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How do I become an Assessor?

In order to become an assessor, you need two things. These are; occupational competence and the appropriate assessor qualification.

Occupational competence is basically the ‘knowing your stuff’ part. You need to have a good amount of experience working in the occupation for which you want to assess learners in. You can use prior qualifications and experience of working in relevant job roles as evidence for this. 

The most highly regarded assessor qualification is the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement (CAVA). This will qualify you to assess learners in any learning environment, and it will also qualify you to assess their occupational competence in the workplace.

What does an NVQ Assessor do?

As an NVQ Assessor, you would be responsible for supporting and guiding learners through their vocational qualifications. You would collect various different types of evidence from your learners to meet all of the learning outcomes from within their qualifications.

Here’s an idea of the kind of tasks which you would be expected to perform as an NVQ assessor:

  • Plan and deliver NVQ training programmes and workshops;
  • Observe candidates’ competency in their workplace;
  • Examine candidates’ portfolios of evidence;
  • Question candidates about how they would deal with non-standard situations;
  • Provide feedback and offer advice if the standards are not met;
  • Sign off the NVQ when all the requirements have been met;
  • Keep records of candidates’ progress, according to the requirements of the NVQ awarding bodies;
  • Attend standardisation meetings with other assessors;
  • Work closely with training staff and candidates’ line managers.

How does the CAVA compare to the A1, D32/33 or TAQA?

The CAVA forms part of the latest suite of assessor qualifications (often referred to as TAQA) which replaced the A1 Award back in 2010. But before the A1, there was the D32/33. The D units were the first accredited assessor qualifications.

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What is TAQA?

TAQA stands for Training, Assessment and Quality Assurance. It is the name for the current suite of Assessor and Internal Quality Assurance qualifications. ‘TAQA’ is not ‘a qualification’; it is instead, an umbrella term that covers a branch of qualifications. 

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Are the old D32/33 and A1/A2 qualifications still valid?

In short, yes. HOWEVER, this is dependent on a couple of things. Firstly, you need to have been working in a suitable job role which has involved assessing and/or training. Secondly, you absolutely have to have an up to date Continuing Professional Development record. Ideally, part of your CPD should have involved you achieving the knowledge-based unit from the most up to date assessor qualifications (UPPA). 

If you have been out of assessing for a while, then we would certainly recommend completing the most suitable assessor course from the latest suite of assessor qualifications. Have a look at our Assessor Qualifications page to find out what the most suitable qualification will be for you. 

What level would I be qualified to assess up to?

You will be able to assess up to whatever level you can evidence occupational competence for. For example, if you have been working in a certain industry for over 7 years and you have got a Level 3 NVQ in that occupation, you will be able to assess up to level 3 in your area of expertise. However, it’s not always that straightforward. The linked page below should provide you with a more thorough understanding. 

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What are the job prospects like for Assessors?

The demand for assessors varies based on which industry it is that you are looking at assessing in and where it is that you are based. Nevertheless, there tends to be a quite a good demand for assessors, particularly in the following industries: Health and Social Care, Childcare, Business services (Business Admin, Customer Service, Team Leading etc.), Construction and Hair & Beauty. Where there are apprenticeships and vocational qualifications, there are assessors needed.

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What does the assessor course involve?

There are four current assessor qualifications. Regardless of which qualification you choose you will either a cover a combination, or all of the units below. 

  • Unit 1 – Understanding the Principles and Practices of Assessment
  • Unit 2 – Assess Occupational Competence in the Work Environment
  • Unit 3 – Assess Vocational Skills, Knowledge and Understanding

Essentially, Unit 1 is the theory based unit and units 2 and 3 involve assessing two candidates. Unit 2 requires you, as the trainee assessor, to assess 2 candidates in the workplace. Whereas, Unit 3 involves you assessing 2 candidates in a learning environment, like via a Virtual Learning Environment for example. You will find that the vast majority of assessor training providers will require you to have access to the learners to assess. However, there are a select few (including ourselves), that can provide you with access to the learners to assess.

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What’s the difference between the 4 assessor qualifications?


Units: 1, 2 & 3

Summary: The CAVA would qualify you to carry out all types of assessments. It qualifies you to carry out vocationally related assessments in learning environments (like classrooms, simulations and online learning systems). But in addition to that, it also qualifies you to assess the competency of learners within their workplace.


Units: 1 & 2

Summary: The ACWE qualifies you to assess in the workplace. This does not qualify you to carry out vocational assessments in learning environments.


Units: 1 & 3

Summary: The AVRA qualifies you to assess in learning environments. This does not qualify you to carry out competency-based assessments in the workplace.


Unit: 1

Summary: The UPPA is a single-unit knowledge-based qualification. It would only provide you with the theory behind the principles and practices of assessment. This assessor award on its own does not qualify you to carry out any assessments.

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Which assessor qualification is suitable for my industry?

All of them! Whether you are experienced in Plumbing, Social Care, Hairdressing, Hospitality or Dog Grooming, it’s the same qualification you need to become an assessor. The assessor qualifications are industry standard qualifications.

You could think of it like this; you can get an NVQ level 3 in Management. That qualification would qualify you for a management role within your industry; whatever industry that may be. Likewise, the assessor qualification could be referred to as an NVQ Level 3 in Assessing. Because the assessment processes and practices are the same across all industries, it’s the same qualification you would need.  

Does my Assessor Qualification allow me to certificate learners?

The assessor qualification does not allow you to certify your learners. In order for a learner to be awarded their certificate, there is a process that the training provider must go through.

This process involves the assessor, the IQA and the awarding body. You can find out more about what is involved by reading our Can I Certificate Learners with My Assessor Qualification?  page.