EQA has a crucial role to play in ensuring that apprentices are assessed fairly and consistently and that different end-point assessment organisations are interpreting assessment plans consistently. This session at the flagship national EPA conference will update delegates on the development and implementation of External Quality Assurance arrangements including the Institute’s enhanced overall framework for EQA; and emerging findings from early EQA activity from four EQA providers.

We look forward to seeing you at this EQA session at the EPA 2019 conference – Quality and Independence in Assessment on 13 June at the Marriott Hotel in Leicester.


To see the full programme for EPA 2019 and to book click here: EPA 2019 – Quality and independence in assessment.


‘Making EQA work’ participants:


Alex Morris, Head of Apprenticeship Quality Assurance, Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education

Alex has led the Institute’s work on assessment and quality assurance since the organisation was set up in April 2017. He has previously worked on a range of vocational education and skills policies in DfE, BIS and the Cabinet Office.

Steve Walker, Associate Director, Apprenticeships External Quality Assurance, Ofqual
As co-founder of a local college Steve spent 10 years as a teacher, assessor and curriculum developer before joining QCA in vocational qualifications policy.  He has held a variety of roles within the Department for Education and the Standards and Testing Agency prior to joining Ofqual where he has worked since 2015 on standards, design and development, and now overseeing all aspects of Ofqual’s External Quality Assurance process for new Apprenticeship Standards.

Neil Cruickshank, Head of External Quality Assurance, People 1st International  
Neil is head of external quality assurance at People 1st International and has been at the forefront of the implementation of the of the employer-led external quality assurance (EQA) model. People 1st International is approved by the IfATE as an EQA provider across the hospitality, retail, aviation and travel sectors, having been nominated by employers to manage the EQA process on their behalf. Neil has over 25 years of experience within education quality assurance across a variety of industries.

Barry Smith, Head of Assessment, National Skills Academy for Rail (NSAR)
Barry is Head of Assessment at NSAR, having previously been Director of Assessment at EU Skills. After teaching in Edinburgh, he worked in non-departmental public bodies (NCVQ and QCA) before moving across to the private sector where he led major government evaluation and policy implementation programmes for various private sector organisations. Barry is one of the authors of the FAB Qualification Manager’s Handbook.

Heather Akehurst, Chief Executive, Open Awards
Heather has been CEO of Open Awards for over 5 years and is also Chair of Liverpool Council for Voluntary Service and a member of the North West Business Team and NCVO Reference Group. She is committed to ensuring that all Open Awards provision fulfils the organisation’s mission ‘to change lives through learning’.