The National Skills Academy for Food & Drink launches new assessment tool

Wednesday, January 23, 2019 - 13:04

We are pleased to introduce our new Occupational Assessment Tool (OAT)

Specially developed by the National Skills Academy for Food & Drink, OAT can be used by Employers or Training Providers to assess whether apprentices are meeting the baseline of current knowledge, skills and behaviours as required by the apprenticeship standard.

The tool can be used by any Employer or Training Provider to assess against any apprenticeship standard regardless of sector.

It is a requirement of the apprenticeship funding rules that each learner on an apprenticeship requires significant new knowledge, skills and behaviours and this must be evidenced.

IFA guidance of “You and the main provider must be satisfied that the apprenticeship is the most appropriate learning programme for the individual and have evidence (to be kept by the main provider) that it is either:

E11.1 a new job that requires new knowledge and skills; Or E11.2 an existing job role, where the individual needs significant new knowledge, skills and behaviours to be occupationally competent.”

OAT for Employers

Selecting the right person for an apprenticeship can be a challenging process, but how can you be sure the standard you have chosen is the right one for them? Do you understand their current level of skills, knowledge, and behaviours in comparison to the apprenticeship standard you want to use? Do you know what progress your learner is making towards End Point Assessment (EPA) once on the programme?

OAT can be used by businesses to help select the right employees for apprenticeship programmes, ensure they are meeting the requirements of new skills and knowledge of a particular apprenticeship standard and help monitor the progress of employees through to End Point Assessment.

When taking on an apprentice OAT will allow businesses to conduct an initial assessment of their abilities, followed by five progress assessments which can be used to test their skills, knowledge and behaviours as they prepare for their End Point Assessment. This is particularly useful as it will give an indication as to what areas the Apprentice needs support on in the run-up to EPA and help inform decisions on when to enter an apprentice into the gateway.

Benefits of the tool

  • Employers can support assessments of staff to understand current competency levels against an industry developed occupational standard. This enables you to identify skills gaps within the workforce, and develop programmes to bridge those gaps.
  • When considering apprenticeship programmes, employees can complete a supported self assessment against multiple standards. This enables you to determine the most appropriate standard for your organisation, in order for you to engage with training providers.
  • Results of the initial self assessment can be used when working with your chosen provider to collate evidence that the right people are on the right programmes, build individual learning plans and negotiate costs of programme. This ensures that current apprenticeship guidance is being met.
  • You are able to support your employee through 6 self assessments throughout their learning programme against the statements in the standard. This enables you to independently track progress and understand where the learner believes they are in relation to the standard.
  • The final assessment can be used to confidently determine the employees readiness to enter gateway. This enables the employer to make an informed judgement when signing the declaration at entry to gateway.

OAT for Training Providers

Are you fully assessing your Apprentices against the Apprenticeship Standards to demonstrate their baseline competence? Are you then tracking them regularly through the programme to evaluate progress and End Point Assessment (EPA) readiness?

There is now particular emphasis on baseline competence, evidence packs and funding rates. Providers are expected to negotiate costs, duration of programme and content. The individual learning plan should indicate what knowledge, skills and behaviours are required to progress through to EPA.

The NSAFD have developed the Occupational Assessment Tool (OAT) to assess baseline of current knowledge, skills and behaviours as required by the standard. This will support with development of an individual learning plan and ensure apprentice progress is tracked and evidenced.

OAT allows you to assess apprentices up to 6 times throughout their programme to demonstrate their progress through to EPA.

Who benefits from the tool?

  • The Provider - They can use the results of the initial assessment to demonstrate the apprentice is on the right standard, and contribute to the development of an individual learning plan. Subsequent assessments can be used to track progress and identify support required, stretch and challenge in preparation for EPA.
  • The Employer - They will be confident their apprentice is on the right standard, and will have a clear view of their progress and readiness for EPA.
  • The Apprentice - It will give them the best possible start to their apprenticeship and will enable them to take control of their development and see their progress throughout the programme.


If you are interested in purchasing access to the tool or would like more info please email or call 0845 644 0558.