Assessing in Retirement

Assessing in Retirement

For most of us, retirement is a lifelong dream that we start thinking about almost as soon as we enter the workforce! The thought of endless days of lounging, time with family, and finally taking up those hobbies we’ve always wanted to learn seems heavenly.

However, sometimes the reality of retirement is an altogether different thing! Some folks will find themselves missing the pace of working life and the sense of satisfaction they get from a hard day’s work. Others might find they simply miss the company, or don’t seem to have enough going on to fill their days. And, for some, they think how nice it would be to just have a little extra in the bank for a more comfortable retirement.

If any of the above sounds like you, then you might find you’re a perfect candidate to be a Freelance Assessor in retirement.


What does a Freelance Assessor do?

A Freelance Assessor assesses learners undergoing training to achieve their NVQ qualifications.

So, what’s the difference from a regular Assessor? Well, that’s the good part – how much you work and at what rate of pay is up to you! This makes it the perfect option for those looking for part-time flexible hours at an excellent hourly rate.


How much does a Freelance Assessor earn?

This varies! As a Freelance Assessor, you would largely be able to charge your own rate. However, the industry standard is around £20-25 p/h.


Am I eligible to become a Freelance Assessor?

If you can answer ‘yes’ to the following questions, then you are very likely eligible to train as a Freelance Assessor:

  • Do you have a minimum of two years’ working experience in a vocational field?
  • Do you have vocational qualifications in your field? E.g. An NVQ?
  • Do you want to work with future generations aspiring to work in your previous career field?

If you meet all the above criteria, then congratulations! You’re eligible to train as a Freelance Assessor.


Do I have to have an NVQ to become a Freelance Assessor in retirement?

In the above criteria, we’ve listed having an NVQ as a mandatory requirement. However, there are some training providers who will accept a significant amount of relevant work experience in the necessary field in place of a formal qualification.


How do I become a Freelance Assessor?

If you answered ‘yes’ to all our eligibility questions, then all that’s left to do is enrol onto the Assessor course that’s right for you.

There are 3 different courses to choose from; each of which differs slightly from the others:

So, if you want to become a fully-qualified Assessor who can work in both the classroom and the workplace, you’ll need to complete the CAVA course.


Assessing in Multiple Sectors

Most of us will move through several careers over our working life. If this applies to you, then you may find you’re eligible to assess in more than one vocational field! The great news is that the Assessor qualifications are not industry-specific; which means if you meet the eligibility criteria for more than one vocational field, you’ll be qualified to assess in all of them after completing a the CAVA course.


Finding work as a qualified Freelance Assessor

You may be wondering how you’d find work after all this is done. If you’re not employed, how are you getting clients?

Well, there are a few ways to promote your services as a Freelance Assessor.

  • Apply through a job site – Many institutions will advertise their need for Freelance Assessors on classic job sites such as Indeed and Reed. However, in these cases, they’ll usually stipulate how much they’re willing to pay.
  • Search through a relevant community network – As well as traditional job sites, you’ll also find there are sites advertising assessment work specifically, such as The Assessor’s Guild.
  • Sign up to specialist recruitment agencies – Some recruitment agencies specialise in training and assessment. Getting yourself on these agencies’ books can mean they do the work for you, putting you forward for relevant roles.
  • Self-promotion – Then, of course, you could bypass the above and promote yourself. You can create a website to advertise your services, reach out to local training providers, and attend relevant conferences to make connections in your industry.

Is there an upper age limit?

Not at all! Anyone who’s still got that spring in their step is more than welcome to enrol. As a matter of fact, our oldest student was 71!


Ready to learn more?

If after reading this, you’re thinking this might be the perfect retirement earner for you, then we recommend getting in touch today. We at Brooks and Kirk can guide you through the application process to enrol on to the CAVA course and help you prepare for the next steps.

Making Sense of NVQ Assessor Job Vacancies

Making Sense of NVQ Assessor Job Vacancies

With NVQ Assessor roles salaried at £25k-£35K per annum, landing a job in one of these positions is a big deal. You may have come across job postings for these roles and been drawn to the high starting wage; the opportunity to travel between sites; or the chance to pass on your skills and knowledge to the next generation in your industry. Whatever your reason for looking into NVQ Assessor job vacancies or IQA vacancies, you want to make sure you’re applying for the ones you’re most qualified in, to get the best chance of getting called to an interview.


Making Sense of the Jargon

When looking for NVQ Assessor job vacancies or IQA job vacancies, you may never see the term ‘NVQ Assessor’ or ‘Internal Verifier’. Many companies have their own terminology for their in-house assessors and quality assurers.

