Preparing Apprentices for EPA: Interviews and Professional Discussions

Here’s further educations Training Provider Guide on what interviews and professional discussions are and how to prepare your apprentices (written by Helen Shinner):


You should ensure your apprentices:

  • Receive the email confirmation when the interview/discussion is booked, and add the date and time to their calendar.

  • Test the software that will be used.

  • Book a quiet room where they won’t be disturbed.

  • Have access to a computer with a webcam, internet connection and a microphone or telephone.

  • Read the toolkit and know how long the interview/discussion is, and how many questions to expect. This way they can work out how long to speak for each question – this is usually several minutes.

  • Understand the assessment criteria and practice speaking around each of these, giving examples of how they have met them in their role.

  • Practice using terminology that demonstrates not only knowledge of theory, but also how skills and behaviours have been applied. This guide gives tips on doing this: 6 Ways to Demonstrate Skills and Behaviours in End Point Assessment.


  • Apprentices must bring photographic ID to verify their identity – they won’t be able to take part if they don’t.

  • Apprentices can have their notes or the assessment criteria in front of them. They shouldn’t read from notes but may refer to them throughout the interview or discussion.

  • Coach your apprentices to speak in the first person – they should talk about “I” not “we”. Often apprentices fall into the trap of talking about “my team” or “my department” however assessors can only award marks for what the apprentice has done.

  • It’s fine for apprentices to reflect on their past actions or performance. If they did one thing in the past but would take a different course of action now, they should say so – this shows the assessor they have evaluated their performance and developed their skills.

  • Where the interview or professional discussion is based on a portfolio or a specific piece of work, the apprentice should focus their answers on this. They may also bring in evidence from other areas of their work if it helps demonstrate how they have met the assessment criteria.

  • Assessors know the assessment criteria and will focus the interview or discussion on these criteria. Apprentices should pay attention to exactly what the assessor is asking and answer accordingly. If the assessor tries to move the conversation on, this should indicate to the apprentice that they have sufficiently covered the criteria being discussed.

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