Roles and responsibilities for apprenticeship gateway and resits for end-point assessment
This guidance explains the apprenticeship gateway and resits process and the roles and responsibilities for:
- apprenticeship training providers (training providers)
- end-point assessment organisations (EPAOs)
End-point assessment (EPA) tests the knowledge, skills and behaviours that an apprentice has gained during their training. Unique to each standard, EPA demonstrates the competence of an apprentice in their role. This competence is valued by current and future employers.
You can find EPA plans on the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education’s (the Institute) website. Only approved EPAOs can carry out assessments as set out in the assessment plan.
Gateway takes place before an EPA can start. The employer and training provider will review their apprentice’s knowledge, skills and behaviours to see if they have met the minimum requirements of the apprenticeship set out in the apprenticeship standard, and are ready to take the assessment.
To meet the minimum requirements set out in the apprenticeship standard an apprentice needs to:
- display occupational competency
- have evidence of or pass functional skill levels in English and maths
- complete mandatory training
- take any qualifications set out in the standard
- meet the minimum duration for their apprenticeship training
Only apprentices who complete Gateway successfully can start the EPA.
Resits and retakes
Apprentices who fail one or more assessment method will be offered the opportunity to take a resit or a retake.
When the result notification recommends a re-take, the employer and training provider should consider a supportive action plan that responds to the weaknesses identified from the original EPA result notification.
The action plan should clearly state the nature and extent of the re-training and include the estimated time to prepare the apprentices for the re-take. The timescales and fee for a retake must be agreed between the employer and EPAO.
A resit involves the apprentice sitting one or more failed assessment components again, without the need to undertake further training.
Following failure of EPA, the EPAO will provide a result statement showing the assessment components the apprentice has failed and that no further training is needed. Some EPA plans set out specific criteria for resits which need to be followed.
A resit cannot be taken with the intention of increasing the original grade if an apprentice has passed their EPA. Resits are only to be taken in the event of a failure.
Who is responsible for resit costs?
The employer has responsibility for the majority of their apprentice’s training. Employers are expected to financially support apprentices until completion, including paying the cost of resits, when necessary. Resits are ineligible costs and are not funded by the ESFA.
The EPAO and training provider are not responsible for resit costs but may agree to contribute and can include this in their agreement at the beginning of the apprenticeship.
For example, a training provider may contribute to the cost of a resit if the apprentice fails a theoretical element of the training. An EPAO may offer one or more resits in the initial contract price.
The number of resits that can be taken by an apprentice will be at the discretion of their employer, unless the assessment plan limits this to one.
The ESFA recommends a limit of two resits, however more than two resits can be taken if needed, unless otherwise specificed in the assessment plan.
Apprentices cannot be asked to pay for costs of training and assessment and are not responsible for resit costs.
It is recommended that employers, training providers and EPAOs agree how any resits will be paid for at the beginning of their contract. Employers and training providers should also agree in advance who will pay for resits not included in their contract.
Employer role and responsibilities
EPA is a vital part of an apprenticeship and should be planned for at the start of an apprenticeship programme. The apprenticeship funding rules explain how EPA is funded. Employers are responsible for deciding when their apprentices are ready to pass through gateway and take EPA. To support their understanding of EPA and to inform their gateway decisions employers should:
choose an EPAO at the same time as choosing a training provider, (training providers may do this on behalf of employers if they have been given permission)
choose the correct EPAO for registered professions
agree a gateway date at the beginning of the apprenticeship, or at least three months before the apprentice is expected to be ready for EPA - share this date with the training provider and apprentice
tell the apprentice about EPA at the start of the programme, so that they are aware of all requirements
inform the EPAO of planned gateway and EPA dates at least three months in advance to give them enough time to prepare
make the EPAO aware of any additional needs of the apprentice so that they can make reasonable adjustments
check the dates that the apprentice will sit other qualifications in the apprenticeship standard early on - mandatory qualifications need to have been completed in advance of gateway
hold regular reviews throughout training with the training provider and the apprentice to assess their progression against the assessment plan and familiarise apprentices with assessment methods; this way the apprentice can be passed through gateway at the correct time
actively engage with the chosen EPAO from the beginning of the apprenticeship, making good use of the materials they provide to prepare the apprentice
keep everyone (apprentice, provider and EPAO) up to date on any changes to the original plans for gateway and EPA
take into account and plan around factors that might reduce the apprentice’s EPA window, for example annual leave, so that the apprentice is not disadvantaged and passes through gateway at an appropriate time
ensure apprentices are supported in practical terms through EPA, for example providing access to sites where their EPA will take place
When an apprentice reaches the planned gateway date, their employer should hold a final meeting with their training provider to discuss if the apprentice is ready to sit EPA.
Who is responsible for passing an apprentice through gateway?