Here are just a few we found on a quick search of the job sites:

  • Regional Trainer (£22,965 – £24,055)
  • IQA Assessor (£23,000)
  • Trainer Assessor (£24,190 – £25,974)
  • Direct Delivery Trainer (£28,694)
  • Employability Coach (£19,553 – £23,300)

As you can see, the terminology used varies, which can make it even tougher to find the right position when searching for NVQ Assessor job vacancies or IQA vacancies.

Yet, all these jobs listed above require applicants to have some level of qualification from within the TAQA Framework.


How to Determine if I’m Qualified

Do I have the relevant experience?

Relevant experience, or ‘occupational competence’, is the first thing any employer will look for when hiring a new assessor. In the simplest terms, ‘occupational competence’ means you’ve worked in your industry for a certain amount of time at the required level, to have enough experience to recognise that someone else is doing the job well. It can also mean you have a high enough level of qualification within your industry to give you the expertise you need to assess others.

Different employers will have different requirements when it comes to the criteria they want their applicants to meet to show they have occupational competence. This will usually be specified by the number of years someone has had in a role or the level of NVQ training an applicant has undertaken in the industry.

Have I got the relevant qualification(s)?

When you’re not seeing the expected job title in your searches, you may start to wonder exactly what roles you are and aren’t qualified for. That’s when you need to start looking at the qualifications section of the NVQ Assessor job vacancies or IQA vacancies posts.

Depending on which course you have taken, you will be qualified to:

So, when looking to see whether you’re qualified for a position, you should start by checking the qualifications section of the post and searching for the title or acronym of your qualification.


I don’t see my qualification listed in the job description?

The qualifications framework for Assessors and Internal Verifiers has changed over the years. This means while you might not see your qualification listed, there’s a chance an older equivalent will be in the job description.

You might see D32 and D33 awards or A1 and A2 awards listed as desirable or essential qualifications in job postings for Assessor roles. These are former qualifications that have now been replaced by the CAVA course.

Similarly, D34 and V1 courses have now been replaced by the IQA Qualifications.

Former Qualifications

Current Equivalent

D32/D33

CAVA

A1

CAVA

D34

IQA Qualifications

V1

IQA Qualifications


Making an Application

By now, you should feel like you’re making sense of NVQ Assessor job vacancies. At least, you should be able to determine which roles you’re qualified for. It’s now time to check off the rest of the ‘essentials’ list.

Essential qualities

Almost all job posts will divide their requirements into a list of essential qualities and desirable qualities. Essential qualities are what the employer sees as vital to doing the job.

These might be key qualifications, skills or qualities, such as ‘great communication skills’, ‘previous experience working in a college’, or ‘must have an ILM in Management’.

Ideally, you will be able to say you have all of the ‘essential’ qualities. However, if you have almost all of them, it may still be worth applying. But, if you only meet one criteria from a long list, it may be better to continue your search for a better-suited position.

Desirable qualities

After checking you have the essentials, you’ll then want to move onto the list of ‘desirable’ qualities. These are the non-essential parts of a job description that may nevertheless give you the edge on the competition.

These are things such as additional qualifications, second languages, transport, and previous experience in specific areas. The more you can bring to the table, the better. But, even if you have very few or even none of the desirable qualities, it is still worth applying if you meet the essential criteria of the job role. It never hurts to try! You may find you’re exactly what they’re looking for.

Send out your CV

Now that you’ve figured out how to decipher the often confusing job posts you’ll see for Assessor or IQA roles, it’s time to put yourself out there. Remember to refer to the essential requirements in the body of your CV and to offer a paragraph about your previous experience. If you can find the name of the person who’ll be reviewing the CVs, even better. The more research you do about the company you’re applying to, the more professional you’ll seem.

And if you’re not quite there yet, but are thinking about a career change into assessing or quality assurance, why not take a look at Brooks and Kirk’s range of Assessor and IQA Qualifications?

Hopefully, this article will have well-explained exactly what’s required to secure one of these fantastic roles. If you’ve already got relevant experience in your field, then you’re halfway there! Why not give us a call today to find out how to take the next step?

How to make sure you choose the right Assessor Qualification

How to make sure you choose the right Assessor Qualification

There’s no doubt that training for a new role/career can be costly; both in terms of money and time. That’s why it’s important to make sure you’re choosing the right Assessor Qualification from the start. Not only will this save you a considerable amount of money in the long run, it will also qualify you for that role or assessor job you want, even sooner.

Making the right choice will depend entirely on your career goals and what you want to be able to assess. At Brooks and Kirk, we offer a range of courses suitable for the trained Assessor looking to refresh their knowledge, all the way through to experienced individuals looking to become qualified as assessors for the first time.

What are my options?

The first step in choosing the right Assessor Qualification is knowing exactly what options are available to you and where these qualifications could lead.

