What to expect from your End Point Assessment 

The End Point Assessment is an evaluation which is completed by learners at the end of their apprenticeship or training course to ensure they are competent in their occupational role in rail. The rail-related End Point Assessment can only be offered by organisations that are recognised by the Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (OFQUAL). This assessment is now a compulsory part of all apprenticeships in England to ensure that learners are fully capable of their job before they receive their certificates.  

CIRO’s application for recognition by The Office of Qualifications and Examinations Regulation (OFQUAL) as an EPAO has been successful. Following a rigorous process of review for the Train Driver Level 3 Apprenticeship standard conducted by OFQUAL into its practises, processes and recourses CIRO is able to offer End Point Assessments for the Train Driver Level 3 apprenticeship. The learning process typically takes 12-18 months to complete and consists of three stages. The first phase involves the student developing on-programme knowledge, skills, behaviours, and an understanding of safety procedures when operating a train. This is then adjudicated in the Employer Gateway where an employer makes the formal decision on whether the apprentice is ready for their final assessment. Lastly, students must then complete the End Point Assessment to gain their qualification of study.  


Employer Gateway Assessment 

Before completing the End Point Assessment, employers put apprentices forward for a Gateway Assessment. This process is necessary to establish if the apprentice has successfully completed all aspects of the apprenticeship and is ready for the final assessment. Before this stage can be completed the apprentice must have achieved at least two qualifications in English, Maths and ICT as well as obtaining a valid Train Driver’s License and Certificate. 

The Gateway process involves a student’s portfolio and evidence of study being sent off to an independent assessor to review, and if necessary, the training provider may also be consulted to assist with the final decision. This stage is vital to ensure that apprentices are occupationally competent to carry out their role as Train Drivers.  


CIRO’s End Point Assessment Process 

CIRO’s EPA  compromises of an online test, observation, and a professional discussion.  


1. Online Test  

The online test section of the End Point Assessment consists of 50 multiple choice questions which are both scenario and knowledge-based. This closed-book test must be completed in one hour and forty-five minutes and apprentices must achieve an overall score of 80% to pass. Once this part of the assessment has been finalised, the results will be communicated to the employer and student at the end of the process.  


2. Observation  

The observation section of the final assessment covers planned, degraded and emergency working. Whilst being observed, apprentices will be asked to: 

During this observation, the independent assessor will also ask the apprentice about the actions and choices they have made to complete the tasks. The total observation will take place in two hours and the results will be conveyed to the learner at the end of the exam.  


3. Professional Discussion  

The final stage of the End Point Assessment process, the professional discussion is a synoptic test which challenges apprentices on their knowledge, skills, and behaviour together to ensure competence. Like the observation stage, the discussion involves sections of planned, degraded and emergency working.  

Carried out over an hour period, the independent assessor selects 10 questions, from an industry standardised bank, to ask the apprentice. These scenario-based questions will be asked in a controlled environment away from the workplace, and students will not be able to bring any reference materials into the discussion. During the professional analysis, the assessor documents the questions asked as well as the apprentice’s response on a standardised question template.  



After an apprentice has completed their End Point Assessment it will be graded, and the student will be awarded either a pass or fail. The grade will be determined by the collective performance of all parts of the End Point assessment. This decision is communicated to the apprentice within 10 working days of the final submission.  


Register for your End Point Assessment with CIRO 

If you would like to register an apprentice with CIRO’s End Point Assessment service, contact the EPA team with the relevant details by phone: 07311 060603 or by email at epa@railwayoperators.co.uk