Training Provider Guidance for Commercial Procurement and Supply Apprenticeship Level 4 (APO3)


Guidance to prepare apprentices for their EPA.

    Registration and Gateway

    All apprentices must be enrolled onto the ACE360 EPA management system for the duration of the EPA. During Gateway, all requirements must be uploaded to ACE360 and the apprentice confirmed as ready for Gateway, along with an Enrolment form submitted via email for them to be enrolled in the EPA Opportunity. enrolment form.

    Training Providers could make use of the time between the final CIPS exam and before results are announced to begin getting apprentices compliant with the Gateway requirements which are – 
    - Have successfully completed the CIPS Level 4 Diploma in Procurement and Supply confirmed by CIPS as the EPAO
    - Have achieved English and Mathematics Level 2 (A*-C / 9-4 at GCSE). See EPA Policies and Procedures for other equivalents.
    - An appropriate title and scope of a work-based project, agreed with both CIPS and the apprentice’s employer, as this forms part of the EPA 
    As the training provider, it is your responsibility to ensure the apprentice’s gateway evidence is checked and forwarded to CIPS as part of the gateway requirement.
    Once diploma results are released (or upon gateway start date) CIPS will issue the Training Provider with ShareFile access. This is a secure platform where the Training Provider will be able to upload apprentices’ gateway evidence.
    CIPS will release feedback to Training Providers on the published dates via ACE360 and to Apprentices through their My CIPS accounts. This feedback will confirm whether Gateway evidence has been deemed acceptable and the apprentice can continue to EPA or not.
     
    In the case of any Gateway evidence not being acceptable CIPS will provide feedback to the Training Provider. There will be opportunity to resubmit amended / new evidence and join the next Gateway Opportunity.

    Training Providers could make use of the time between the final CIPS exam and before results are announced to begin getting apprentices compliant with the Gateway requirements which are-

    • Have successfully completed the CIPS Level 4 Diploma in Procurement and Supply confirmed by CIPS as the EPAO
    • Have achieved English and Mathematics Level 2 (A*-C / 9-4 at GCSE). 
    • An appropriate Project Title and Scope of a work-based project, agreed with both CIPS and the apprentice’s employer.

    As the training provider, it is your responsibility to ensure the apprentice’s gateway evidence is checked and forwarded to CIPS as part of the gateway requirement.

    CIPS will confirm via email, to the apprentices and their Training Provider that the gateway requirements have been met. The Training Provider will also receive feedback on each apprentice’s Project Title and Scope.

    In the case of any Gateway evidence not being acceptable CIPS will provide feedback to the Training Provider. There will be opportunity to resubmit amended / new evidence and join the next Gateway Opportunity.

    Project Title and Scope

    Each apprentice will submit a Project Title and Scope for gateway to be marked, moderated and returned with feedback. The Training Provider’s role during this is to advise the apprentice on how the Project Title and Scope Agreement should be identified and developed. 

    Once contracted, Training Providers will receive EPA assessment guides and access to all the required resources that can be used to advise the apprentices on how to complete each element of the Gateway and EPA.

    Once the Project Title and Scope Agreement has been agreed between the employer and apprentice, it is the Training Providers responsibility to review and upload it as a Word document to ACE360, along with a Declaration of Authenticity.

    CIPS will return the proposal form along with feedback to the training provider on the scheduled results release date.

    Project Report

    The apprentices will then have 13 weeks to complete their Project Report. The Training Provider must advise and guide the apprentice (and provide sufficient support and training) to ensure that a successful Project Report meets the criteria which can be found in the ‘Guide for Training Providers pack’ provided upon contracting.
    The Training Provider should provide the apprentice (and employer if necessary) with training and guidance on how the Project Report should be planned and written, ensuring that the apprentice is fully cognisant of the parameters set out in the ‘Guide for Training Providers’. It is imperative that the Training Provider fully understands the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviour marking criteria as set out by the ‘Apprenticeship Standard for a Public Sector Commercial Professional’ which can be found here.
    The Project Report must be submitted by the apprentice electronically to CIPS by the final submission date, via the Training Provider, who will liaise with CIPS to ensure that all relevant documentation is included. Once all documentation is received, the Training Provider will then submit the Project Report to CIPS for assessment by the agreed submission date.
    CIPS will return marked work to the Training Provider on the agreed results release date. Apprentices need to achieve a PASS or DISTINCTION to move on to the next EPA assessment.

    The apprentices will then have 13 weeks to complete their Project Report. The Training Provider must advise and guide the apprentice (and provide sufficient support and training) to ensure that a successful Project Report meets the criteria which can be found in the ‘Guide for Training Providers pack’ provided upon contracting.

