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Ofqual seeks apprenticeship director to lead new ‘field team’

From FE Week:

Ofqual is hiring a director to lead a new apprenticeships team that will be “operating in the field” as it steps up its regulatory work in the end-point assessment market.

This “critical new function” will include a team of nine who work remotely to find out if assessments are being delivered “appropriately and consistently”.

Led by the ‘associate director for vocational and technical qualifications assessment delivery’, a job advert for whom is currently live with an annual salary offer of up to £71,050, the team will be “deployed to monitor, evaluate and report on” end-point assessment organisations (EPAOs). They will “secure evidence and insight” that can be used to “address risks that EPAs do not deliver a sufficiently valid and reliable measure of occupational competence”.

The recruitment drive comes a month after a consultation on plans for Ofqual to become the external quality assurer (EQA) for all but integrated degree apprenticeships within the next two years was launched.

Currently there are 20 EQA organisations, a mix of professional bodies, employers and quangos, which monitor the near-300 EPAOs that run examinations for apprentices.

The consultation states that all EPAOs will need to become registered with Ofqual over time.

The exams regulator’s job advert states that its work in apprenticeships has increased over recent years, and will be “growing again over the next two years as more end-point assessments become regulated”. The new director and field team’s work will range between “very broad thematic activities looking across or within apprenticeships standards, industry sectors or assessment methodologies to highly specific activity looking at aspects of single provider, niche provision”. Activity will “routinely include working alongside Professional Body and Employer representatives and the Associate Director will need to work with the wider VTQ leadership team and external organisations including the Institute for Apprenticeships to draw on and maximise the impact of sector expertise”.

Field operations could include “supporting EPAO fora to discuss and resolve identified inconsistencies in EPA delivery or to secure greater comparability in the level of demand of assessments between different EPAOs delivering against the same apprenticeship standard”. “The field team may give targeted advice to individual EPAOs, produce thematic reports on cross cutting issues and gather intelligence or evidence that will inform subsequent compliance activity,” the job advert added. “Field work approaches must be designed to be both adaptable and targeted and could range between very broad thematic activities looking across or within apprenticeship standards, industry sector or assessment methodologies to highly specific activity looking at aspects of single provider, niche provision.”

The deadline for applications to the director role is 19 April. Interview dates are scheduled for May 2020, but they’re subject to change in light of the coronavirus pandemic.


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