You’ll see on our site that we offer four Level 3 qualifications – Does this mean they all do the same thing?

Not quite! Although all of our qualifications represent a high standard of training, each one equips learners for a different end goal.

What’s your end goal?

People undertake training for a number of different reasons. For example, some people are looking to update their knowledge after being in one role for a long time. Others may be working within an industry but are looking to sidestep into a new position. Then there are those who want a completely new career and are looking to become qualified in areas they’ve never worked before.

In the rest of this article, we’ll take a look at different learner goals and explain which Assessor Qualification is right for each one.

Assessor Qualifications Acronyms

1.     I want to update my knowledge

If you’re already a trained Assessor who is simply looking to refresh their knowledge or learn about updates in the industry, then you will need our Level 3 Award in Understanding the Principles and Practices of Assessment (UPPA) – Unit 1.

This course does not qualify a learner to become a trained Assessor. Its purpose is to upskill people who are already working in an Assessor role. Perfect for those looking to keep their skills sharp!

2.     I want to be a classroom assessor

If you’re looking to become an Assessor exclusively in a classroom, workshop, or virtual setting, then you need the Level 3 Award in Assessing Vocationally Related Achievement (AVRA) – Units 1 & 3.

This award will qualify you to assess learners in a classroom setting but is not suitable for people who want to assess in a workplace environment.

3.     I want to assess on the job

If you want to become an Assessor of occupational competency – i.e. you want to make sure people are doing their jobs right! – then you’ll want to take the Level 3 Award in Assessing Competence in the Work Environment (ACWE) – Units 1 & 2.

So on the flip side, this award will qualify you to assess in a workplace environment only. You won’t be qualified as a classroom Assessor upon completion of the course.

4.     I want to do it all

If you’re looking to dive in the deep end and become an all-around Assessor who can work both in the classroom and on-the-job, then you will want to take the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (CAVA) – Units 1,2 & 3. On completion of this certification, you will be a fully qualified assessor. This is our only certificate that ensures you are fully-qualified in every setting.

Reading the fine print

It’s important when choosing the right Assessor Qualification that you’re aware of which awards actually qualify you for your desired role, and which are unaccredited training. At Brooks and Kirk, all of our awards are part of the NVQ Framework and are nationally recognised. You can choose to receive your certification from City and Guilds, Pearson Edexcel or Industry Qualifications.

Are you sure? What about A1, D32, D33 or the TAQA?

Okay, so a really brief history lesson for you here… The D32/33 awards were replaced by the A1 awards, which were later replaced by a suite of qualifications that is often referred to as ‘TAQA’ in 2010. If you still feel like you are a little bamboozled by all of these acronyms, assessor qualifications run-through should help.

But most importantly, don’t worry – we offer the most up-to-date qualifications!

I have a full-time job. What are my options for studying?

Over 70% of the trainee assessors we currently have on-programme are fitting their study around a full-time job. This is made possible by Brooks and Kirk’s completely unique delivery model.

Exactly what your course will involve depends on which assessor qualification you choose. That being said, even if you were to enrol onto the most prestigious of the lot – the CAVA, you would only be required to attend one day. You will be able to complete the rest of your course online, entirely at your own pace.

Still not sure?

If you’re still not sure what’s right for you, then there’s no need to worry. Our expert team is available to help and make sure you’re getting exactly the training you need.

Get in touch with us today and talk us through your career goals. We’ll make sure you choose the right Assessor Qualification to get you where you want to be.

How do I become an Internal Quality Assurer?

As you may know, here at Brooks and Kirk we offer more than just Assessor courses. We also offer courses in Internal Quality Assurance (IQA). These courses act as the step-up from the Assessor courses; so if you’re looking to take your Assessor career even further, becoming an Internal Quality Assurer might be the perfect thing for you.

internal-quality-assurer


What is the role of an Internal Quality Assurer?

All training providers must have an Internal Quality Assurer on their team. Quality Assurance takes place to make sure that the training provider is running at the best they can be.

Each centre’s IQA will be responsible for quality-checking decisions made by the centre’s Assessors. This is to ensure these decisions and the Assessors’ practices, are maintaining the centre’s standards. Just some of the tasks that an IQA will undertake include:

  • Making sure all Assessors are appropriately trained, qualified, and carrying out their roles efficiently;
  • Monitoring the centre’s assessment practice and procedures by carrying out sampling activities, such as;
    • Reviewing learners at different stages of the programme delivery and assessment process
    • Evaluating the effectiveness of assessment planning
    • Making sure assessment decisions are consistent and standardised
  • Making sure that the centre’s equality and diversity policy is implemented;
  • Conducting a minimum of two standardisation meetings per year.

