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Celebrating 5 years of end-point assessment!

This month, we’ve been celebrating 5 years of NCFE being an end-point assessment (EPA) organisation! Introduced as part of apprenticeship reform in 2017, EPA is the final stage of an apprenticeship journey and is an impartial assessment of whether an apprentice has developed the skills, knowledge and behaviours outlined in the apprenticeship standard.

Since we launched our EPA service in 2017, our offering has gone from strength to strength. Here, we share with you our journey so far, the impact on apprentices, and our plans for the future.  

If a picture says 1000 words, videos are priceless...

Watch our EPA video to discover what milestones we’ve reached over the years:

#FutureOfApprenticeships live shows with FE News: 5 years of EPA  

We recently launched our exciting new series of live shows in partnership with FE News, where a panel of experts delve into deep discussion each episode on various topics relating to apprenticeships. You can catch up with our first two episodes, “Are apprenticeships still working for 16-19 year olds?” and “Unlocking SMEs and helping them to thrive”, right now. Episode 3 will focus on the cost of living and will stream live on FE News on Thurs 3 November at 10am.  

Building relationships  

Our Relationship team supports our customers every step of the way with EPA.  

We spoke to members of the team to find out more about their expertise, career paths, passion for education and what attracted them to a career here at NCFE. Read their stories here.  

From humble beginnings…  

We spoke to Sacha Finkle, Head of EPA at NCFE, who has headed up the service since it first began as a team of two in 2017:  

“When EPA became operational in the autumn of 2017, the first employees immediately started work on drafting the EPA products and linking with EPA customers.  

“The first two years were difficult for us to demonstrate what we were capable of. We had the commitment from multiple customers who selected us as their end-point assessment organisation (EPAO), but apprentices were delayed, and apprenticeship withdrawals had increased. This period reflected the fundamental changes to apprenticeships at the time. Yet, despite this difficulty, in our first full year of operational EPA delivery, we supported almost 1,600 apprentices.  

“Year three saw us make a significant leap in confidence. We more than doubled the previous year’s number of supported apprentices to complete their end-point assessments.  

"Unfortunately, the pandemic then hit – which could have seriously derailed everything we were striving to achieve. But it didn't. NCFE EPA had always pushed a ‘digital first’ approach to the delivery of our assessments, and this made it easier to navigate the changes the pandemic brought and allowed us to manage the challenges the customer had. We were able to influence the flexibilities implemented by IfATE and were the first to market with many of the additional resources. With the hands-on support from our Relationship team supporting our providers, this quickly became BAU. 

“The last two years have continued to see more transition as we have evolved and developed. We’re fully integrated into the NCFE brand and our workforce has more than doubled, along with the number of apprentices we support – 2020-21 saw us increase the volume of apprentices by 40%, and last year the increase was a further 35% – despite the impact of the pandemic.  

“We continue to evolve and improve our service, always with the apprentice and customer in mind, and we’re already planning what comes next. Each area of EPA has ambitious plans on how we can continue improving our service – we’re still very young as a business unit and we have so much to learn, but everyone in EPA is determined to get us there."

Share your EPA stories

As we celebrate 5 years of EPA, we want to hear your stories and achievements! Tag us on social and use the hashtag #5YearsOfEPA.

Want to find out more about EPA?

As a market-leading EPAO, we deliver a unique proposition that combines innovation and customer service into each stage of the EPA process. Find out more!


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