Employers have the final say on whether an apprentice should be put forward for EPA based on whether they feel that the apprentice:
displays occupational competence
meets the gateway criteria
is ready to complete their assessment
However, both the employer and training provider have a shared responsibility to decide whether the apprentice has demonstrated the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to be competent in their job role.
It is important to refer back to the assessment plan when approaching gateway in order to check that the apprentice is able to demonstrate all of the required knowledge, skills and behaviours and can do so in a live EPA.
To minimise the risk of needing to resit, it is important that the apprentice has passed all of the criteria listed in the assessment plan before they are put through for EPA.
Once the employer and training provider have discussed the relevant evidence and have agreed that the apprentice is ready to be assessed, the employer can pass them through gateway. Employers should give final confirmation to their chosen EPAO that the apprentice is ready to take their EPA.
Where there is a disagreement about whether the apprentice is ready to take their EPA, the employer and training provider should discuss whether additional training is appropriate and, if agreed, put this in place.
To provide an apprentice with the best chance of success, it is important that they do not pass through gateway until all parties agree that they are ready to take their EPA. By ensuring that apprentices are only passed through gateway when they are ready, employers will be less likely to incur resit costs.
Training provider role and responsibilities
Training providers are jointly responsible with the employer for keeping the apprentice on track with their off the job training. This will help to ensure that the apprentice is able to sit their EPA on the planned date.
To keep apprentices on track, and to assist employers to make a good gateway decision, training providers should:
prompt the employer to select an EPAO early on, (training providers may do this on the employer’s behalf where the employer has given permission)
agree a proposed gateway date with the employer at the beginning of the apprenticeship (or at least three months in advance of gateway) – taking into account any prior learning or additional needs of the apprentice.
plan in dates for completing the required mandatory qualifications in advance of gateway
hold regular reviews with the apprentice to assess their progress against the assessment plan – this way the apprentice can be passed through gateway at the right time
familiarise the apprentice with the EPA assessment components and grade requirements
hold regular reviews with the employer to update them about the apprentice’s progress and development needs
ensure that there is time for the apprentice to use any preparatory and practice materials provided by the EPAO
inform the EPAO as early as possible if the apprentice will need reasonable adjustments to be made during the EPA
provide appropriate on-programme training and assessment (including maths and English) to ensure each apprentice meets the required skills and knowledge level of their apprenticeship
keep all parties (apprentice, employee and EPAO) up to date on any changes to gateway review and EPA dates
By the time an apprentice reaches the planned gateway date, the employer and training provider should have a good idea whether the apprentice has demonstrated the knowledge, skills and behaviours required to be occupationally competent.
Regular progress checks during the training element of the apprenticeship will confirm that the apprentice is making progress so all parties should be clear that the apprentice is ready to go through gateway.
If an apprentice is not deemed to be ready to pass through gateway, the training provider should communicate with the employer regarding what additional training the apprentice needs. This should then be put into place in order to get the apprentice ready to pass through gateway and take their EPA.
It is important that an apprentice does not pass through gateway until the employer and training provider consider them to be occupationally component and ready to take their assessment, avoiding any unnecessary resit costs to the employer.
It is also important that the apprentice understands what EPA is from an early stage in their apprenticeship, that they understand the different assessment methods and feel confident that they are ready to take their assessment.
End-point Assessment Organisation role and responsibilities
As soon as an EPAO is selected, they should engage with the employer (or training provider, where the employer has given permission).
take note of the proposed gateway date in order to help with resource planning for carrying out assessments
agree ways of working with the employer and training provider, including advanced notification of any changes to the planned gateway date
provide assessment preparation and practice resources to the employer and training provider to help them prepare the apprentice for EPA and decide when their apprentice is occupationally competent and ready to take EPA
have in place a process for checking with the employer and provider that the apprentice has met the gateway requirements
check that reasonable adjustments have been made where required
ensure operational readiness towards delivering EPA on time
provide EPA for the apprentice in a timely manner once they have passed through gateway
communicate any change of date, venue or method for EPA to the employer and training provider in good time
Apprentice role and responsibilities
An apprentice cannot achieve their apprenticeship unless they take and pass their EPA.
Apprentices are more likely to pass their EPA if they:
take ownership of their journey towards EPA at the beginning of the apprenticeship
know when they are expected to take their EPA
stay on track with their learning and take part in progress reviews with their employer
download and understand the relevant apprenticeship standard and assessment plan so that they have a good understanding of the knowledge, skills and behaviours they are required to demonstrate and the methods which will be used to assess them
understand which mandatory qualifications they need to take as part of their apprenticeship and ensure they complete them
monitor their own progress against the knowledge, skills and behaviours specified in the standard
make full use of the materials provided by the EPAO to prepare for EPA
make use of employer and training provider support
talk to their employer and training provider about the different assessment methods for their apprenticeship standard
see EPA as an opportunity to showcase their knowledge, skills and behaviour
The apprentice should have the opportunity to express their views about whether they feel ready to pass through gateway and to voice any concerns they might have about taking their EPA.