Operational Firefighter End-Point Assessment UPDATE

As an organisation that works closely with and specialises in the justice and community safety sectors, we applied and were accepted to offer the Operational Firefighter End-Point Assessment (EPA) at the earliest opportunity, as a clear commitment of our support for Apprenticeships and the Operational Firefighter Apprenticeship Standard. 

Approval of the Assessment Plan and an End-Point Assessment Organisation is the first step of the journey towards providing an effective EPA that is robust, consistent, fair and appropriate for both Apprentices and Fire and Rescue Services.  We have been developing our assessment instruments and guidance materials for this EPA to make sure that Apprentices and Fire and Rescue Services receive a high quality service. 

We have been working with the Operational Firefighter Trailblazer Group, IfATE, stakeholders and our own subject matter experts to ensure that any challenges or issues we have identified that may arise during the assessment process are resolved prior to the launch of our full service. This has resulted is some minor amendments to the original assessment plan, particularly in relation to the professional discussion marking scheme.

Following agreement from the Trailblazer Group, we are awaiting final confirmation from the IfATE with regard to our proposed marking scheme so that the assessment is robust, consistent, valid, fair and transparent. We recognise that the Apprenticeship Standard and EPA is new territory for everyone concerned and we have wanted to provide you with assessments and supporting materials that provide clarity and meet the needs of UK Fire and Rescue Services.  As a consequence, we have been delayed in providing our suite of assessments and supporting materials, for which we apologise, and we realise that this may have caused concern amongst our customers as they begin the Apprenticeship journey.   

Moving forward, we are pleased to announce that the supporting documentation for the Operational Firefighter EPA will be available by the end of July, subject to the confirmation of the marking scheme from the IfATE. This will include separate guidance for Fire and Rescue Services/Training Providers and Apprentices. The guidance will include: information on the EPA and the responsibilities of the different parties involved; SFJ Awards’ approach to the EPA including the changes to the plan that have been agreed with the Trailblazer Group and the IfATE; information about the assessments including grade descriptors, example multiple choice and professional discussion questions, how the practical observation will be carried out; and forms to support the EPA process.

Once this documentation is in place, we will also be running our first Operational Firefighter EPA webinar, so that people can ask questions about the EPA and we can provide further clarity on all aspects of the experience for Apprentices and Fire and Rescue Services.

Please watch this space for announcements on this first in a series of webinars that we will be hosting.  Future webinars will focus on individual aspects of the EPA process. Register your interest here:

If you are looking for a robust, end-to-end quality assurance process for your EPA, please contact our team on 0114 284 1970 or email epa@sfjawards.com and we will be happy to provide you with further information and pricing. Please see our website for more details on all of our apprenticeship standards.