A new “method” for external quality assurance of integrated higher and degree-level apprenticeships has been launched today.
Thirty-eight standards, mostly delivered by universities, will be subject to the scrutiny delivered by the Designated Quality Body in England (DQB) on behalf of the Office for Students (OfS).
Site visits using the new EQA method will begin next month.
It is part of the second phase of the reforms to how EQA works for apprenticeship end-point assessment.
The first phase involved transitioning apprenticeships below integrated higher and degree-level to Ofqual for EQA from a mix of professional bodies, employers and the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. This process is still ongoing.
A new handbook outlining DQB’s new method has been published today (click here to read). It includes sections on readiness checks and approvals, as well as how the EQA monitoring process will work.
The handbook says DQB will undertake risk-based monitoring of each apprenticeship, confirming that the delivery of the EPA is “valid and compliant, delivering consistent and comparable results that are recognised by employers as delivering the right outcomes”.
DQB will also “confirm evidence and information that will be required from the EPAO, giving them the chance to comment on and agree reported information”, and “identify actions and recommendations to inform the EPAO’s action planning process”.
Rob Stroud, director of the DQB, said his organisation’s independent experts will check that providers and EPAOs are “delivering high-quality outcomes for apprentices, employers and all those involved in their delivery”.
Rob Nitsch, delivery director of the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education, said today’s announcement is an “important step forward for higher and degree-level apprenticeships”.
“It is vital that all assessment is consistent and of high quality, meeting the high expectations we have for all apprenticeships,” he said.
“It must match up to the rigor associated with higher level learning but also fully respect that this is an apprenticeship, so the focus must be on ensuring the apprentices are properly challenged to prove they can do the job they’ve trained for. I am confident that the new method will achieve this.”