FIS has been developing End Point Assessment (EPA) test materials for the Interior Systems Installer apprenticeship.
The Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education (IfATE) writes the apprenticeship standard, which defines the training programme and the end of training assessment plan https://www.instituteforapprenticeships.org/apprenticeship-standards/interior-systems-installer-v1-0
All apprentices must take an independent assessment at the end of their training to confirm that they have achieved occupational competence. Rigorous, robust and independent EPA is essential to give employers confidence that apprentices can perform in the occupation they have been trained in and can demonstrate the duties, knowledge, skills and behaviours set out in the occupational standard.
The Interior Systems Installer apprenticeship comprises core training (including equality and diversity, interpretation of drawings and health and safety) that must be undertaken by all students, and two ‘specialisms’ to choose from; drylining or ceilings and partitions.
When employers feel that their apprentices are ready for their EPA, they have to find an organisation registered on the Government’s website (https://www.gov.uk/guidance/register-of-end-point-assessment-organisations) that offers independent assessment. Dave Hall is the Training Partnerships Director for British Gypsum, and last year, he worked with FIS and CITB to find a company on that list that had relevant test materials in place for EPAs, and established that the NOCN Group, an educational charity, was best placed to deliver the EPA for the Interior Systems Installer apprenticeship.
A small group of occupational experts, including Steve Sugden from NOCN, came together to form the EPA Development Group and initially met in January this year. Steve (who has since been replaced by Sharon Street) outlined the scope of work to the group and Dave Hall provided drawings and material lists. Sharon Street rapidly ensured that the tests match the regulatory authorities’ (IfATE, the External Quality Assurance organisation and the Office of the Qualifications Examinations Regulators) requirements.
One of the biggest headaches for the group was to establish the multiple-choice questions. They needed 345 to cater for any resits in the core course and the two options of the apprenticeship, and this task was undertaken by NOCN. This allowed the Development Group to focus on the practical requirements and it became apparent that the practical test materials would need to be piloted. Dan Russell of the Construction EPA Centre offered their facilities for the piloting of both options and Rikki Wild of Measom Dryline Ltd offered the use of their training facilities to test the practical part of the dry lining option if necessary.
Dave Hall (British Gypsum) pledged to support the dry lining pilot by providing materials and Joe Cilia (FIS Technical Director) promised to source drawings and material support for the ceiling and partition option. Komfort Partitioning also offered to secure and deliver necessary materials.
The Risk Assessments and Method Statements (RAMS) for the EPA tasks were drafted by Billy Harris (Roseville Contracts Ltd) and these were checked by Paul Leach of Strotford Interiors UK Ltd, and Rikki Wild. NOCN have since adopted the inclusion of RAMS in all their construction apprenticeship EPA test materials.
Once the Development Group deemed all materials ready, Dave Hall was appointed as the pilot EPA assessor and the call went out to find an apprentice to test the materials out. Errigal Contracts Ltd offered their recently qualified apprentice, Brendan Duddy, who is representing the UK in dry lining at construction WorldSkills. Once Brendan’s EPA was complete, the results were reported to NOCN and the test materials were adjusted where necessary.
Time Limit Interiors supplied a pilot ceilings and partitions apprentice, Joe Burton, with his technical chaperone, Martin Hall, and also provided required materials.
After this collaboration between 11 organisations, the test materials for the core and both options will soon be ready for use, so when employers register apprentices as ready for EPA, a preparation pack will be sent to them by NOCN.