In a recent news update we were thrilled to announce our intention to introduce an EPA System as part of our continued growth strategy and that we had selected EPAPro as a best in market solution. In this update we hear from the person responsible for the implementation of EPAPro, Dan Russell, Head of Quality and Business Improvement.
Thanks for joining us Dan. You started at SIAS just over 10 months ago, tell us about what you do…
“I am the Head of Quality and Business Improvement. I often think it’s like two roles, in a sense, or two hats. The quality side is around ensuring compliance with Ofqual, which is something we’ve recently achieved. So, my role is key in implementing the things we need to do to maintain that compliance and quality in everything we do. Ensuring quality at the heart of our assessment processes and making sure that our assessments and our materials meet the needs of the apprentices, of our employers and providers but also the Ofqual requirements.
“Within the business improvement side I’m looking at things like the implementation of EPA Pro, so our ways of working and how we service our customers. Moving to this platform will enable us to better achieve success for our customers. We’re also changing our processes and the way we work so we’re more streamlined and we’re more in line with a more flexible approaches to assessment and use of technology to stay relevant within the industry.”
And, what was your background before you joined SIAS?
“I was Head of End-point Assessment previously for a construction end-point company. It was a start-up and I was there for a year and a half, setting that up through all the lockdowns which made for an interesting challenge! But, I experienced setting up an organisation from scratch to doing our first ever assessments which I’m very proud of.
“Before that I was a Product Manager at Innovate Awarding, where I had a suite of qualifications that I was responsible for developing materials, working on business development, supporting and training customers and serving their needs and making sure they were all happy.
“I’ve been involved in the sector for over 10 years from an assessor, tutor all the way through management and quality so I like to think I bring a really broad skill base and sectoral knowledge to SIAS”.
If there is such a thing, what does a typical day look like for you?
“At the moment a lot of my day is taken up with managing and delivering the implementation plans for EPA Pro, a key part of which is looking at how we are going to fully train and support and communicate to our clients.
“I spend a lot of time ensuring that our quality assurance processes are being conducted and we’re reducing our timeframes around that; standardising our End-Point Assessors and our internal quality assurers; and making sure that all of our assessment materials are Ofqual-compliant and fit for purpose to support apprentice needs.”
What is it that excites you most about being part of SIAS? There’s a lot of things happening – what are you most looking forward to?
“What attracted me to the role was the fact that I would get to implement change; so implementing EPA Pro is a great project to be driving forward. It’s going to bring huge benefits to SIAS and also everyone that we work with and it’s going to ultimately transform how we work as a business. There’s a lot of work and a lot of challenges but the rewards will far exceed any of those challenges, so I think that’s what drives me to get things done.”
Tell us a little about Dan outside of work…
“I’ve lived in Manchester now for about two years but I’m still exploring the North West and enjoying getting to know the area as is my French bulldog, Bailey, on the many walks we have.
“I love to go to the gym and also enjoy climbing but not had chance to do much of that for a few months.”
What’s a message you’d like to leave our readers with?
“My key focus right now is EPA Pro as the biggest change that SIAS has made in years. It’s a really exciting opportunity for SIAS and everyone we work with and we’ll be fully supporting you as we progress through implementation so look out for more coming on that very soon!”