Middlesbrough-based end point assessment organisation (EPAO), 1st for EPA, is celebrating after becoming the first organisation in the UK to be accepted onto the Register of EPAOs to assess a new apprenticeship aimed at helping companies focus on sustainability and corporate responsibility.

The apprenticeship, Level 4 Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability Practitioner, is designed to innovate and drive ambitions for social and environmental change and is equivalent to a Higher National Certificate (HNC). Areas of focus can include carbon reduction, waste management, energy efficiency, fundraising and supply chains. This apprenticeship allows employers to access the latest thinking and have a practitioner ready to drive their Corporate Responsibility and Sustainability initiatives forward.

Speaking about the recognition for the business, Managing Director, Helen Shinner, said: “I am delighted to welcome the Level 4 apprenticeship to the standards that 1st for EPA assesses.

“In just a few years, we have grown to assess 13 apprenticeships across a range of business improvement disciplines. We very much see our approach as a challenge to the existing EPAO approach. We focus on transparency with support and guidance for apprentices, employers and providers. This ensures apprentices fully understand the expectations and can focus on showcasing skills instead of worrying about the assessment itself.”

The recognition comes as part of a drive from businesses across Teesside to place the area firmly at the heart of the ‘green revolution’, with work recently announced on a new net zero innovation centre in the region.

Helen continued: “This standard is a crucial one for today’s employment market. It will be instrumental in helping organisations shape and push forward their green initiatives, including commitments to net zero.

“We’re increasingly seeing companies, big and small, not living up to their own environmental standards and they are now being held accountable. It has increased the desire for effective corporate responsibility management within companies and makes this a very valuable skill set for apprentices to have.”

The apprentice’s role is to facilitate change and shape strategy to impact the greater good and typical job titles for apprentices on this standard include Corporate Social Responsibility Administrator, Sustainability Coordinator and Responsible Business Coordinator.