If quality assurance isn’t happening, then there are risks to the accuracy, consistency, and fairness of training and assessment practice. Therefore, this can cause a significant disadvantage to learners.


How do I become an Internal Quality Assurer?

So, there are currently 3 IQA Qualifications available; however, only 2 of them qualify you to Quality Assure.

Level 4 Award in Understanding the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice

First of all, starting with the most basic of all the IQA Qualifications, this course does not actually qualify you to internally quality assure assessment. But, it does provide you with the knowledge behind IQA. This makes this award a great form of CPD (Continuing Professional Development), especially for Managers. By completing this qualification, you will know:

  • The context and principles of Internal Quality Assurance;
  • How to plan the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment;
  • Techniques for monitoring, maintaining and improving the quality of assessment internally;
  • How to manage information in accordance with legal and good practice requirements for the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment.

For more information on this course, please see our Level 4 Award in Understanding the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice page.


Level 4 Award in the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice

Now, moving onto this next qualification, this is the equivalent to the old Internal Verifiers qualification. It qualifies you to make quality assurance of assessments and assessment decisions, but it doesn’t qualify you to be the Lead IQA of your training provider. By completing this qualification, you will know and be able to:

  • Plan the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment;
  • Maintain legal and good practice requirements when internally monitoring and maintaining the quality of assessment;
  • Manage information relevant to the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment;
  • Internally evaluate, maintain and improve the quality of assessment.

If you think this is the right course for you, we have more information our Level 4 Award in the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice page.


Level 4 Certificate in Leading the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice

Finally, the most highly regarded IQA qualification; the Lead IQA. This is the ideal qualification for you if you wish to be the Lead IQA of your training provider, as it provides you with all the skills necessary to not only Quality Assure qualifications, but lead and manage the wh0le quality assurance process. By completing this qualification, you will know and be able to:

  • Quality Assure qualifications;
  • Manage the Internal Quality Assurance processes for a training centre;
  • Manage other IQAs;
  • Develop and write Internal Quality Assurance policies and procedures;
  • Manage External Quality Assurance (EQA) visits.

In the long run, this is the course we would recommend the most. So if becoming a Lead IQA is the path you want to go down, take a look at our Level 3 Certificate in the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practice page.


All things considered, there is one more thing you need to know. You must be a qualified Assessor in order to become an Internal Quality Assurer. There are rare situations in which a person has their IQA qualification without their Assessor qualification; but as we’ve mentioned, a big part of quality assurance involves the Assessors in your team. How can you quality assure what they are doing, if you aren’t sure yourself?

If you do need the Assessor qualification, you’re in luck; we at Brooks and Kirk offer the Assessor course too.

How to Gain Experience as a Newly Qualified Assessor

How to Gain Experience as a Newly Qualified Assessor

If you’re thinking about becoming an Assessor or already are a newly qualified Assessor, chances are, you’ve been looking at what kind of job opportunities there are. Much like any other jobs, some vacancies may ask for ‘experience’.

Having ‘experience’ as a requirement for a job as an Assessor can be seen as unfair for some. How can a newly qualified Assessor gain experience if they need the experience to get a job in the first place?! If you are having this issue there are options available for you to explore.


Shadow an Assessor

This would involve you in observing another Assessor carrying out their day-to-day job. This Assessor would need to be qualified. It would be most ideal to be watching the Assessor actually carrying out assessments with their learner. You wouldn’t be required to do or say anything as the shadower you are simply watching and taking notes.

Whilst this is volunteer experience and therefore unpaid, shadowing is a great way to get your foot in the door. It will also get some well-needed experience under your belt. It’s great for newly qualified assessors and will maximise your chances of getting an Assessing job, so it’s definitely worthwhile!

Plenty of training organisations and/or local colleges are happy to allow newly qualified Assessors to shadow their Assessors; mainly because it doesn’t cost them anything. So all you would need to do is approach these types of companies. Another thing to consider is if you have any family or friends that work in Further Education; have a chat with them and see if they can help you out with any shadowing opportunities. Even consider asking your connections on LinkedIn.

( Sorry because of the way we deliver our courses we are not able to offer shadowing opportunities.)

End Point Assessment

Another route you could try is End Point Assessment. End Point Assessors (EPA’s) are the people who do the final checks to ensure that an apprentice has passed their apprenticeship. This is a different job to being an assessor and is in huge demand at the moment. Have a quick search for End Point Assessor jobs and you will see what I mean.

To be an EPA you need three things;

  1. A recognised Assessor such as the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement.
  2. .Occupational competence in the relevant sector.
  3. An appropriate occupational qualification.

Within EPA your occupational competence is far more important than your assessing experience. In most cases just having the assessor qualification is enough. This makes it an ideal job for a newly qualified assessor who has worked in their sector for a number of years.

