How to…with Highfield: Professional discussions

What should you expect from a professional discussion? A guide for employer representatives
Professional discussions are two-way, structured conversations between an assessor (or a panel of assessors) and an apprentice. They are designed to test an apprentice’s in-depth understanding of their work, and forms a key part of the end-point assessment of many apprenticeship standards.

Employer representatives are allowed to attend the professional discussion, dependent on the apprenticeship standard.  

What can you do as an employer representative?
As an employer representative attending a professional discussion, there are a few things you are allowed to do. These include:

Supporting and backing up what the apprentice is saying, and confirming if the required examples provided are a true reflection of the apprentice’s performance in their job role

Providing guidance to the assessor in terms of policy and practice when requested by the assessor, or assisting in contextualising the discussion if required. For example, if the assessor asks about ‘individual action plans’ but your organisation calls them ‘personal development plans’.

Giving information or clarification as requested by the assessor, or prompting the apprentice in relation to remembering particular events or occurrences that are relevant to the discussion. For instance, you can say, ‘Can you remember what happened last Tuesday when you were at XXXXXXX?’

Providing any other input as requested by the assessor.

What you can’t do
There are a few things you can’t do however. These include:

  • taking on the role of the assessor by leading the discussion
  • answering a question on behalf of the apprentice
  • directly leading the apprentice by relating a prompt to a particular area of the standard that is being assessed.

Employers are advised only to provide input when required by the assessor – most professional discussions are time restricted, so the assessment will focus solely on the apprentice and not on the employer’s input.

For more information and guidance on end-point assessment, and the support Highfield can offer, go to www.highfieldassessment.com

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