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Here we set out answers to commonly asked questions about our Assessor, IQA and Trainer courses.  If you can’t find the answer to your question, please feel free to contact us.

What does an Assessor do?

What is an Assessor?

Assessors support and assess people working towards National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs).  They make sure that candidates meet the occupational standards needed to achieve the NVQ.

As an Assessor you would:

  • Observe candidates in their workplace
  • Examine candidates’ portfolios of evidence
  • Question candidates to assess how they would deal with non-standard situations
  • Provide feedback and offer advice if the standards are not met
  • Sign off the N\VQ when all the requirements have been met
  • Keep records of candidates’ progress, according to the requirements of the NVQ Awarding Bodies
  • Attend meetings with other Assessors
  • Work closely with training staff and candidates’ line managers

What do I need to operate as an NVQ Assessor?

In addition to good communication skills and the ability to handle basic report writing and some administration, you will need 3 key things:

  1. An Assessor qualification – either the Level 3 Assessor ‘Award’ (specifically for assessing in either a work or a training environment), or the Level 3 Assessor ‘Certificate’ (for assessing in both a work and a training environment and formerly called the A1).
  2. A thorough knowledge of the National Occupational Standards or qualification subject area you wish to assess.
  3. Sufficient and credible work experience in the occupation and at or above the Level you wish to assess.

Once qualified, you will need to be employed by, and registered with, an Approved NVQ Assessment Centre that delivers the course you want to assess.  An Approved Assessment Centre can be an employer, college, or other training organisation.  Just like any prospective employer, these Centres may add their own requirements on top of the minimum listed above – for example they may only want to employ experienced Assessors.

What are the Assessor Qualifications?

What Assessor qualifications are available?

There are four Level 3 Assessor qualifications aimed at people working in assessment.  They cover how to plan, prepare, conduct and gather evidence for assessment:

Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement

This NVQ Certificate is the only qualification that will qualify you to assess learners in the workplace and in learning environments (classrooms, workshops and virtual learning environments). It also qualifies you to use the full range of assessment methods.

This qualification was formerly known as the A1.

Level 3 Award in Assessing Competence in the Work Environment

This NVQ Award is for those who assess competence in the workplace only and using the following assessment methods: observation/examining work products/oral questioning and discussion/use of witnesses/learner statements/Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL).

Level 3 Award in Assessing Vocationally Related Achievement

This NVQ Award is for those who assess competence in training environments only and using the following assessment methods: assessments in simulated environments/skills tests/oral and written questions/assignments/projects/case studies/RPL.

Level 3 Award in Understanding Principles and Practice

This Award is a theory-only qualification aimed at those beginning an Assessor role and those who need to know about assessment practice but who are not practising, such as those who wish to become Assessors, quality assurance staff or managers.

Here is more detail on the Assessor qualifications.

For details of the full set of Assessor qualifications, units and standards, please visit here.

Which is the right Assessor qualification for me?

The right qualification for you depends on whether you wish to practice as an Assessor, in what kind of environment and how much flexibility you require in undertaking assessments.

The Level 3 ‘Certificate’ is the only qualification that makes you a fully qualified Assessor with the flexibility to assess in both the workplace and training environments and is the qualification recommended by ATDirect.  The other qualifications are more limited but may suit some individuals in certain circumstances.

How do I get qualified as an Assessor?

What do I have to do on the Assessor Certificate course?

  • 1-day training course
  • 4 assessments (2 assessments each on 2 different Learners)
  • Complete a Portfolio of Evidence (with our personal support as required) to show our Awarding Body (NCFE) that you have met the Level 3 Assessor Certificate requirements.

How do I organise the Assessments and find 'Learners'?

To achieve the Level 3 Assessor Certificate, you will need to carry out 4 assessments (2 each on 2 different ‘Learners’).  On the Training Day you will carry out a practical assessment exercise to get ‘hands on’ experience of applying assessment processes.


Your ATDirect Trainer will also help you plan the 4 assessments you will carry out after the Training Day.  Each assessment can be straightforward – each need only be on a single Unit of an NVQ or other vocational qualification, and can be in anything that you are competent to assess.  Also, your Learner must have been properly prepared to demonstrate competence.  We will advise you on finding appropriate Learners and Units to assess.  If you think your circumstances may create difficulties in this area, give us a call.

How quickly can I get qualified as an Assessor?

  • The classroom training takes a day – you should be able to complete your Portfolio in a few weeks, less if it is a top priority for you.
  • You will receive your certificate 2 to 3 weeks after completion.
  • You can operate as an Assessor once you have done the classroom training as, from that point, you are ‘working towards’ your Assessor Certificate.