What skills a newly qualified assessor will need to be an EPA

There are a few new skills that you need to have to be an EPA if you area newly qualified assessor but you can learn these quite quickly. Until recently there was no easy way of learning these new skills. That is why we have started running a series of EPA Workshops

In our EPA workshops, you learn all the new skills you will need to be an EPA and get the opportunity to put them into practice. Importantly it also counts as a full day of CPD. Our next workshop is in Manchester on the 11th October but please be aware they do book up very fast so you will need to be quick if you want to get on it.

If you like the idea of being an End Point Assessor take a look at our End Point Assessment Knowledgebase which has a lot more information for you to read through.


And one final point. Even if a job advert does ask for experience, don’t let it put you off from applying. Put yourself forward for jobs regardless of their expectations of your experience – it won’t hurt! There are employers out there that will still consider hiring you even if you don’t have much experience.

You may also like to read;

6 Top Tips for newly qualified assessors.

The importance of LinkedIn for newly qualified assessors

 

 

Where Do I Begin With Setting Up A Training Company?

Where Do I Begin With Setting Up A Training Company?

At Brooks and Kirk, we have over 20 years of experience in running our own Training Provider. It’s quite possible that you’re considering running your own – which is great! Now, your initial thought may be ‘where do I begin with setting up a training company?’ and if it is, you’ve come to the right place! We’re going to use the experience we’ve gained over the years to help you with everything you’ll need to know about starting your own training company, right from the beginning.


What Type of Courses Do I Want To Deliver?

The first thing that you will need to decide about setting up a training company is what type of courses you want to deliver.

If you want to deliver Bespoke Courses (ones that have been written by yourself/your company), then you and your staff are not required to be qualified or have any existing training experience. If this is the route that you want your company to go down, then take a look at our page on Bespoke Courses.

However, if you want to deliver Accredited Courses, then the route you need to go down is very different. It will involve qualified members of staff…


What Qualified Staff Do I Need To Deliver Accredited Courses?

If you want to deliver Accredited Courses, such as BTECs or NVQs, then your company will need to be registered with an awarding body. You may have heard of some popular awarding bodies, such as Pearson Edexcel, or City&Guilds. 

However, before you register with an awarding body, there are a couple of things you will need. In terms of members of staff, you will need an absolute minimum of:

  • 1 Qualified Internal Quality Assurer (IQA)
  • 1 Qualified Assessor

The Internal Quality Assurer

The IQA of your company will be responsible for monitoring your centre’s assessment practices and procedures. Your IQA will be the person who organises visits from Awarding Bodies as mentioned above. One of their main responsibilities will be to internally evaluate, maintain and improve the quality of assessment.

This person will need the Level 4 Certificate in Leading the Internal Quality Assurance of Assessment Processes and Practices.

The Assessor

The Assessor of your company will be responsible for assessing your learners in their place of work and/or their learning environment (whichever one is relevant). This means that they will be able to take your learners through their qualification and ensure that they have the knowledge, skills, and behaviours necessary. 

This person will need the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement.

In any event, the IQA and the Assessor for your company CANNOT be the same person. You may find it beneficial to have more than one Assessor within your company. Especially as the company and the workload expands. It’s also important to note that you as the company owner do not necessarily have to be the IQA.


For more information on delivering Accredited Courses, take a look at our page on Starting Your Own Accredited Training Company.

What’s The Best Career For A Parent?

What’s The Best Career For A Parent?

As a parent, balancing your career with your children, the rest of your family and your social life can be a real struggle. You might even be looking at reducing your hours to part-time work instead, just to cope with it all. Don’t worry – we’ve got the perfect career for a parent…

Become an Assessor! If you’ve got job experience or qualifications in any sector, you’re halfway there already! Although, we should probably explain what an Assessor is first; an Assessor is someone who supports and guides a person training in your sector in order for them to gain a vocational qualification. As an Assessor, you’ll need to offer your learner advice, give them feedback, and if necessary deliver training to help them become qualified in your area of expertise. So, here’s why it could suit you as a busy parent…


It’s Versatile

We know, you’re already thinking about that experience thing we just mentioned… Just to clarify, by experience we advise a recent background of 2-3 years at least in one sector. Now, we say recent because this is where it becomes a bit of a grey area. If you had 3 years of experience working in retail 15 or so years ago, a lot of things will have changed since then. It’s unlikely you would be competent in that area without taking some kind of refresher course.

But, if you do have fairly recent experience and/or qualifications in a variety of sectors, you’d be competent to assess learners in all of these areas. For parents, this will be music to your ears to know you don’t have to spend money on childcare whilst you attend boring night classes at a college only to gain a qualification in something you’re perfectly competent in!

