Article on Preparing for End Point Assessment with apprentice Abbie Hicken

Apprenticeships in England are successfully completed once the apprentice passes their End Point Assessment (EPA). The EPA is designed to check that the knowledge, skills and behaviours of the apprentice meets industry standards, ensuring apprentices can work competently and confidently in their place of work.

The EPA consists of:

  • An online multiple choice knowledge test
  • A professional discussion
  • A practical observation of the apprentice carrying out a range of tasks

Many apprentices can find the thought of this daunting but at Haddon Training we ensure that every learner is prepared and feels confident going into their EPA.

We wanted to provide an insight into the preparation we give our apprentices, and so we spoke with current apprentice Abbie Hicken, who after fifteen months on her apprenticeship is now working towards her EPA whilst at Dan Skelton Racing.

Abbie says, I have always had ponies from a young age; I struggled academically, and an apprenticeship really suited me because I could work and be employed, alongside learning more about the industry. I chose a career in racing because of the horses; working with them every day you create a bond and then being able to take them to the races and watch them win is amazing.

I am currently leading up to my EPA and so I am spending time with my Trainer Coach and Senior Staff on the yard to make sure all my skills are completed to a high standard ready for practical observation.  In my EPA I will be shadowed by an independent Assessor throughout morning stables and then once they have observed me at work, they will then complete a professional discussion with me on a range of topics. The Assessor will also look through my portfolio which I have created over the last fifteen months and includes evidence of my knowledge and videos of my skills.

My Trainer Coach, Sam, has supported me throughout my apprenticeship, teaching me and helping me create my portfolio.  Leading up to EPA we are having regular revision sessions before I undertake a mock EPA, so I become fully aware of what the EPA will involve and how it will work.  Being a practical person, the knowledge test worries me a little, but I will have revised and completed a mock beforehand to make sure I feel comfortable for the test.

I feel confident that I will be fully prepared for my EPA, and I have enjoyed my apprenticeship and learning new skills that are different to my everyday routine such as clipping, poulticing, and bandaging which will allow me to progress in my role in the future.  I really enjoy working at Dan Skelton’s and working with top performing horses. The team we have here is brilliant so my plans for the future is to pass my apprenticeship and then continue to learn more in my workplace and enjoy my time here.”

Assistant Trainer at Dan Skelton Racing, Tom Messenger, adds, “We have had a few learners go through their EPA with Haddon Training and this method of assessment suits us very well.  It ensures that our apprentices are fully competent in performing their duties and that they have a solid understanding of the tasks needed in their job role.  Knowing the EPA process as a yard ensures we can properly prepare Abbie alongside her Trainer Coach and help her to recap and revise all she has learnt throughout her time on the apprenticeship.  We feel confident that Abbie will be able to achieve the high standards set out in the EPA.”
Thanks go to Abbie and Tom for talking us through the EPA from their perspective and we wish Abbie the very best for her EPA and future racing journey!


Find out more about our racing apprenticeships in England and Wales! You can contact our team today or get in touch with our Lead Racing Expert Sam Davies-Thomas by calling him on 01672 518455 or emailing him at