The issue of apprentices starting standards without an end-point assessment organisation in place was first raised by FE Week in June 2016.

At the time a former senior civil servant, Dr Susan Pember, described the lack of consideration towards learners as “diabolical”.

A few months later the interim chief executive of the Institute for Apprenticeships Peter Lauener described it as “not ideal” but “manageable”.

The Education and Skills Select Committee wasn’t convinced, and last year recommended that standards should not be launched until at least one end-point assessment organisation was in place.

This recommendation was rejected by the government, but is it still manageable?

Skip forward to 2018, and the chief executive at the Institute for Apprenticeships, Sir Gerry Berragan, clearly thinks so.

He took to the stage to “bust myths” on the issue at FE Week’s Annual Apprenticeships Conference in March and early this month told a conference that ongoing concerns are“inflammatory”.

Yet when we sent over our dossier of evidence to the IfA and DfE, which included apprentices indefinitely waiting to finish their course and in some cases missing out on a pay rise, the tone changed.

The IfA refused an interview and declined to comment, but the DfE admitted “there is more to do” and it needed to “address concerns”.

Hopefully our investigation has served as a wake-up call, as the first step in fixing a problem is admitting there is one.

Step two should be to stop standards from being available for delivery until at least one assessment organisation is registered and both willing and able.

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