NVQ/SVQ Assessor

The Job and What's Involved

NVQ/SVQ assessors help and assess people who are working towards National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) or Scottish Vocational Qualifications (SVQs). In doing so, they make sure that the candidates meet the required standards.

The first step with a new NVQ/SVQ candidate is for the assessor to identify what the candidate is already able to do. The assessor can then decide what underpinning knowledge needs to be developed, and the assessor and the candidate agree an overall action plan that will be regularly updated. An important part of the assessor's role is to advise and support the candidate throughout.

NVQs/SVQs are assessed in a range of ways. Assessors may:

Visit candidates - in their workplace and observe their performance.

Question candidates - to assess their underpinning knowledge and to gauge how they would deal with non-standard situations.

Monitor candidates' progress - this may involve examining their portfolios of evidence - evidence that records candidates' ability at work and demonstrates their knowledge and understanding. Evidence may be paper based, electronic or in the form of audio tapes. Most NVQ's/SVQ's are based on practical skills which may result in the production of a product, and some NVQ's/SVQ's may not require a candidate to complete a paper-based portfolio of evidence.

NVQ/SVQ assessors:

  • Record candidates' progress and sign off units as they are completed.
  • Give candidates detailed feedback after an assessment and provide any necessary support and advice.
  • Keep detailed records of candidates' progress and pass on relevant information to the NVQ/SVQ awarding bodies.

Assessors usually work with a number of candidates at the same time. They work as part of an assessment team with other assessors and at least one internal verifier. They attend regular meetings with other assessors to ensure they are working to standard practices. They need to liaise with line managers and training staff within their centre to keep them informed of candidates' progress.

Most assessors undertake NVQ/SVQ assessment as part of a wider training role. Some work solely as assessors, while yet others undertake assessment as only a small part of their job, e.g. as a care worker, pharmacy technician or retail supervisor. In many cases, assessors also plan and deliver NVQ/SVQ training programmes.

NVQ/SVQ assessors may work 37 to 40 hours a week, Monday to Friday. They need to be flexible over their working hours to be able to assess candidates during their normal working hours, which may include evenings and weekends. Part-time work and job sharing is possible.

Assessors are based in and assess in the workplace. They may need to travel to many different locations to undertake assessments. The ability to drive is useful.

Starting salaries are between £14,000 and £20,000 a year.

Getting Started with this Career Choice

NVQ/SVQ assessors work throughout the UK. They are employed by:

- Colleges
- Training providers
- Companies of all sizes

Assessors are employed across the whole range of NVQs and SVQs, including:

- Tending animals, plants and land
- Extracting and providing natural resources
- Construction.
- Engineering
- Manufacturing
- Transporting
- Providing goods and services
- Providing health, social and protective services
- Providing business services
- Communicating
- Developing and extending knowledge and skills

There is a national shortage of assessors, especially in the construction and care areas. The shortage is greater in the south of England than elsewhere.

Jobs are advertised in local and national newspapers and in sector publications, for example People Management. They are also advertised by recruitment agencies and on the internet.

Education and Training

NVQ/SVQ assessors must have occupational experience in the work area they are assessing. This means that it is not possible for school leavers or young college leavers to go straight into this work.

Adult entry is therefore normal, as assessors are usually required to have at least two to four years' experience in their vocational area. There are no set academic requirements. It can be helpful, though, to have experience of teaching or training in the chosen area, or teaching and training qualifications.

NVQ/SVQ assessors must have an assessment qualification. They gain this whilst working and typically take six months to a year to complete it. They must have either of the following:

  • A1 Certificate (assesses candidates using a range of methods).
  • A2 Certificate (assesses candidates' performance through observation).

Many local colleges and private training organisations offer training for A1 and A2 Certificates. To gain these Certificates, assessor candidates must build up a portfolio of evidence and have their practical skills assessed in the workplace. As a trainee assessor they have to be able to oversee the work of NVQ/SVQ candidates in their workplace or through an assessment centre, but are not able to do formal assessments until they are fully qualified.

Some providers accept only experienced professionals who have been put forward by their employers and who are qualified to Level 2 to 4 or equivalent in their selected occupational area. Others require that candidates are members of an accredited NVQ/SVQ centre's assessment team.

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A Few More Exams You Might Need

Assessors may join The Institute of Assessors and Internal Verifiers (IAV) as Associate members once they have begun assessor training. When they have worked as an assessor for at least twelve months they can apply for Licentiate membership and be added to the IAV's National Register. They can apply for Fellowship when they have been qualified for five years.

Assessors must undertake Continuing Professional Development to keep up to date with developments in their particular occupational sector and in assessment practice. To do this they may attend workshops and courses.

Skills and Personal Qualities Needed

An NVQ/SVQ assessor should:

  • Be experienced in the occupational area that they are assessing, at least to the level of award being assessed.
  • Have strong communication skills, including writing, speaking and listening.
  • Be able to encourage and motivate candidates.
  • Be able to work independently, as well as in a team.
  • To be fair and have good judgement in assessing against agreed standards.
  • Have commitment to keeping up to date with new developments.
  • Be well organised.
  • Be patient and supportive.
  • Have the confidence to visit different workplaces and to work with candidates.

Your Long Term Prospects

Assessors can broaden their role by becoming an internal or external verifier.

Internal verifiers work with a team of assessors monitoring the consistency and quality of the assessment process. They may be based in the workplace or at an assessment centre. To become a verifier they must gain the V1 qualification (conduct internal quality assurance of the assessment process).

External verifiers work for awarding bodies and monitor the work of assessment centres. To become a verifier they must gain the V2 qualification (conduct external quality assurance of the assessment process).

With experience, assessors may move into further education teaching, adult education tuition or training. Some assessors become self-employed and work on a freelance basis.

Get Further Information

Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD),
151 The Broadway, London SW19 1JQ
Tel: 020 8612 6200
Website: www.cipd.co.uk

City & Guilds,
1 Giltspur Street, London EC1A 9DD
Tel: 020 7294 2800
Website: www.city-and-guilds.co.uk

The Institute of Assessors and Internal Verifiers,
PO Box 148, Wirral CH62 7WB
Tel: 0151 334 8215
Website: www.iavltd.co.uk

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