Your future is incredibly important to us

Mark Armitage

The next generation of talent will help the industry recover as quickly as possible from the COVID-19 pandemic, and help it grow in the future.

That’s why the IMI is supporting those studying for a range of qualifications to make sure they achieve their targets. Your future is incredibly important to us.

As you know from previous updates, we’ve been working hard to lobby and work with governing bodies to make sure no element of your studies is missed and that work continues:

End Point Assessment (EPA) plan

One key issue is that assessments have to flow in a certain order but the current situation means it isn’t always possible. We’ve agreed with regulators that we can deliver them in different sequences, meaning we can still continue with end point assessment activities for all apprentices, with some standards this can be through to successful completion.

Practical skills

Because of social distancing practical assessments aren’t possible, so some of the technicians’ skills assessments are being rescheduled or delayed. I’d encourage Centres to look at their delivery schedule, workshop capacity and plan those skills activities, because this will no doubt have a knock-on effect on next year too.

Remote assessment

Professional discussions and interviews are happening remotely and we’re now scheduling invigilation of online tests remotely too. We’ve trained our team of EPA assessors on remote invigilation and we’re scheduling those assessments now. So, for EPAs we will be providing a service to remotely invigilate online tests, meaning we can continue to push apprentices forward.

Changing times

Some assessment plans have to be completed in 90 days but we’ve agreed with regulators a relaxation in some of those timings, so apprentices will have up to 180 days to complete their assessments.

Working with governing bodies

My team continues to work closely with qualification regulators. Ofqual has released its draft extraordinary regulatory framework, setting out permitted approaches to vocational training with a consultation period that runs until 8 May. We’re working with Ofqual on what the framework will look and feel like to make sure it delivers everything necessary for learners.

New ways of working

Our External Quality Assurance team are working on new procedures for remote invigilation, working closely with centres to make sure they’re aware of adaptations so they can be ready to do remote observations. This situation has accelerated digital engagement and we’re testing different systems to evaluate which ones can be used. We could have up to 50,000 qualifications where people need to do online tests so we’ll be approving training centres to do that, and externally checking the robustness of those activities.

These are challenging times, but we’re striving to find solutions, and we can learn from what we’ve already achieved. We’ve delivered Finance EPAs in their entirety using remote technology, and Customer Service will be very similar. Of course, some roles will be impacted more than others but we aim to continue the apprenticeship and qualifications journeys for everyone.

We’re here to help, so if you have any questions please contact us on +44 (0)1992 519025, or send emails to
For all the latest updates and government-specific information head to our dedicated COVID-19 website.
Look after yourselves and your families.
With my very best wishes,