That’s the warning from RTITB, the workplace transport training regulatory body, which has registered as an end point assessment organisation (EPAO) in a bid to address the shortage.
The EPA verifies that an apprentice can do the job they have been trained to do and typically comes at the end of a 12-month programme of training and work experience. It must be carried out by an assessor from an independent organisation registered as an EPAO – not the employer or training provider.
“Recently, we’ve spoken to a number of registered apprenticeship training providers who have been given lead times of three months by some EPAOs when they’ve requested EPAs for their LGV Driver apprentices,” says Laura Nelson, managing director of RTITB.
“This simply isn’t fair on the apprentices who have worked hard to meet the gateway requirements and are ready for their EPA. What’s more, it undermines confidence in logistics apprenticeships.”
Nelson says it is a concern that EPAOs are struggling to meet demand, as the number of apprenticeships is lower than it was before the introduction of the apprenticeship levy.
A further concern, she adds, is that training providers may turn to assessors who can assess apprentices to a minimum skills level but who lack the workplace competence and industry expertise to conduct EPAs.
“That’s why, to help meet the demand for EPAs for logistics apprenticeship standards, RTITB has become an approved EPAO,” says Nelson.
RTITB assessors, with logistics and warehousing experience, can carry out EPAs with a lead time of less than four weeks. RTITB currently offers EPAs for Supply Chain Warehouse Operatives (ST259) and LGV Drivers (ST0257), with other apprenticeship standards in the transport and logistics sector due to be added later this year.