Industry awarding organisation EAL and the Institution of Mechanical Engineers are forging a new relationship to offer new End Point Assessment (EPA) services for apprentices in the advanced manufacturing and engineering sector.

Introduced by the Government as part of a new standards process for apprenticeships, EPAs will require apprentices to complete a final presentation and interview to complete their apprenticeship. It must be carried out by a government approved organisation that is independent from the trainer. Previously most apprenticeships used a 'continuous assessment' model where they were tested regularly throughout their course.

EAL and the Institution are combining their expertise to deliver an EPA pilot for the level 3 mechatronics apprenticeship during the summer and early autumn of 2017. The pilot is being run with a view to EAL and the Institution offering EPAs for a broader range of apprenticeships.

Alison Parkes, Managing Director from EAL said:

"We know that engineering employers and training organisations are daunted by the introduction of End Point Assessment and wider apprenticeship reforms. However, we have the opportunity to make the system work in the very best way we can by pooling our talents and expertise for the benefit of the whole sector.

"That's why I am so delighted to be working with the Institution on this pilot. With EAL's strong record of building and assessing employer-backed qualifications and the Institution's unique industry insight and professional recognition for apprentices, we can provide a high quality End Point Assessment service and support that apprentices, employers and training organisations across the sector will know they can trust."

Stephen Tetlow MBE, Chief Executive of the Institution of Mechanical Engineers, said:

"The vocational training and qualification scene in the UK is about to change dramatically. We are seizing the opportunity. The UK urgently needs to raise its game in the development of a highly-skilled, technically-trained workforce to underpin our future economy. Our new collaboration with EAL will help achieve this by combining great qualifications, high quality assessment services and world-class professional recognition for engineering apprentices. It will be a game-changer for employers, their customers and anybody seeking future employment and careers in the exciting world of science and engineering. It's great news."

Employers and training organisations that would like to find out more about EAL and the Institution's End Point Assessment services can contact customercare@eal.org.uk or epa@imeche.org.

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