Becoming a VQ Assessor: The ten things you need to know about this job

1. What kind of people typically apply for a job like this?

To be an assessor you need to have experience in the health and /or social care sector. This role is about assessing competence so you need to be competent in your field. People are attracted to the job of a VQ Assessor from a wide variety of backgrounds including nurses, social care practitioners, residential child care practitioners and registered managers of care provisions.

2. Do they need to be a VQ assessor already?

Ideally an assessor award is preferable, but if you don’t have an assessor qualification already, don’t let this put your off from applying. We will help you work towards you assessor award as part of your professional development.

3. What’s the most important thing you’re looking for in an ideal candidate?

To be our ideal candidate you’ll need extensive care experience and assessing experience. You should also be flexible, patient and good working and communicating with people of all ages.

4. What qualifications are needed for this job?

To be able to assess SVQ units you need to have a “registerable” qualification with the Scottish Social Services Council. You do not need to be registered or register with them. If you are unsure if your qualification meets this need you can visit . Some practice qualifications are accepted if they satisfy the following: A qualification meeting the registration requirements of the General Teaching Council (Scotland), Nursing and Midwifery Council or the General Medical Council. You must have a qualification at the level of HNC or above to be considered for the post.

5. What does a VQ assessor do?

In this job you will be working with students facilitating them to gather evidence to prove they are competent in their job. This includes visiting them in their workplace or placement, and observing them working with service users / clients. You will start by planning with the student what type of evidence is required, and discussing how the student will gather the evidence. It is then the student’s responsibility to match the evidence to the unit specification.  You then “mark” the work, give feedback, and update the assessment plan with all discussions. For this particular role, the majority of the students are studying HNC Social Services and can use their course work to evidence their competence. For each SVQ qualification there is a “National Occupational Standard” that the student or candidates are assessed against.

6. What’s the most rewarding part of the job?

Seeing students grow in confidence and be effective in the workplace. Knowing you are still “making a difference” to people who use the service, by ensuring the staff you have been involved with, are safe and knowledgeable.

7. What’s the most challenging part of the job?

Keeping all the students working steadily, and producing evidence regularly to achieve their units is the main challenge. Also having students who disengage with the process, or who do not have the required knowledge and skills to achieve, requires patience. Students can be overwhelmed with the amount of work required, so you need to be able to motivate them and have a flexible approach.. You need to know your stuff and be able to assert yourself!

8. What does a typical week look like?

Is there such a thing? As an assessor you will be in control of your own diary as you’ll need to make appointments that suit the placement, the student, the working hours and the service users. There is some classroom time allocated for students to work on their VQ units, and you will be in the class to assist with VQ assessment, or uploading evidence onto the electronic portfolio. (There will be a lecturer in the class too). Most weeks you’ll have a mix of assessing submitted evidence, meetings with students, other assessors, your line manager, curriculum manager, and arranging and undertaking observations of students’ practice. Some students will use their workplace to gather the evidence required. You’ll need to be flexible because some students study their HNC in an evening class, and some students are working night shifts or evening shifts.

9. What’s the main reason people have been unsuccessful in their application for this post?

A lot of people apply for these posts who do not have the experience required – for example they may have an HNC but have never worked in a health or social care setting. It’s essential to have work experience in this sector.

10. Any final words of encouragement?

The main things you need are the qualifications and the required experience. It is open to everyone who meets this criteria. Disabilities are not a barrier if reasonable adjustments can be made. You do need to be able to get to placements all over Ayrshire, so a car driver is preferable as not all placements are on a bus route.

Gillian Cameron is the Assessor Team leader and she has a disability and says, “ I am not fit enough to be a nurse now, but I can still help people by making sure the students who come through the college are skilled and knowledgeable, and uphold the codes of practice, standards, and legislation that is part and parcel of working in any field of health & social care.”

If you would like to have an informal chat about this vacancy, please call Gillian 0300 303 0303

Good luck!


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