How should I prepare for the Assessor Certificate course?

  • Check that you meet the Level 3 Assessor Experience Requirements (look in the Centre Handbook for the qualification(s) you want to assess).
  • We will provide you with course preparation notes, including useful links.
  • Refresh your knowledge of the National Occupational Standards (the NVQ) you wish to assess, including any recent changes.
  • If employment is your goal, research online or seek advice from recruitment or career agencies.
  • Call us if in doubt about any of the above – we’d be happy to have a no-obligation chat.

I am out of work. Can I still do the Assessor Certificate course?

Yes …  But, you will need to be able to access Learners. Call us if you have a problem with this.  In nearly all cases we have been able to help our Assessor trainees identify and find Learners, whether they are in work or not.

How do I get work as an Assessor?

How will I operate as an Assessor, and can I operate as a Freelancer?

You must be employed by and operate through one or more Approved NVQ Assessment Centres that deliver the NVQs you can assess.  An Approved Assessment Centre can. be an employer, college, or other training organisation.  You can be freelance in the sense that you can assess Learners through more than one Centre.

How can I find out where my nearest Centres are that deliver the NVQs I want to assess?

Try a Google search for ‘NVQ Courses + your NVQ Title + your town or region’.

How do I know if my work experience is sufficient to enable me to assess the NVQs I want?

The Assessor (Experience) Requirements (ie. the appropriate level of experience – and sometimes qualifications – in your field, such that you can be credible as and Assessor) are specified in each NVQ, and are different for each NVQ.  To find out what they are try an internet search for ‘NVQ Title + Level + Assessor requirements +/or Guide to Centres’.

Bear in mind that some Awarding Bodies make it easier to find NVQ reference documents than others – if you can’t find it, try another Awarding Body website.  If in doubt, give ATDirect a call and we will try to help.

I have heard that my A1 qualification is out-of-date. Is the A1 still valid and where can I find out about the new qualifications?

The A1 was replaced by the Level 3 Certificate in Assessing Vocational Achievement in 2012.  However, the A1, and the D32/33, remain valid so long as you can prove that you are current and knowledgeable about the new standards/qualifications.  As with all Vocational Qualifications, the holders of all certificates – including the Assessor Qualifications – should keep their knowledge up-to-date with changes to the standards, and should maintain proof of Continual Professional Development (CPD).  If you haven’t been working as an Assessor since 2012, you may wish to undertake some refresher training to update your skills against the new standards.

Will ATDirect help me find a job as an Assessor?

Although ATDirect is a training provider rather than a recruitment consultant, we will provide what informal guidance we can.

ATDirect will be launching a new jobs website specialising in Trainers, Assessors and Quality Assurers very soon.  Please register your interest in advertising as either a job seeker, employer, or recruitment consultant by contacting us.

How do I update my A1 Qualification?

What has replaced the A1 qualification for Assessors?

In 2012 the A1 qualification for Assessors was replaced with 4 new qualifications.

Of the 4 new qualifications, the level 3 ‘Certificate’ is the higher qualification broadly equivalent to the old A1.  it is made up of the following 3 units:

  • 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

The 4 Assessor qualifications together with new qualifications for Internal Quality Assurers (formerly V1), External Verifiers and Trainers form a family of qualifications commonly referred to as TAQA (Trainers, Assessors & Quality Assurers) qualifications.

What are the main differences between the A1 and the Level 3 Assessor Certificate?

There is a stronger knowledge base than previously and this is evidenced by the ‘mandatory knowledge unit’.

The qualification has been written to fit into a national framework for qualifications and so is credit valued and has a level. (The national framework was called the Qualifications Credits Framework (QCF) but has since been renamed the Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF).

It is open to anyone who is carrying out assessments – not just for those working with NVQs as previously.

It covers assessment practice in both training environments (classrooms, workshops and virtual learning environments) and the workplace.

Is my A1 qualification still valid?

Yes, the A1 (and the D32/33) remain valid so long as you can prove that you are current and knowledgeable about the newer standards.  It is recommended that you keep a Continuous Professional Development (CPD) file containing a record of how you have kept up-to-date as this may be required by prospective employers.  If you haven’t been working as an Assessor since 2012, you may wish to undertake some refresher training to update your skills against the newer standards.

Looking for work as an Assessor, IQA or Trainer?

Visit Jobsora for Assessor, IQA and Trainer jobs in the UK and further afield.

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