PETA works with C&G to establish virtual EPAs for apprenticeships

Two PETA apprentices have become the first learners to go through their Engineering End Point Assessments (EPA) with City & Guilds (C&G) remotely.

Article summary: Two PETA apprentices have become the first learners to go through their Engineering End Point Assessments (EPA) with City & Guilds (C&G) remotely.

All aspects of the EPA were carried out either online, via video recordings or Zoom calls during the first lockdown period in the spring. The pandemic meant that the way the EPAs were usually conducted - all face to face and in the workplace with C&G Assessors present - was not possible due to the restrictions in place.

PETA worked in partnership with the EPA, Quality and IT teams at C&G to come up with an effective and reliable way of completing the EPAs virtually. The EPAs have never been done this way before but thanks to their collaborative efforts, it is now something that can be provided by C&G as part of their standard offering during COVID restrictions. This is great for others hoping to complete their apprenticeships during the ongoing pandemic, as well as those who may find it easier to carry out their EPA virtually for other reasons.

The two apprentices were on the Maintenance Operations Engineering Technician Apprenticeship, which takes between 26 and 45 months to complete. Callum Witney-Mills, who works for Whitman Laboratories Ltd, was the first to go through the EPA in May and he achieved a distinction. Dan McAuley was the second student to go through in June achieving a pass. He now works at Barfoots of Botley.

Callum said: “It meant a lot to be part of this pioneering method of carrying out the EPA; the excellent support from my employer Whitman Laboratories, coupled with the resources and commitment of PETA and City and Guilds led to the successful outcome of a distinction. I would like to extend my thanks to all those involved in helping me achieve this result. I’m glad to see that the virtual EPA continues to be used to allow learners to complete their apprenticeships in these uncertain times.”

Dan said: “I was quite nervous being one of the first to go through the remote EPA because no one really knew how it was going to work.
When I passed it was such a relief and exciting too as it meant I could move on and continue learning within the industry and start earning more money. PETA’s support was great, especially my field assessor who supported me through the EPA and throughout my whole apprenticeship - I owe him a lot.”

The apprenticeship trains individuals in various elements of engineering maintenance to ensure that factories and engineering environments can have trained staff on hand to keep operations running smoothly at all times. Apprentices are taught how to keep equipment performance to a maximum, undertake preventative maintenance as well as diagnosing faults and undertaking repairs.

The beauty of apprenticeships is that not only do learners gain a wealth of knowledge and skills during the programme, but they’re also undertaking a key role within their company whilst they train. They are learning a generic trade whilst also receiving specific on-the-job training at the same time, so upon completion, apprentices will already be experienced members of staff.

Apprentices on this programme study a range of topics including:

  • The first principles relating to the operation and maintenance of appropriate plant and equipment
  • Relevant industry health and safety standards and regulatory requirements
  • Maintenance and operational practices, processes and procedures covering a range of plant and equipment
  • Relevant engineering theories and principles relative to their occupation

They will gain a multitude of skills along the way, with the core ones including:

  • Ability to locate and rectify faults on plant and equipment
  • Communicating with stakeholders in line with their role and responsibilities
  • Understanding and working in compliance with technical specifications
  • Preparing work areas and reinstating those areas after work is completed
  • Inspecting and maintaining plant and equipment to meet operational requirements
  • Assessing and testing the performance and condition of plant and equipment
  • Communicating that the appropriate work has been completed to specification

Upon completion, apprentices are able to add a range of qualifications to their CV including:

  • Level 2 Diploma in Performing Engineering Operations (Foundation Competence)
  • Level 3 Diploma in Advanced Manufacturing Engineering (Development Knowledge) Level 3 Extended Diploma in Engineering Maintenance (Development Competence)
  • English & Maths Functional Skills Level 2 (if required)

The remote EPAs saw the apprentices completing an online theory exam at PETA’s COVID-secure Training Centre in Portsmouth, followed by practical workplace observations, which were done using live video coverage and a 1-1 interview between the apprentice and a C&G Assessor via Zoom call.

Various members of PETA staff were involved in making this happen. PETA’s Head of Curriculum, Gavin Smith worked closely with C&G to get the learning requirements in place for the virtual EPAs and PETA Tutor/Assessor Andy O’Brien filmed the practical workplace observations for both Callum and Dan’s EPAs, which involved a full day’s filming for each. PETA Instructor Roger Pierce presented Callum and Dan with their certificates on separate occasions.

PETA’s Engineering Training Manager Sandra Broad said: “A lot of work went into making this possible but it’s all been worth it now that apprentices have a way to complete their programmes remotely. The fact that we were able to work with the teams at City & Guilds to help set up this process really is a fantastic achievement too. We hope that it will enable many others to complete their training as the pandemic continues.”

If you’re an employer, find out more about recruiting an apprentice today! If you’re someone looking for a new opportunity, why not consider becoming an apprentice to broaden your horizons? Get in touch if you’d like more information about completing EPAs remotely.


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