Oh, and then there is the Assessor qualification which you’ll also need – but that’s just as pain-free to obtain. You just need the CAVA qualification; but with no time limits and 24/7 support, you can study whenever you like, for as long as you like.


Great Job Flexibility

Whilst we’re on the subject of things being versatile and what not, now’s a good time for us to mention the flexibility an Assessing job has. This is something we find is an important part of a career for a parent. If you are a Freelance Assessor, you can work as and when suits you and your family needs. This way, you won’t miss out on valuable time with your family because of work commitments. You could take off all the time you need during half terms and school holidays to make sure you’re always there for your children. If it suits you, you could work evenings when the kids are in bed! The options are endless, and having that flexibility within your job allows you to work when you are feeling your best.


Healthy Work-Life Balance

If you were an Assessor, you’d find that besides from that all important family and work time, you’d be able to balance things out to find time for yourself. So, whether that be an afternoon of your favourite hobby or a day out with some friends, your social and alone time will be easy to balance out. You could spend your morning getting the kids ready for school, having coffee with friends, do a few hours of work in the afternoon and still be ready to pick the kids up at 3!

If you need more detailed tips on how to find the perfect work-life balance, give our 8 ways to achieve a healthy work-life balance post a read!


Extra Income

The struggle; you work full time, perhaps your partner does too, and you still can’t make ends meet. Especially when it’s the school holidays and you’re having to pay for childcare! But you don’t necessarily have to quit your job to become an Assessor – it might be more beneficial for you to assess on top of your normal job. This way, you’ll gain more income and the comfort of being financially stable. Perhaps the extra income will help out with paying for a babysitter so you can enjoy a night out!


There’s A Demand

But of course, you may be reading this thinking ‘is there actually a demand for Assessors?’ There absolutely is! Just as an example, Reed currently has over 1,600 Assessor jobs available, Indeed has over 4,600, and LinkedIn has over 4,700! That’s right – social media platform LinkedIn advertises jobs too. In fact, they offer the most Assessor jobs! 

Assessors are, of course, most needed in areas which you need an NVQ, such as:

  • Health and Social Care
  • Childcare
  • Hospitality
  • Hairdressing
  • All Trades

But regardless of the industry that you work in, it’s highly likely that there’s an Assessor needed in that area.


That’s our reasons for why we think becoming an Assessor is the best career option for parents! So if you’re ready to take the next step, our FAQ page on becoming an Assessor should clear up any further questions.

9 Ways To Keep Your CPD Record Up To Date

9 Ways To Keep Your CPD Record Up To Date

9 Ways CPD Record

As an assessor, it is important to keep your CPD up to date. It doesn’t matter whether you’ve been an assessor for 6 months or 6 years, Continuing Professional Development is essential. Luckily for you, we have 9 ways you can keep your CPD record up to date! But first, just in case you’re new to this whole CPD shebang;

What is CPD?

CPD stands for Continuing Professional Development. CPD is the process of undertaking activities to maintain and develop, new and existing skills within your occupation. Whilst continuing your professional development you could come across new skills that could be used in daily life as well as your job role.

Normally, your evidence of CPD is collected in a portfolio. This can either be stored electronically on a computer or as a hard copy with documents in a folder. This then becomes your CPD record. 

Why is CPD important?

CPD is important for quite an obvious reason really. It is a way of ensuring personal development. As a professional and as an assessor, more specifically, you need to constantly be looking for ways to improve. You are seen as an ‘expert’ by your learners, so live up to that title! At the end of the day, you want to become the best assessor possible; and maintaining an up to date CPD record is how you can achieve that. Furthermore, prospective employers will want to see your CPD record. So, it is a necessity!

9 Ways To Keep Your CPD Record Up To Date:

Standardisation Meetings

If you are working as an assessor, it is a requirement that you attend standardisation meetings. In fact, it is recommended that you attend at least two per year. Standardisation meetings ensure that all assessors are updated on any changes that may affect then and that they are working and assessing to the same standard. These meetings also provide a great opportunity for assessors to share best practices and personal assessment techniques. It would generally be the Lead IQA for your centre who would arrange and chair these standardisation meetings. 

CPD Events & Conferences

You never normally need to look too far to find CPD Events or Conferences/Networking meetings that you can attend. This goes for both events specific to your area of expertise and those that are specific to your role as an assessor. This kind of CPD activity can be very useful when there are big changes on the horizon for the qualifications you deliver.

Generally speaking, these kinds of events also tend to have industry experts as speakers. If there is, then you will also have the opportunity to discuss any areas you need advice on as well. By attending these conferences, you’re giving yourself the best chance of being one step ahead of everyone else. 

