A remote apprenticeship assessment service has been launched amid the Covid-19 crisis to support apprentices to complete their apprenticeship.

Founded by Tees businesswoman Helen Shinner, 1st for EPA offers end point assessment, or EPA, to apprentices who have finished their study and are ready to complete their apprenticeship.

The assessment itself is carried out remotely, using a combination of a secure portal and online video calling. The service means apprentices can still undergo assessment (EPA) and gain their qualification, even if they are working from home or have been furloughed.

Launched prior to the current pandemic, the company was founded with the intention of relieving the stress many students experience with face to face assessments.

Teesside University graduate Helen Shinner said: “Many apprentices have been studying their apprenticeship for two years or more. They’ve put in an extraordinary amount of hard work to progress their learning and succeed in their role. Now, through no fault of their own, they are facing an indefinite wait to be assessed and continue on their career path.”

1st for EPA currently assesses the HR Consultant/Partner standard and will soon offer assessment for Business Administrator, HR Support and Digital Marketer.

Helen continued: “While employers are facing tough calls across their businesses, encouraging their apprentices to complete their programmes can be a relatively straight-forward consideration. Investing in employees now will reap huge rewards in the future, both for employee engagement and long-term motivation to drive the company forward.”

Apprenticeships are a key way for employers to train their workforce and remain competitive now and into the future. With no age limit, apprenticeships can be used to upskill existing employees as well as to hire new talent. Apprenticeships are open to both levy payers and SMEs.