Passing the compulsory end-point assessment at the completion of the ‘on-programme’ apprenticeship is not only a great day for the apprentice, it’s also a great day for the training provider and the employer too.

Apprenticeships work because, as well as the 20% off-the-job learning, the candidate is spending 80% of their time doing real work in a real workplace. Learning from more experienced colleagues, being able to make mistakes but then get it right the next time, developing an awareness of how the different parts of an organisation are reliant on each other and, of course, understanding the importance of satisfying customers.

Staffordshire company, Johnson Tiles, know exactly how powerful the apprenticeship programmes are for their business. Training Manager, Kate Anderson, explained; “At Johnson's, we recruit apprentices to specific job roles. We ensure there is a job there first so that an apprentice can develop into their role and, after the End Point Assessment, join the team permanently.”

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Johnson Tiles currently have nine apprentices including two current members of staff being upskilled; for all of them, the End Point Assessment will be the crowning point for this particular journey. But any fears of what the EPA will be like are quickly soothed by the experience and advice from Zak Holley, one of Johnson Tiles’ most recent successes who was awarded a distinction in his assessment.

Zak knows that his success was due to the great support he had from his manager at Johnson Tiles and his assessor, Jenny, at PM Training. But it was also down to hard work and his approach to the challenge of the End Point Assessment.

“I had to do a showcase for 45mins, a professional discussion for 60mins and then I was observed actually doing the job for 1hr 20mins. It was all recorded and if I hadn’t done so much preparation it could have been pretty scary, but actually, it was a very good experience. Because of the support and the preparation, I was ready for it”, Zak explained, “Everything went well and I was given a distinction; I was over the moon!”

Asked what advice he would give to apprentices getting ready for the End Point Assessment, Zak didn’t hesitate:

“My top tips for the end-point-assessment would be:

1. Stay calm
2. Get everything ready for your showcase including examples of work to back up your presentation and key points
3. Revise, revise, revise
4. Get your time management right, and
5. Practice, practice, practice.”

By making the most of his 20% off-the-job learning and taking every opportunity to learn more at Johnson Tiles, Zak aced the End Point Assessment and is now looked on as a popular and valuable member of the Johnson team.

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