Whether you are a newly qualified assessor or someone who has been assessing ever since it was the D32/33; Continuing Professional Development (CPD) is important. The irony is, sometimes NVQ Assessors find that because they are constantly engaged with their learners and helping them to develop their careers, they themselves don’t look after their own.
In vocational fields, everything changes so quickly. Policies are constantly updating and new ones coming in. New technologies take over, more efficient techniques are developed, and the standards are always being rewritten. It’s hard to keep up!
That’s why CPD (Continuing Professional Development) is so important as an assessor. It doesn’t take long – even for newly qualified assessors – to find their industry has changed dramatically during their tenure.
Continuing Professional Development explained
As we mentioned before, CPD stands for ‘Continuing Professional Development’. It is essential in any career to continue your professional development, but we’re focusing on Assessing. CPD is a system of self-directed learning. It is a way of managing your development as an Assessor and helps you record, review and reflect on this development. There are 5 requirements within the CPD process:
- Needs to be a documented process (CPD record);
- Be completely self-directed by you;
- Focus on learning from experience, reflective learning, and reviews;
- Help you set development goals and objectives;
- Include both formal and informal learning.
There are over 1,000 providers of CPD activities in the UK and countless activities to take part in. What’s more, the price for courses start from very little – some are even entirely free. And as CPD is non-mandatory learning, there’s no pressure. You can simply find what you enjoy or what will help you most in your career.
What counts towards my CPD record?
As an Assessor, it’s extremely important that you are always looking for opportunities to broaden and strengthen your knowledge and skills.
Completing training courses is an effective way to ensure that you are doing just that. You don’t have to get a certificate from a nationally-recognised Awarding Organisation for it to count towards your CPD; as long as the training you have done will help you develop into a better assessor and you have evidence of completing the training, then it will do the job. Here’s an example of just a few courses that you could complete as part of your CPD as an Assessor:
- Education and Training Qualifications
- Our exclusive End-Point Assessment course
- Refresher courses in Maths, English and ICT
- Internal Quality Assurance Qualifications
- MOOCs (Massive Online Open Courses) – p.s – these ones are free!
It has actually become more common to see an Education and Training qualification in the requirements for an Assessor job. So it’s definitely something we would advise looking into!
Whilst we’re on the topic of courses; if you are an experienced assessor, then it’s highly likely that you will have encountered learners with specific needs. For example; have you ever thought about completing more specialist training courses for specific educational needs? This helps demonstrate that you are prepared to go the extra mile.
CPD training can help you become a better assessor of students who need extra help. Courses we’ve found on the CPD site include topics such as: working with assistive technologies, speech-to-text software, behaviour management, and safeguarding.
If you’re trained to work with students with complex needs or to handle challenging situations, you’ll be a more valuable and well-rounded assessor.
A great example of this could be to complete a BSL (British Sign Language) course. This way, when it comes to dealing with learners who have hearing impairments, you would be able to use multiple ways of communicating with them. This kind of training is ideal for your Continuing Professional Development as an NVQ assessor.
Attending standardisation meetings will also count towards your CPD as an assessor. As an Assessor, it is recommended that you attend at least two standardisation meetings a year. standardisation meetings are extremely important for training providers. These meetings ensure that all assessors are assessing at the same standard, and are all updated on any changes that may affect them. Assessors can also share best practices and personal assessment techniques.
The Lead IQA would arrange the standardisation meetings, and within them, they have the opportunity to relay any legislation changes within the sector to the delivery team.
CPD Events and Conferences are never usually too hard to find. CPD Conferences will be held for both the industry you work in, and also relating to the Assessing world. If you are aware of any changes pending for the qualification you assess, it would be a good idea to attend a CPD Event.
There is also a chance that these conferences will have an industry leader as the speaker; so don’t miss the opportunity to network with them!
Subscribe to Newsletters
If you don’t have the time or capacity to attend CPD Conferences, a similar way to keep up to date with your sector and/or your Assessing role is a newsletter subscription. For similar reasons, if there are big changes within these sectors that you need updates on, subscribing to a good, well-informed newsletter will provide this information. Speaking of good, well-informed newsletters (if we say so ourselves…).
Subscribe to our Brooks and Kirk Newsletter and keep up to date on all things Assessing!
Choosing CPD activities
There are so many CPD activities to choose from and so many places to find them. So, how to choose CPD activities that will help you as an assessor?
Keep your knowledge current
As mentioned at the start of this post, vocational industries change really quickly. For this reason, it’s a good idea to keep your ear to the ground for what’s new. If you notice new technologies or new terminology being used, it’s worth bringing yourself up to speed ASAP.
For example, we’ve taken a look at some of the CPD courses offered in the ‘Education – Adult and Continuing Education’ section of the CPD course search tool. We found courses on personal safety and behaviour management, safeguarding, unhealthy student-teacher relationships, and audit reporting.
All of these subjects could increase your skill and knowledge as an assessor or update your knowledge in topics that may have developed since you studied them during your assessment training.
Fill personal skills gaps
Nobody’s great at everything. When it comes to CPD, it’s definitely OK to cover old ground.
Didn’t quite understand part of your CAVA course? CPD it.
A bit nervous about one aspect of the job? CPD it.
Feel like one of those tasks is taking far too long and you don’t know why? CPD it.
You can take CPD courses and workshops on particular software and technologies that you struggle with, for example. Anything like this can help make your work faster and easier.
We hope this article has helped make some sense of CPD training and given you some guidance on how you can build a learning path that works for you. Remember to think about exactly what you want from your training and pick courses that will deliver the best results. If you’re still not sure where to begin, take a look at our blog on creating a CPD plan.
And, of course, CPD isn’t the only way to upskill as an assessor. Take a look at our Tutor Training, EPA, IQA and Business Growth courses – all of which can be used to help you grow in your role and stand out as an employee.