Firefighters tackle a wide range of emergency situations which vary from
firefighting, search and rescue to protecting people and animals. You will
respond to incidents involving different transport methods. You will engage with the community to provide information, advice and guidance.
Firefighters work as part of a close-knit team of professionals that provides 24-hour response cover to resolve and rescue operational incidents, adopting multi agency working principles with partners and other services. A Firefighter may work in any of the fire services across England, the Armed Forces, Civil Aviation or within small private sector fire services that may be incorporated in other organisations such as manufacturers and engineering.
An EPA Through AST Services
ASTS ( South East) Ltd is an approved End-Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) for the Level 3 – Operational Firefighter Apprenticeship Standard (EPA0372).
All of our professional end point assessors are ex operational middle and senior managers within the UK Fire and Rescue Services, bringing you a wealth of knowledge and sector expertise as well as assessment experience. Unlike other EPAOs, ASTS (Southeast) Ltd is solely focused on providing a first-class assessment service for this one standard.
We have a meticulous process in place to ensure every apprentice receives a fair, consistent and reliable EPA. For each apprenticeship, materials will be made available to all training providers and employers who have a contract with us to deliver End-Point Assessment.
Apprentices are registered with us by the employer using the ACE360, our online learner management system. All training will be given on how to use this system, which will provide real-time management reports, which include information on an apprentice’s progress and achievements.
Read more about our End-Point Assessment here.
Operational Firefighter L3 Assessment Methods
The Operational Firefighter EPA has 3 assessment methods which need to be conducted in order: completion of a knowledge test, a practical observation and a professional discussion.
AST Services will ensure the appropriate allocation of the independent assessor (A1) is made and our internal quality assurance team will assure consistent quality of assessment.
ASTS will provide direct feedback to Employers, Training Provider and Apprentices following each EPA to enhance the experience and improve the EPA where identified for future assessments.
- Knowledge Test
The 60 multiple knowledge test questions will describe detailed scenarios with four possible answers, only one of these will be correct. The test will last for 90 minutes.
- Practical Observeration
The practical observation element will be carried out over a total of six hours. These are likely to be carried out as part of a cohort. The practical assessment will be pre-planned and staged in simulated scenarios using Realistic Working Environments.
- Professional Discussion
Following the practical observation lasting between 40 and 50 minutes the structured professional discussion takes place between the Apprentice and the IA. The discussion is to confirm and validate work and to draw out how you would behave in specific scenario’s – the on-programme portfolio can be used as reference.
Frequently asked EPA questions
Click on the questions below for more information.
The Fire and Rescue Services who have taken on the apprentice make decisions about employment.
The number will depend on the resources the Fire and Rescue Service/employer has available, ASTS will always endeavour to match assessor availability to your requirements
Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is checked when Assessors are recruited. We also ask for evidence of their CPD during the past 12 months. If we do not feel this is sufficient, we will take steps to support them in meeting the requirements.
We expect the EPA will be carried out over 3 days.
As the criteria in the assessment is referenced, customers will be advised which criteria the apprentice has failed on and given a summary of why they have failed where appropriate. Apprentices should have some additional learning and coaching before they re-sit the relevant
assessment component. ASTS will always provide feedback to all candidates irrespective of the result.
Independent Assessors assess the apprentice’s knowledge, skills, and behaviour against the standard using the prescribed assessment methods. They participate in training and standardisation events to promote consistency across marking and grading. They are provided with assessment templates/documentation and mark and grade the assessments according to the criteria prescribed in the assessment plan.
Although the knowledge test is taken first, the results are only made available to the apprentice/employer/training provider at the end of the EPA and all assessments have been completed, which is when the final overall grade is confirmed. If an apprentice fails the knowledge test, or other element a resit of the failed element will then be arranged. No resits will therefore need to be arranged before the practical observation.
These will be required a few days before the practical observation. The Independent Assessor will make their own checks of the risk assessments before the assessments take place.
You will receive the resources list after Gateway, which will give an indication of the type of scenarios chosen for your cohort. A generic risk assessment that you would normally use for training activities for these different scenarios (Breathing Apparatus and Drills, Road Traffic Collisions, etc) will normally be suitable.
At or immediately following gateway an application for reasonable adjustment can be made using the form provided.
What is an End Point Assessment?
EPA or End Point Assessment is a key component of the new apprenticeship standards and assessment plans.
Developed by the employer groups (Trailblazers) who create the assessment specification alongside the standard design, EPAs are a challenging final evaluation of apprenticeship training. The assessments rigorously test competence, skills and behaviours gained through the training programme, defining an apprentice’s success or failure on programme.
This approach differs from the models used previously and involves, as one would expect from an employer-led system, far greater interaction, and accountability for assessments from employers.
What is an EPAO?
EPAOs or End Point Assessment Organisations are approved to deliver a specific EPA by the Education & Skills Funding Agency (ESFA).
Registration on the ESFA Register of Apprentice Assessment Organisations (RoAAO) is required by an EPAO for every standard they wish to deliver an EPA against and is only possible once they have demonstrated rigorous quality control, provision of the right type of assessors and use of the right tools for that particular assessment.
The register should be your first port of call to understand which EPAOs are offering EPA for which standards. There are links on the register to each EPAO where you can see further details around each EPAO’s offer and proposition.
Each EPAO must demonstrate the following for every standard they want to be registered for:
- The relevant industry knowledge and experience
- The right type and number of assessors to service the needs of their customer/s
- The correct quality processes and procedures to support fair and equal opportunity assessment
- The depth in their organisational structure to ensure high quality delivery and management
EPAOs are independent of apprenticeship training providers and staff involved in EPA cannot have been involved with the training element of an apprentice’s programme.
How much will EPA cost?
If you are a Levy-paying employer, EPAs are paid for using a percentage of your apprenticeship fund. The maximum amount that an EPAO can draw down from the funding is set by the ESFA and varies across standards, up to 20% of the funding band maximum value. If you don’t pay the Levy, EPA costs are met through the funding available from government and mandatory contribution.
EPAOs can provide you with their list prices to undertake the assessments of a given standard. To avoid the risk of unforeseen additional costs, (which will have to be paid from non-funded budgets), it is highly recommended that you finalise EPA arrangements before making apprenticeship training provider commitments.
Selecting the right EPAO
Good training partner and EPAO selection is critical to programme success; decisions impact your people, brand and workforce planning capability. Having identified the EPAO(s) approved for the required apprenticeship standard, you should assess each of them against various criteria.