apprentices the knowledge, skills and behaviours set out in the apprenticeship standards.

You can access the register of apprenticeship training providers here:

As well as ensuring the apprentice is eligible and has the required entry qualifications for the apprenticeship, the training provider must also deliver the off-the-job practical training required to complete EPA.

In addition to this, the training provider has a number of other responsibilities which include:

  1. Carrying out a thorough initial assessment to ensure the learner is a good match for the apprenticeship standard.

  2. Developing a detailed training program that meets the needs of the learner and the employer, agreeing the duration of the practical training period, and negotiating the cost of training with the employer.

  3. Delivering the training to develop the knowledge skills and behaviours outlined in the apprenticeship standard.

  4. Delivering maths and English (functional skills) where required.

  5. Carrying out regular progress reviews and ongoing assessments so that they can monitor learner progress and identify any issues or specific support requirements.

  6. Preparing the learner for EPA.

  7. Supporting the employer’s choice of EPAO.

Apprenticeship training providers are responsible for the safeguarding of learners and are expected to deliver high quality apprenticeship training that complies with apprenticeship funding rules. In order to claim funding to deliver apprenticeship training, main providers and employer providers will also need to submit accurate monthly ILR return data to the Education Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).

A training provider that delivers quality apprenticeship programmes that support the needs of the employer and the learner is much more likely to achieve timely completion and enjoy a higher achievement rate.

What are the responsibilities of a learner in an apprenticeship?

An apprenticeship, depending on the level, will usually last between one and six years and therefore requires a high level of commitment from the learner.

During that time, the learner is required to attend training, undertake any work set for them in a timely manner and engage in maths and English (functional skills) training if required. They must keep track of their off-the-job training hours, attend regular reviews with their employer and / or training provider and behave in a responsible manner in line with the requirements of health and safety, safeguarding, Prevent and equality and diversity legislation.

They must be responsible for their own learning and development and work to the best of their abilities at all times.

At the end of the period of practical training and before the qualification can be awarded, the learner will be put forward for EPA where they will be required to prove that they have developed the necessary knowledge, skills and behaviours.

Are there any shared responsibilities?

Before apprenticeship training starts, the learner, the employer and the training provider must sign and date the commitment statement which sets out how the parties will support the achievement of the apprenticeship. This is an important document that must be kept up to date throughout the apprenticeship and reflect any changes made in real time.

Clearly, all parties should work together to ensure the learner is getting the required training and the right experience in the workplace to support their development.

At the end of the period of practical training, all three parties must agree that the learner is ready and can demonstrate competence before they are put through the Gateway for EPA.

What is End-Point Assessment (EPA)?

EPA is the process a learner goes through at the end of their apprenticeship to determine whether or not they will be awarded the qualification and at what grade. Whether a learner achieves qualification is decided by the EPAO.

The EPAO is an impartial organisation, distinct from the training provider, approved to conduct the independent EPA of apprentices. The employer is responsible for selecting the EPAO and they must be listed on the register.

There may be multiple EPAO’s offering end-point assessment for an apprenticeship standard. Whilst the process and procedures for EPA may vary from one EPAO to another, they will be designed around the brief set out in the standard and assessment plan listed on the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) website which you can access here:

The selected EPAO should provide guidance on the process and expectations at EPA, validate the readiness of the learner for EPA and grade the apprentice’s assessments. As well as giving confirmation of achievement on completion, the EPAO is also responsible for claiming the apprenticeship certificate from the ESFA.

Pulling it all together

Every apprenticeship journey is different and in order to deliver quality, engaging programmes that achieve results and demonstrate a return on investment, employers and training providers must work together to support the needs of individual apprentices. Every apprentice experience will be unique and there isn’t a one size fits all approach.

And in order to ensure they have the best possible chance of completing an apprenticeship and achieving qualification, learners must engage in and take ownership of their training.

Technology has a significant role to play in bringing all of the different parties together in a single space where they can collaborate and work together to achieve the best outcomes.

Rubitek Core is a complete, cloud-based apprenticeship management platform with a real time interface for employers, training providers and learners. It is the only system designed with apprentice completion at its core.

With Rubitek Core, employers, providers and learners can evidence their commitment to apprenticeships and together make intelligent end-point assessment decisions.

To find out more about Rubitek Core and how it can support your apprenticeships, get in touch or call us today on +44 (0) 330 133 0540

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