What is a synoptic project and how do I prepare for it?

Written on: 19 November 2020

Written by: Frances Hardcastle

Topic

[Apprentices, EPA Guide]

What is a Synoptic Project?

The Synoptic Project brings together the skills and knowledge you've developed throughout your apprenticeship, giving you the opportunity to showcase your abilities. We call this the Synoptic Project because it provides your EPA assessor with a summary - or synopsis - of what you can do.

The Synoptic Project is one of the last requirements for many apprenticeship programmes and forms part of the End Point Assessment. For this part of the EPA, you'll be asked to work on a business-related project. This is usually done over several days, depending on your apprenticeship programme. At Baltic Apprenticeships, the Synoptic Project is usually done over 3 or 5 days.

The Synoptic Project is just one element of the EPA, alongside your portfolio and interview.

Will I Need to Do a Synoptic Project?

EPA is changing for many new Apprenticeship Standards, which means that the Synoptic Project is being reviewed or adjusted for some programmes.

At the moment, the Synoptic Project is part of the final assessment for all Baltic Apprenticeships programmes, except for Level 3 Data Technician and Level 4 Marketing Executive. For these apprenticeships, the assessment is a bit different. Data Technicians complete shorter "Scenario Demonstrations" as part of the interview phase. Marketing Executive apprentices will do a work-based project over about four months, and present it in a "Project Showcase."

When does the Synoptic Project take place?

Your Synoptic Project can be completed after you've been on programme for 12 months, or longer if you're on a Level 4 programme. This will be after you've finished your technical training and had your final review session with your Learning Mentor. At Baltic, we'll work with you and your manager to book in some dates that work for you.

You'll need to dedicate a series of full days to your Synoptic Project, just like you did with your technical training.

Choosing Your Synoptic Project

Once the dates for your Synoptic Project have been decided, you can start to get things ready.

With some of our programmes, such as Digital Marketing and our Software Development apprenticeships, you will be able to choose your Synoptic Project from a few different options. You'll receive a summary of each project before your assessment start date, so you'll have time to think things through and make your choice.

When deciding on your project, you should think about which one you'd feel most comfortable working on, and which option would best suit your skills and knowledge. 

How to Prepare

Below are some quick tips to help you prepare for your Synoptic Project.

Synoptic Project Tip 1: Get Set Up

Before starting your Synoptic Project, your employer will make sure you have the equipment and resources you'll need. This will usually include a laptop or PC, internet access and the use of any software, including Word, Excel and presentation applications, along with the tools you use in your day-to-day work.

It's also important to have a quiet space to work in, away from any distractions so you can focus on the project and make the most of your time. Due to social distancing guidance and the rise of home working, you might find yourself doing your Synoptic Project remotely. This would be something we'd discuss personally when planning your assessment dates.

Related Blog: What's it like to do your EPA remotely?

Synoptic Project Tip 2: Do Some Practice

Before your Synoptic Project starts, you'll get a short summary of your project. You'll have to wait until Day One to read the complete project brief, but that doesn't mean you can't start planning.

If you know the general purpose of your project, you can do a bit of guesswork to figure out what you might have to do. After all, your Synoptic Project should be quite like the tasks you already do in your workplace.

Try to do some revision around good practices for your subject. For example, if you're doing a Software Development project, the Software Development Lifecycle is a framework that might be useful. If you're doing a project around IT networks, you could have a go with Packet Tracer - an online simulation tool where you can practice building and troubleshooting networks. If you're a Digital Marketer, perhaps remind yourself of the steps you take when planning a new campaign. 

Any kind of practice can come in handy and make you feel more confident about the project. 

Synoptic Project Tip 3: Read the Project Documents (and then read them again)

On the first day of your Synoptic Project, you can open your project documents. These will contain all the relevant guidance and data you'll need to over the next few days.

The best way to start is to read through everything in detail. You may be asked to analyse data from your information pack as part of your project.

By taking the time to go through everything before you start working, you'll be able to plan what you need to do during the assessment. Good planning can help you reduce stress and achieve your best possible grade.

Synoptic Project Tip 4: Enjoy Yourself!

The Synoptic Project isn't designed to catch you out - it will be based on tasks you've done before, either in training or as part of your job role. Your Synoptic Project is your chance to show your assessor - and yourself - how far you've come.

Note: This blog was originally published in November 2019. It has been expanded and updated to reflect changes to apprenticeship assessment, and to include further preparation advice.

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