|The role of End-Point Assessment Organisations (EPAOs) is pivotal in shaping the success and achievements of learners on apprenticeship journeys. SIAS, the leading EPAO for the science, manufacturing and engineering apprenticeship sectors has been positively disrupting the EPA market through a unique EPA model which leverages five fundamental attributes that it believes makes-up the best way to EPA. Coupling this approach with cutting-edge technologies, which are embedded throughout the end-to end EPA approach, not only contributes to improving achievement rates for apprentices, but is also ensuring employers, providers, and apprentices have an exceptional and positive EPA experience.
We caught up with Steve Smith, Managing Director at SIAS to find out more about how they are using and embedding technology to support their five core EPA principles… here’s what he had to say…
“At the core of SIAS’s approach is our commitment to consistency in assessment, to ensure parity of esteem both across cohorts and learner to learner. With our standardisation and pre-planning framework, we ensure that every apprentice is evaluated fairly and equitably. SIAS employs technology-driven assessment tools that facilitate this consistent evaluation of knowledge, skills and behaviours and both our EPAPro EPA platform and our QuestionMark testing platform for knowledge-based assessment, inclusive of AI proctoring, serve as tech hubs for our end-to end assessment activities, providing employers and providers with real confidence in the overall process.
“SIAS’s use of technology through our EPA system also allows us to provide quick, agile and comprehensive post assessment feedback for both employer and provider partners. This facilitates a deeper understanding of strengths and areas for development and this immediate feedback loop contributes to the drive for continuous improvement across the key stakeholders and ultimately results in a more effective learning experience for future apprentices.
“Early visibility of apprentices in the learner journey is another key factor to EPA and achievement success and again technology plays its part. Our platform both facilitates the registration of apprentices with SIAS within 42 days of starting on programme and tracks the progress of apprentices from the outset, giving employers and providers real time access to all relevant information regarding their learners. That real-time visibility for all stakeholders ensures that we, as the EPAO, can pro-actively work in a joined-up way with partners to ensure that apprentices remain on-track, on-time, and on the path to achievement.
“This holistic approach to EPA pivots fundamentally around our end-to-end EPA planning and support model, which again is underpinned by tech and the EPAPro platform which assists in planning, scheduling, and supporting providers, employers and apprentices through the assessment process.
“And last but by no means least, we capitalise on the use of technology to enhance our partnerships which are very much the centre of our approach. The EPAPro system, MS Teams, WhatsApp and SMS, all facilitates efficient communication between us, apprentices, employers, and training providers to enable agile, flexible and highly responsive ways of working.
“As we continue to shape the present, we are looking ahead to the future. The training and assessment community is already witnessing the rise of artificial intelligence (AI) and the potential that has to impact the world of assessment. We are well-prepared to embrace this evolution, ensuring strong compliance and maintenance of the integrity of our assessment of apprenticeship standards. We are already exploring the potential of AI and a world beyond a conventional assessment model, which will no doubt in the future enhance the precision and personalisation of learning and assessment experiences.”
So, without a doubt SIAS’s innovative approach to EPA, driven by their belief in five fundamental attributes, and powered by advanced technologies, is playing a role in helping to improve achievement rates across the STEM standards and industries which they support. Through consistency of assessment, rapid on-point feedback, early visibility of learners, a proper end-to-end support model, and an obsession with meaningful partnerships, SIAS is setting new standards in EPA success.
The integration of technology is not only accelerating and supporting the rapid scaling and impact of what they do and how they do it, but it is future proofing the relevance of their EPA model for many years to come, inclusive of the exciting potential of more AI based solutions. As the educational landscape continues to evolve and be shaped by technology advances, the future for SIAS and the wider apprenticeships sector is certainly an exciting one!