The new end-point assessment (EPA) is one of the biggest changes in the new apprenticeship reforms. 

Instead of being assessed continually throughout their course, all apprentices will now have to complete an end-point assessment to complete their qualification. The EPA is designed to test whether each apprentice has gained the skills, knowledge and behaviours outlined in the standard, and grade each learner according to their performance.

How will the EPA work?

When an apprentice is ready to take the EPA, their employer will put them forward for the assessment. Each EPA is different, so the requirements for each assessment are laid out in the apprenticeship standard.

All EPAs must follow these rules:

  • They must be delivered by an independent end-point assessment provider with no affiliation to the employer or training provider involved in the apprenticeship.
  • All end-point assessment providers must be approved by the SFA before being added to the Register of Apprentice Assessment Organisations (RoAAO).
  • When an employer takes on an apprentice, they can select the EPA provider from the register and then confirm their selection with their training provider.
  • Most EPAs will be graded.
  • The apprentice cannot achieve their apprenticeship without passing the end-point assessment.


What will the EPA look like?

The EPA is outlined in the assessment plan for each standard. The assessment plan must explain what’s being assessed, how the apprentice will be assessed, and who will carry out the EPA – as well as indicate the quality assurance measures in place.

The EPA can take a range of forms:

  • Tests
  • Examinations
  • Professional discussions
  • Workplace observations
  • Portfolio of work
  • Assignments
  • Assessment of work output

Download our end-point assessment FAQs

How much will it cost?

The cost of each EPA will vary according to the requirements set out in the standards – such as assessment tools, methods and estimated completion times. However, the EPA is expected to cost between 10-20% of the overall cost of the apprenticeship delivery.

For non-levy payers, the employer will pay one third of the EPA costs and the SFA will pay two thirds. For levy-paying employers, the EPA will be paid for by their levy contributions.


Who will the EPA affect?


The EPA will have a big impact for learners. Many apprentices choose vocational training over an academic course as it aligns with their practical strengths. By making the EPA mandatory for every apprenticeship, some learners may struggle to pass their course and could even be discouraged from applying in the first place.

Others will be motivated by the grading system, encouraging them to work hard to achieve a pass, merit or distinction.


Employers will have to work closely with their training provider to monitor the progression of their apprentices. If learners aren’t prepared for the EPA and fail, employers will be charged extra for retakes. The employer will need to negotiate re-sit fees with their end-point assessment provider. With a digital eportfolio, employers can track their learners’ progression throughout their course, ensuring they’re not scheduled to sit to the EPA before they’re ready.

Training providers 

Training providers will have to collaborate with the EPA provider to ensure their delivery matches the assessment plan outlines in the standard.


Find out how the new apprenticeship reforms will affect you.


What’s next?

In April 2017, the new apprenticeship funding reforms will come into action across England. This means all levy-paying employers will use their DAS account to select a training provider and EPA provider from the respective registers.

By April 2018, all employers will access apprenticeship training through the DAS.

Find out if you’re eligible to pay the levy here.


Want to know more? 

Download our guide to find out how the apprenticeship reforms will affect people across the sector.

Download our guide

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