    The Training Provider should provide the apprentice (and employer if necessary) with training and guidance on how the Project Report should be planned and written, ensuring that the apprentice is fully cognisant of the parameters set out in the ‘Guide for Training Providers’. It is imperative that the Training Provider fully understands the Knowledge, Skills and Behaviour marking criteria as set out by the ‘Apprenticeship Standard for a Commercial Procurement and Supply Professional’ which can be found here.

    The Project Report must be submitted by the training provider on behalf of the apprentice electronically to CIPS by the final submission date. The Training Provider, will liaise with CIPS to ensure that all relevant documentation is included. Once all documentation is received, the Training Provider will then submit the Project Report to CIPS for assessment by the agreed submission date.

    CIPS will return marked work to the Training Provider on the agreed results release date.

    Apprentices need to achieve a PASS or DISTINCTION to move on to the next EPA assessment.

    Presentation and Questioning

    Having successfully completed and passed their Project Report, apprentices must complete a Presentation and Questioning Assessment. Dates will have already been assigned by CIPS in line with the given opportunity. A Presentation and Questioning will be co-ordinated by CIPS and the Training Provider.
    The panel will consist of an Independent Assessor who is provided by CIPS and a Technical Expert. The Technical Expert must be from the apprentice’s place of work, have a minimum 3 years in experience in commercial procurement and hold a relevant professional qualification.
    Once Contracted, Training Providers will receive access to a web-video produced by CIPS that provides guidance on individual roles and expectations.
    The Training Provider is responsible for co-ordinating with the apprentice’s employer to book a suitable venue for the P&Q assessments. This should include a minimum of 2 separate rooms for each apprentice assessment: one interview room and one separate waiting/holding room (the waiting/holding room could be used for multiple apprentices if appropriate).
    A representative from the ATP (not part of the Presentation and Questioning panel), will provide administrative and logistics support on the day of the Presentation and Questioning, supporting the apprentices before and after the P&Q assessment. To ensure impartiality, the ATP will not be present during the P&Q assessment and will have no influence over the IA’s decision.
    The ATP should ensure that the apprentice is fully prepared for the P&Q assessment, providing sufficient practice assessments and training as necessary in advance of the assessment date.   The ATP should confirm that the apprentice fully understands requirements and marking criteria as listed in the ‘Guide for Training Providers’.
    ATPs are responsible for their own travel and subsistence booking and costs.  

    Having successfully completed and passed their Project Report, apprentices must complete a Presentation and Questioning Assessment. Dates will have already been assigned by CIPS in line with the given opportunity. A Presentation and Questioning Assessment will be co-ordinated by CIPS and the Training Provider.

    The panel will consist of an Independent Assessor who is provided by CIPS and a Technical Expert. The Technical Expert must be from the apprentice’s place of work, have a minimum 3 years in experience in commercial procurement and hold a relevant professional qualification.

    The Training Provider is responsible for co-ordinating with the apprentice’s employer to book a suitable venue for the P&Q assessments. This should include a minimum of 2 separate rooms for each apprentice assessment: one interview room and one separate waiting/holding room (the waiting/holding room could be used for multiple apprentices if appropriate).

    Once Contracted, Training Providers will receive access to a webinar recording to provide guidance on individual roles and expectations during the presentation and questioning assessment.

    A representative from the Training Provider (not part of the Presentation and Questioning panel), will provide administrative and logistics support on the day of the Presentation and Questioning, supporting the apprentices before and after the P&Q assessment. To ensure impartiality, the Training Provider will not be present during the P&Q assessment and will have no influence over the IA’s decision.

    The Training Provider should ensure that the apprentice is fully prepared for the P&Q assessment, providing sufficient practice assessments and training as necessary in advance of the assessment date.   The Training Provider should confirm that the apprentice fully understands requirements and marking criteria as listed in the ‘Guide for Training Providers’ and the assessment plan.

    Training providers are responsible for their own travel and subsistence booking and costs.  

    During the COVID-19 pandemic, flexibilities have been implemented to allow for Presentation and Questioning interviews to be conducted virtually through Microsoft Teams. Details on how to book the interview and guidance on how they will be conducted and the expectations and requirements of the Apprentice, Employer and Training Provider are all shared with Training Providers upon contracting.

    Outcome

    Following the Presentation and Questioning, the CIPS Independent Assessor will review and mark the assessments. The scores from both the Project Reports and Presentation and Questionings are combined to give an overall grade which is released as per the published date.

    To achieve a PASS apprentices must achieve a PASS or DISTINCTION in both assessments. In depth marking criteria for each assessment can be found within the EPA assessment pack.

    To Achieve a DISTINCTION apprentices must receive a DISTINCTION in both assessments.

    Once final results have been confirmed, CIPS will request certificates from the Education and Skills Funding Agency. 

    Information on re-sits, reviews and appeals can be found within the EPA Policies and Procedures, as well as in the ‘Guide for Training Providers’ you will receive after contracting with CIPS EPAO.

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