Sam Sleight from Brooks and Kirk explains the qualifications and routes available to become an Assessor:
Hundreds and hundreds of people Google 'how to become an assessor' on a monthly basis. It's a question that is asked by many, but answered effectively by very few. Hopefully, after reading this article you will feel like it's not as complicated as what everyone makes out after all.
You need occupational competence
It all starts with having 'occupational competence'. NVQ assessors can assess in whatever area it is that they are occupationally competent in. For example, if you have 10 years experience working in the Health Care industry and you hold your Level 3 in Health and Social Care, then it's safe to say you would be occupationally competent to assess candidates up to a level 3 standard in Health and Social Care. Whereas, it's unlikely that you would be deemed occupationally competent to assess Level 3 NVQs in Bricklaying.
Providing you are occupationally competent in the sector you are looking to assess within, then the next step is achieving your assessor qualification.
Choosing the right assessor qualification
The following assessor qualifications are available:
- Level 3 Award in Understanding the Principles and Practices of Assessment
- Level 3 Award in Assessing Competence in the Work Environment (ACWE)
- Level 3 Award in Assessing Vocationally Related Achievement (AVRA)
- Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (CAVA)
If you are looking to assess NVQ candidates, then the qualification you will need is the CAVA. On completion of this qualification, you would be qualified to carry out both competency based and knowledge based assessments. This means that you can assess a candidate throughout their entire NVQ.
However, if you are only looking to do classroom based assessments, then the qualification you need is the AVRA. This will qualify you to assess vocational skills, knowledge and understanding. Alternatively, if you were only looking to assess learners in the workplace, then the ACWE would be the right qualification for you. This would only qualify you to carry out competency based assessments.
So just to clarify, both the AVRA and the ACWE wouldn't make you a fully qualified assessor. Only the CAVA will enable you to assess a learners' occupational competency and vocational knowledge, skills and understanding.
Why is there no mention of the A1, D32/33 or TAQA?
Quite simply, because they confuse people!
The current suite of assessor qualifications replaced the A1 award in 2010. And before the A1 was the D32/33 assessor qualification. As these are now in the past, just try to pretend that you have never heard about them. If you are looking to become an assessor, the only qualifications you need to be concerned with, are the ones that are bullet pointed above.
As for the term TAQA, worryingly enough, you will find that most people that use this term aren't even aware of what it means themselves. It stands for Training, Assessment and Quality Assurance. Essentially, TAQA refers to the suite of assessor and quality assurance qualifications. So the best way to look at it, is that the assessor qualifications are just a component of TAQA. If you aren't aware of the quality assurance qualifications then make sure you keep reading this article.
The assessor course itself
There is quite a lot of organisations out there delivering the assessor qualification, so it is important that you find the course that is right for you. Obviously, that all starts with making sure you are looking at organisations that deliver the qualification you need i.e. the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (CAVA).
Every training organisation has different entry requirements for the course. Whilst some training companies will require learners on their courses to have English, Maths and ICT skills to a level 2 standard, most companies will say that there are no formal entry requirements. Going back to the first point, the only requirement for most organisations is that you are occupationally competent in the area you are looking to go on to assess in.
Duration of courses can stretch anywhere from 1 - 12 months dependent on which assessor qualification you are looking to achieve and the delivery model for the course. Assessor training providers will have varying delivery models for their courses; some may use blended learning, which involves online learning and attended sessions, others may cover the theory through classroom based sessions.
If you were looking at completing the CAVA or the ACWE then you would need to assess two candidates in the work environment. Although you will find that most assessor training providers will require you to have access to the candidates to assess as part of your course, there are some organisations that will be able to provide you with access to the candidates for you to assess.
Going into the big wide world of assessing
Once you have occupational competence and achieved your assessor qualification, then you will be ready to start applying for jobs as an NVQ assessor.
Progression routes available
After you have built up experience in assessing, then you may want to look at what progression routes are available. This is where the Quality Assurance part of TAQA comes in; the Level 4 Internal Quality Assurance (formerly IV) qualifications are ideal for any looking to take the next step up in their career.
If you want to find out more about the IQA courses that are available and what the role of an IQA involves, then keep an eye out for another article over the coming weeks with a more in depth look into the Internal Quality Assurance qualifications.
I hope this has helped anyone who was unsure before on what the process of becoming an assessor involved. Good luck with getting your assessor qualification and the job you want!
Sam Sleight, Head of Marketing, Brooks and Kirk (Assessor Training) Ltd