Feedback > Reflection > Evaluation > Action 

Going through those four stages can be an extremely useful CPD activity in itself! Let’s take you through each stage;

Feedback – This is priceless. When given correctly and taken on board, Feedback can be a great resource for identifying areas for improvement; which at the end of the day, is what CPD is all about! Whether it comes from your colleagues, learners, or just people around you, constructive criticism can be a good thing and something you can learn from. So, make sure you record and store any feedback you receive, good or bad. 

Reflection – Now that you know what other people think your strengths and weaknesses are, you need to ask yourself; Have you made any mistakes? If so, how could you avoid them again in the future? Have there been any questions that you have been asked and unable to answer confidently? By reflecting on your past work, you can identify weaknesses that others may not have spotted. This will then make the next step easier.

Evaluation – By taking the feedback you have received from others and your own self-reflection, you can evaluate which areas you can improve in and how. This process should then leave you with some form of an action plan. Hopefully, some of the areas that you identified as weaknesses will already have been resolved to an extent. Because sometimes, just going through this process and making yourself aware of an area for improvement is enough. It might just have been a bad habit that has been pointed out to you whilst you’re communicating with your learners for example. This is an area to your practice that you can improve on just from realising that it is happening if you like. But for any other weaknesses, you have the final step.

Action – The most simple, but most important stage. You need to action any areas for improvement, that was highlighted by your evaluation, through the most appropriate CPD activity. This could be any of the other 8 in this post, it just depends which will be the most suitable.  

Newsletter Subscriptions

Subscribing to newsletters is a good way to keep on top of any changes, whether this is changes in your sector or your role as an assessor. There could be big changes within the Further Education sector as a whole which you need constant updates on. Just like there has been in recent years with the Apprenticeship Reform! Also, if you come across something in one of the newsletters that you are unfamiliar with, then you might need to do some research into it. This leads me on to my next point…

Research

It is crucial you keep up to date with what’s going on in your sector and in further education. Things can change so quickly or go out of date. Like I mentioned above, it may just be a case of receiving an email that mentions something which you are unfamiliar with. Actually spending some time doing some research into that could end up being extremely beneficial. After all, it could end up being something that you integrate into your day-to-day assessments. Probably the quickest and easiest way to do your research these days is just to have a Google and see what blogs are out there. You don’t have to spend a copious amount of time researching, just an hour here or there will do. 

Courses and Qualifications

Are your qualifications looking a bit dated? Well, let’s look at updating that rusty ol’ CV then! It’s always good to have recent courses and qualifications on your CV. Maybe you haven’t studied English or Maths since doing your GCSEs or even O levels? As an assessor, it’s always good to be able to demonstrate competency in Maths and English. There are plenty of small CPD courses available online. You just need to find a MOOC and a course ideal for you. “What on earth is a MOOC?” You’re probably thinking…

MOOCs – MOOCs stands for Massive Open Online Courses. There are a variety of different courses out there on the internet. Often these courses are free, which is a bonus! Maybe one of your employees or learner’s first language isn’t English. Learning the basics of a different language could help both you and the other person out and make working or assessing run a bit more smoothly. One of the best MOOCs out there is Open Learn. They are connected to the Open University and they offer hundreds of free online courses.

As an assessor, you may have learners with specific needs such as a hearing or visual impairment. So, if you are looking for course inspiration, maybe a sign language or braille course would be a good idea? As well as picking up new, valuable and transferable skills, it would help to put both you and your impaired learners at ease. 

Last but not least… Another area to consider when looking into small courses is Technology. With Virtual Learning Environments now being the norm when it comes to delivery methods, it can’t be ignored. So, it would certainly be worth looking into what IT-related courses are out there.

New Technology

New apps, computer programs and devices can all compliment your role as an assessor. It is just a case of knowing what’s out there and how to use it! For example, one of your learners finds it difficult to read on paper as they’re dyslexic. But you heard about a new app which can scan the writing and format it into speech. Therefore, the learner can listen to a piece of text instead of struggling to read it. Before putting these apps or new technologies into practice, I would recommend spending some time having a play around testing. This is normally best done in your own time. Because the last thing you want to do is sit there learning on the job, looking like you haven’t got a clue what to do. Instead, make sure that you turn up looking like a tech-expert.

Social Media Groups

Speaking of technology, you could join groups on different social media websites such as LinkedIn or Facebook. These groups could be specific to the Further Education sector and Assessing field in particular, or they could be related to the industry you assess in. These groups provide a platform for almost a kind of on-going standardisation meeting. People share news stories that relate to the purpose of that group. In addition to that, it is also a great way to gain more contacts and seek advice from like-minded professionals. 

