Employer Reference Guidance – Q&A

Written on: 20 March 2019

Written by: Baltic Apprenticeships



As part of your duties as an apprentice’s mentor, you will be expected to provide a comprehensive picture of their progress throughout the apprenticeship. Read on to find out the answers to our most commonly asked questions about employer references.

Q: What is the Employer Reference?

A: The employer reference is where you will provide your views of the quality of your apprentice’s work in a range of competencies, skills, attitudes and behaviours set out as per the apprenticeship standard. This will be a working document that is completed at different stages of the apprenticeship.

Q: Is the employer reference mandatory?

A: Yes, the completion of the reference is mandatory for all apprentices as it forms part of the End Point Assessment (EPA) and will contribute to the apprentice’s final grade. Without the reference your apprentice cannot achieve their apprenticeship.

Q: How much will the reference impact the EPA grade?

A: This cannot be quantified as there are four impacting factors on the grade, however, official Government guidance states:

The grading decision is made on the basis of a holistic assessment of the totality of the evidence presented - including the portfolio, synoptic project, EMPLOYER REFERENCE and interview.

Q: How long will the reference take to complete?

A: This depends on the frequency with which it is reviewed by you, and how much detail you put in. For the most positive impact on your apprentice, you should try to include as much detail as you can.

You will be required to complete relevant sections of the reference at months 3, 6, 9 and 10 of the apprenticeship if you have a level 3 apprentice and months 4, 9, 13 and 15 if you have a level 4 apprentice. For the first three instances completion should take 20 – 30 minutes and the final instance 30 – 40 minutes.

Q:What detail do I include in the reference?

A: You will detail specific examples of how your apprentice has shown required competencies within their role that meet the requirements of the apprenticeship. You should detail what the task was that shows competence, what they did as part of the task and the impact they had whilst doing it. In addition you should also refer to the work that the apprentice has completed as part of their portfolio which their Baltic assessor has signed off.

Q: What if my apprentice hasn’t demonstrated the required competencies?

A: Your apprentice’s assessor will work with you to help complete the relevant sections and provide advice and guidance on how they have met all competencies. You will only be asked to complete sections of the reference that we have been able to sign off and you will also refer to your apprentice’s portfolio to provide specific examples of how each competency has been met.

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