Independent End-point Assessors (IEPA) and End-point Organisations (EPAO) are part of the new era of the apprenticeship process, with the Skills and Education Group Awards becoming approved as an EPAO for a host of Fashion and Textiles standards.

As experts in their field and with substantial industry experience under their belt, Independent End-point Assessors will assess apprentice competencies and knowledge against an industry-specific standard. The Skills and Education Group Awards offers a free accredited training programme, which gives industry professionals with varying assessor experience the opportunity to become fully trained and fully accredited as an IEPA for the Skills and Education Group Awards.

We had a discussion with Sue Taylor and Andrea Simmons upon the completion of their last day of training, to find out about their journey from experienced industry specialist to Independent End-point Assessor…

What drew you towards becoming an IEPA?

Sue Taylor: I was already a moderator for the Skills and Education Group Awards, so it seemed like a natural progression for me to move from the moderation side to end-point assessment.

Andrea Simmons: I worked for Cambridge Assessors and Pearson Group, and I’ve done assessment for the Skills and Education Group Awards before. I felt that my assessment experience was more in education so this will be a nice progression within apprenticeships. I’d like to see the balance between work and college, so it felt like a good career move.

How do you fit this around your normal life/work commitments?

Sue: I’m doing this part time, fitting it around family commitments.

Andrea: I’m doing my Entry to PHD at Royal College of Art, so I’m balancing this and doing study. Because I’m doing it in the field of arts education, it fits in quite perfectly.

How has Skills and Education Group Awards supported you with your training?

Andrea: I think it’s added a lot of clarity to grey areas that we may have had. I feel the company is very transparent. We’re understanding where we can use our areas of expertise in a new area of apprenticeships. They’ve been clear on what we’re doing, quite specific and giving us the right support that we need. We’ve been able to integrate our viewpoints and opinions so we feel that we are attached to what we are doing, not just something that’s been given to us that we have to do.

Sue: The discussions that we’ve had have been really useful, to find that we are all on the same page. I think that the last exercise that we’ve just done, to listen to learners’ responses and then to grade those responses, has been really interesting. We all had identical grading. It gives us all some confidence.

Do you feel we have delivered a successful training program for IEPAs?

Andrea: Yes. With a lot of other training you listen and you’re given the information and that’s it. Whereas we’ve had chance to integrate our ideas of where we’ve seen there might be things that are hazy or grey. We are actually being listened to and it’s being taken on board. I think that’s a good development in education because that’s an area that has been quite void before, it’s very much ‘that’s what it is’ and you follow, so it has been good that we’ve been able to integrate our knowledge.

What would you say to other people who are thinking about getting involved with end-point assessing?

Andrea: There’s a lot of grey area between vocational study and employability. I think that it’s good that this end-point assessment is in there because we are able to see both sides of the coins, on education and how it works in the work environment. Hopefully we can fill that space to be more cohesive.

Sue: I think it’s quite nice to be in a position to give something back to the Fashion and Textile industry. I’ve worked within it for over thirty years so to be able to give something back is good. To be at the end-point is quite satisfying because you’re seeing how an apprentice has progressed from not knowing anything to being at the point of a fully trained competent apprentice. I think that’s quite an interesting part of the process to be involved in, right at the end of the journey.

Would you be interested in joining our experienced team of Independent End-point Assessors? We are currently recruiting for all of our standards, in particular:

  • Textile Manufacturing Operative Level 2
  • Textiles Care Operative Level 2
  • Fashion and Textiles Pattern Cutter Level 3
  • Garment Maker Level 3
  • Fashion Studio Assistant Level 3

To find out more information about becoming an IEPA and how to get enrolled onto our free accredited training programme, click here.