Read, Read, Read

As well as researching online, completing small courses, attending standardisation meetings and all of the above for that matter, you could read. Read, read and then read some more. Whether it be journals, textbooks or even your own course specifications! The journals and textbooks that you choose to read could be to do with assessing or your area of expertise or both! By reading, you can broaden your understanding in areas that directly relate to your job. For example, one of your responsibilities as an assessor is to know the specifications of the qualification you’re assessing. It doesn’t sound like the most entertaining bedtime read admittedly. And to be truthful, that’s because it really isn’t! However, the better you know a specification, the quicker and easier you can plan and carry out assessments. 

That’s A Lot of CPD!

We’ve taken you on a long CPD journey during this blog. Starting with what CPD is, then all the way through our 9 ways to keep your CPD up to date. Now you have no excuses as to why you can’t keep your CPD record up to date. We hope you have learned something from this blog. Until next time, happy assessing!

Carillion Collapse – Finding Your New Career Path

Carillion Collapse – Finding Your New Career Path

As you’re probably aware, Carillion, one of the UK’s largest construction companies, collapsed under an enormous debt pile of £1.5 billion last month. Just last week, it was revealed 377 people would lose their jobs. Now, in more recent days, it has come to light that a further 452 people will also be losing their jobs. This takes the total to more than 800 workers. figure increase

Carillion, which employed around 20,000 people in the UK, was connected to a variety of roles. These were in both the public and private sector and some back-office functions.

If you have unfortunately been affected by Carillion’s collapse, here is where Brooks and Kirk come in. We may have some good news for you and a potential route of getting back into work…

Become a Construction NVQ Assessor

We should probably start by explaining what an NVQ Assessor actually is;

An NVQ Assessor uses their professional background and vocational skills and knowledge (from any industry) to help learners gain the desired qualification. They work closely with their learners so that they can give them necessary feedback to meet the standards required. If you have more questions about what an Assessor does, visit our FAQ page!

What would you need to become an NVQ Assessor?

First of all – occupational competence! This would be in whatever area you are wanting to assess in. Seen as though Carillion was the largest Construction company in the UK, let’s take a construction worker for example. As a construction worker, occupational competence would be evidenced by past work experience and/or qualifications in that sector. It’s as simple as that!

But it’s not just Construction workers who can become Assessors. If there’s a sector that involves a vocational qualification, there’s an Assessor role to go with it.

Second of all – the Assessor qualification. More specifically, the most highly regarded Assessor qualification, which is the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement. Or CAVA, for short. This qualification would qualify you to assess your candidates in any learning or work environment!

We understand that it’s not easy to ‘just get back into work’. But you can see from job sites such as Indeed and FEJobs, there’s a high demand for Assessors in trades including Construction. So, whether you’ve spent a small or large amount of years in your sector, why let those years go to waste? Becoming an NVQ Assessor can allow you to use all the skills and knowledge you’ve learnt over the years to guide others in the same sector.

With Brooks and Kirk, you can take all the time you need to complete your qualification and find the best route for you to get back into work. If you would like more information on the Assessor qualifications, try our CAVA page. Alternatively, you can give us a call on 01205 805155 and we’ll be more than happy to take you through anything you need to know.

In-house assessing for your organisation

 

What have Dental nurse practices, Care homes, Building firms and even Restaurants all got in common?

They all use in-house assessors!

It’s becoming increasingly popular for businesses across all sectors to train members of staff to become in-house assessors. If this is the first you have heard of the concept of ‘in-house assessing’ then it could definitely be worth finding out what it involves and whether or not your organisation could benefit from an in-house assessor. 

What does an in-house assessor do?

An in-house assessor is someone that works within a business and is qualified to assess members of staff within their business. They will be able to carry out observations on members of staff completing their NVQ’s. 

What are the benefits of having an in-house assessor?

Training up a member of staff to be an in-house assessor can be beneficial both for the business and the in-house assessor. 

Having someone within an organisation that is qualified to assess members of staff completing their NVQ’s means that the organisation wouldn’t have to have an external assessor come in from the training provider that is delivering the NVQ’s. Effectively, this means that all the training for members of staff within an organisation can take place internally. This is beneficial for any members of staff that are being trained up, because they will have someone who knows the organisation inside-out taking them through their course; effectively this means that the training delivered to the workforce will be more tailored to the business itself. 

As for the in-house assessor, not only would there be a few more pennies in the bank at the end of the month, but it is also very useful for future career progression opportunities. In-house assessors will tend to earn slightly more than their respective colleagues who aren’t qualified to assess, simple because they can assist with the training up of the workforce. 

 

Whether you are an employer considering training up members of staff to become in-house assessors, or if you yourself are looking at becoming an in-house assessor, our course information page will help you to find out what’s involved with our assessor courses.