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“I feel I have become a better lecturer as a result of engaging with the APA”

27 Oct 2022 | Advance HE Shana Doyle-Axcell from UCFB completed the End-Point Assessment for the Level 7 Academic Professional Apprenticeship with a distinction, and discusses her experience with Advance HE.

The end-point assessment (EPA) for the Level 7 Academic Professional Apprenticeship (APA) is the final step in a course designed to develop early career academics from their entry point into employment in higher education to full professional competence. To understand more about the course and assessment, we spoke to Shana Doyle-Axcell, a Programme Leader for the MSc in Football Communications and Digital Marketing at UCFB. Shana completed the EPA in 2021 and achieved a distinction in the process. 

What were the biggest benefits of doing the APA for you? 

I feel I have become a better lecturer as a result of engaging with the APA. I had valuable opportunities to apply pedagogic theories to practice in safe environments both on campus and in the workplace which gave me confidence to explore new ways of applying new learning.  

Peer learning on the course widened my horizons as I discovered how others applied the same theories of learning and strategies in their own professions. Exemplars of how others demonstrate achievement of the APA Standard in their assignments, in their classroom teaching were also very helpful. 

What made you feel like you were ready to do the End-Point Assessment? 

I felt prepared to undertake the EPA because of the solid foundation I received as an apprentice on the APA. The mock Professional Conversation (PC) with my peers gave me confidence to meet my Independent Assessor (IA) at the EPA, as I was prepared for a variety of questions that I might encounter. Without this I would have been uncomfortable and nervous at the EPA PC. Additionally, the IA made the professional conversation more like an enjoyable experience – with a relaxed atmosphere. I was given every opportunity to articulate my teaching philosophy and clarify any questions the IA might have had with my answers, especially as my discipline was new to them. 

How did the APA help you after finishing the course? 

Reflecting on my APA experience, I can now remember the positive aspects well. The challenge of meeting the 20% Off the Job Training is something I dealt with in the way all my peers do, i.e. spend my weekends catching up and completing my assignments.  

During my APA, I was also promoted to Course Leader where I am now pursuing my Senior Fellowship with Advance HE. Now, I am a confident leader in Microsoft Teams and have been assigned research projects which may lead to changes in policies and strategies using new technologies within our university. 

End-Point Assessment (EPA) of the Level 7 Academic Professional Apprenticeship
The Level 7 Academic Professional Apprenticeship standard (L7 APA) has been created to develop early career academics from their entry point into employment in higher education to full professional competence, following either a teaching or research specialist route. The apprenticeship standard is aligned to both the UK Professional Standards Framework and the Research Development Framework, and typically lasts between 18 and 24 months. Find out more here.

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