Official statistics revealing the numbers of Ofqual-regulated apprenticeship end-point assessments (EPA) and pass rates have been published for the first time.
The exams regulator admitted though that the stats don’t yet provide a “full picture” as there is “still a good degree of churn” in the EPA market.
The data covers EPAs where Ofqual acts as the external quality assurance (EQA) body between March 2022 and February 2023, so excludes integrated degree apprenticeships where final external assessments are regulated by the Office for Students.
A handful of other EPAs are quality-assured by other organisations, but most are now regulated by Ofqual.
Ofqual had announced they would finally be publishing some EPA data at the Annual Apprenticeships Conference earlier this year.
Speaking at the Association of Employment and Learning Providers’ autumn conference earlier this week, Lucy Sydney, Ofqual’s director of strategic relationships, said: “Given there was still a good degree of churn in the EPA market during that time with EPAs transitioning into Ofqual regulation, this isn’t a full or steady state picture yet.
“But, it’s the first time we’ve published outcomes data. We think it’s a good start and we intend to publish this data set on an annual basis,” she added.
Here’s what we learned…
Business route thrives
Between March 2022 and February 2023, Ofqual regulated EPAs for 388 apprenticeship standards delivered by 121 end-point assessment organisations (EPAOs). A total of 124,750 EPAs were taken and of those, 110,575 were completed.
By far most EPAs were delivered in the business and administration subject route, taking up 27 per cent of all EPAs passed between March 2022 and February 2023, 30,005 in total.
The level 3 business administrator standard had the most completed EPAs, followed by the level 3 team leader or supervisor standard. Education and childcare was the next most popular apprenticeship route, with 11,320 regulated assessments followed by sales, marketing and procurement which had 10,255.
At the other end, the creative and design route had 665 completed EPA, protective services with 1,290 and catering and hospitality with 2,770.
Ofqual’s figures show that 42 apprenticeship standards had fewer than five completed EPAs over that period. Among them were the level 4 cyber intrusion analyst, level 2 wall and floor tiler and the level 7 creative industries production manager.
City and Guilds dominate
City and Guilds of London Institute delivered the most Ofqual-regulated apprenticeship assessments. Between March 2022 and February 2023, they delivered just over 1 in 10 of all in-scope EPAs (10.5 per cent).
The Chartered Management Institute delivered the next highest volume, 10,010, followed by Innovate Awarding with 8,445.
According to Ofqual, there were 121 awarding organisations delivering Ofqual-regulated EPAs over the period. The Scottish Qualifications Authority (SQA) and the Chartered Institution of Highways and Transportation delivered the fewest completed EPAs, with 15 and 20 respectively.
Level 3 apprentices least likely to pass first time
Overall, the average first time pass rate for Ofqual-regulated EPAs in 2022/23 across levels 2 to 7 was 91 per cent. However, there was an 8.4 percentage point difference between the highest and lowest first-time pass rates.
Assessments on level 5 standards had a first-time pass rate of 87.9 per cent, whereas non-degree apprenticeships at level 6 had a first-time pass rate of 96.3 per cent.
The vast majority of in-scope EPAs were at level 3, which had a first-time pass rate of 88 per cent, followed by level 2 which had a first-time pass rate of 90.6 per cent.
Senior leaders most likely to pass first time
Apprentices on the level 7 senior leader standard had the highest first-time pass rate – 99.4 per cent of 2,760 completed EPAs were passed the first time. This was followed by a 96.9 per cent first-time pass rate for adult care worker apprenticeships, and 95.4 per cent on the operations or departmental manager apprenticeship.
Ofqual’s figures only list first-time pass rates for ten popular apprenticeships.
Ranked ninth and tenth were the early years practitioner and early years educator apprenticeships, with first-time pass rates of 82.6 per cent and 80.2 per cent respectively. This means one in five early years educator apprentices do not pass their EPA first time.