NVQ Assessor Job Profile
An interview with CAW Business School Assessor, Caroline Horton…
Why did you want to become an assessor?
I have always enjoyed supporting and helping students and work colleagues so assessing just seemed a natural thing to do. So I thought it was a good idea to obtain the qualification to do this. I covered a class, then helped out with preparing students for an assessment (observation) in the workplace and decided that this was something that I wanted to be involved in.
How did you get into assessing?
I did not set out to become an assessor but fell into it by accident. I was working part time as a tutor and covered a class for a unit as part of their NVQ qualification. I continued to help out and then took over the teaching of a few more units. Then much later I took my assessor qualification in 1996. It meant that if I moved around the country I could easily get a job in another area as an assessor.
Do you have any helpful advice for studying and applying for an assessor role?
- To always be open to new ideas and ways of working
- Be organised and plan what you need to do
- Read and research areas that you need to improve and develop further
- Shadow an experienced assessor; you will learn so much by observing them and then discussing with them afterwards what and why they did things
- Be good (competent) at the subjects you are assessing
- Keep your own CV and CPD (Continuing Professional Development) records up to date
- Ensure you have level 2 Maths and English qualifications
- Be prepared to learn to use electronic portfolio systems
- If you apply for a role but are not successful then ask for feedback on how you can improve/develop for future roles
Which programmes do you currently assess?
I assess on business administration, customer service and medical administration. In the past I have assessed management, team leading, legal administration and business improvement techniques. I have also assessed students learning to become assessors and taught them the skills required.
What would you describe as a typical day?
- Checking emails and messages.
- Collecting and checking folders/computer and that I have everything I need.
- Setting off for the first visit of the day.
- Supporting the students by assessing them, giving them feedback, teaching them some new skills, helping them with their functional skills (English, Maths and ICT), checking progress with their line manager, undertaking a progress review, leaving the candidate work to do, planning and arranging the next visit.
- I then go to my next visit(s) of the day or return to the office.
- Back at the office I would process the paperwork and send out copies to the learner and employer, update tracker records, create any resources or materials needed for the next visit then check emails/messages and answer these.
- File records/materials away.
- Get the files ready for the next day’s visit(s).
- Every so often we have training and team meetings; so I catch up how the other assessors are getting on and we are updated on changes and new developments etc.
What is your favourite thing about your job?
I like being able to individualise the learning for a student that is relevant to their needs and employment. I love seeing someone improve and develop in their job and know that I have helped them improve their career prospects and helped them get their qualification. It is enjoyable going into workplaces and being able to keep up to date in my area of expertise. I enjoy being able to plan and organise my own work load and activities.
What is the least favourite thing about your job?
There isn’t one really. Sometimes it can be hard travelling long distances in bad weather but this is only for a few days a year and if the weather is that bad then I would cancel the visit. If a student forgets to tell you that they are not at work and you arrive at the workplace you can feel that it has been a waste of time. I always keep a list of students needing help and in this case would ring someone nearby and let them have an extra visit if it is convenient for them. On the whole my students are good at letting me know if they are not in work. Sometimes you can get held up in traffic but my students know that I will be there as soon as I can or I will ring them; this does not happen very often.
Have you had any unusual experiences within the role?
Not that I can think of. I remember once being in a nursery setting with a worker and eight two year olds and being told that they must not leave me alone with them; there was no way I was going to be left in the room with all those two year olds! I have been working in many different places over the years and across the country including warehouses, factories, shops, offices, hotels, a zoo, pubs, cafes, care homes, nurseries, schools, GP surgeries, hospitals, solicitors, charities etc. So you can see that you will have a varied range of different employment settings to work in and get to meet a range of different people. I have sometimes worked in the evenings when I have needed to observe a student at an event or function or when they have been working shift hours. I always try and meet their needs.
What are the benefits of being an assessor?
- Seeing students improve and develop in their job role
- Being able to manage your own diary and workload
- Seeing students achieve their qualification
- Building up a good working relationship with the employer and student
Is there anything you wish you had known beforehand?
I have really enjoyed working as an assessor and it was worth while getting the qualification to do this. At the time I did not really realise that I would always be able to get work as an assessor and it has opened up other career opportunities for me. I have got to work with many other assessors over the years and not just in my own area of expertise which has been interesting and valuable. I have been in many workplaces and different environments and met many lovely people over the years.
Any top tips for the role?
- Be organised
- Try to stay up to date with your work and own CPD and development
- Make sure you students know how to contact you (if they get stuck)
- Always be a passionate enthusiast about what you do as it will rub off on the students and employers
- Always be positive (even a bad situation can usually be turned round to something more positive)
- Enjoy your work as it is very rewarding
What opportunities are open to you once you become an Assessor?
After getting my assessor qualification I later got a qualification to internally quality check (internal quality assurer) the work of other assessors and to support them. I have also trained students to become assessors. In time you might work for an awarding body checking the work of centres (known as an external quality assurer). You might work in a college or training provider managing a small or large team of assessors. You may want to do more teaching and explore the qualifications and training for this. Above all I hope that you enjoy being an assessor as much as I have.