An assessor needs to be enthusiastic and motivated for students

During Scottish Apprenticeship Week we thought it would be good to do a series of blogs called, “Meet the Assessor.” These are designed to help employers and apprentices gain an insight into the role of an assessor.

Next in the series is Grace Coughtrie who is a Social Care SVQ Assessor.


Grace Coughtrie Blog Photo

My role is to support and guide students throughout their award by assessing, verifying and observing their work.

I am enthusiastic and motivated to provide a good knowledge and understanding to students, to ensure that the service that is provided to vulnerable individuals within our community is the best it can be.

I have worked full-time within the field of social care in a variety of different roles and sections; from a care worker, to manager, to vocational development officer, and then assessor/verifier for 35 years. Currently, I am an assessor within elderly care, childcare, learning disabilities, and mental health.

I have also been involved in social care inductions for new individuals coming into work within the care sector. This involves the delivery of a variety of different training subjects that are relevant to working within care.

My background in care is what has prepared me with the relevant qualifications, skills and experience to assess awards in social care, as it is essential that all assessors must be competent in the area that they are assessing.

What does an assessor do?

An assessor has two essential roles. One role is more active; which involves asking questions, interacting, giving feedback, and recording. The second role is passive, which involves observing the student during their work.

It is the responsibility of an assessor/verifiers to organise, chair and distribute the minutes of the assessor/verification standardisation meetings for each vocational qualification/work-based award. The purpose of these meetings is to ensure that appropriate assessment materials are available for delivery, to monitor consistency of assessment decisions during delivery, and to review assessment work and delivery.

In my role, I visit a lot of different types of companies. Within the care sector I visit a large variety of organisations in criminal justice, homeless sector, residential for adults, respite for learning disabilities, care homes for adults, independent living, and GP surgeries. The health care sector is even bigger and would be an endless list of companies.

As an example; today I visited a student who works within the community care team that support individuals in their home. I offered my support and guidance in their reflective writing and encouraged them to follow the assessment process.

For a student to be successful in their award in Health and Social Care they would be required to be in permanent employment and working towards achieving an SVQ SCQF Level 6 or SCQF Level 7, which will be dependent on their role within the workplace. They will also be required to complete core skills in numeracy and ICT which they will participate in during college hours.

The assessment does not have to be time-consuming or difficult to complete. It can turn out to be an extremely useful and informative learning experience. So much depends on the assessor. Some advice I can give is if the following points are covered, the worst pitfalls will be overcome.

  • Give clear information to the student on the purpose of assessment and the assessment process.
  • Give clear information on what is being assessed.
  • Allow the student to ask questions and clarify the procedures.
  • Try to put the student at ease – assessment elicits strong emotions.
  • Remain in the background as much as possible.
  • Use language appropriate to the student.
  • Allow the student time to answer any questions fully.
  • Confirm achievement as soon as sufficient evidence is produced.
  • Carry out feedback sessions and encourage the student to discuss their performance and to learn from any mistakes.
  • Complete, sign and date all necessary paperwork to record results of a vocational qualification.

Being an assessor is a rewarding career. Ensuring that the service being provided to vulnerable individuals is the best it can be, is extremely important to the wellbeing of the community. Modern apprentices are vital to the health and care sector. It is also a great career path for a young person who wants to work in the industry.

Why Apprentices are key developing Ayrshires young workforce:

See our blog on 10 Reasons to Study for a Career in Care:

School – College Courses: Early Education and Childcare, Rebecca Nix and Amanda Barr:

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