A day in the life of an apprentice … Part six

In July 2016 Ayrshire College decided to hire modern apprentices in Marketing and ICT. The marketing apprenticeship is funded by the Ayrshire College Foundation.

Eight months into her apprenticeship we asked Catriona Cook, our Digital Marketing Apprentice, to write a diary of her day-to-day tasks to give an insight into what her job involves.

Today is the final day in the series and Catriona tells us about the CDN Marketing Awards.

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Last night the marketing team attended the College Development Network Marketing Awards in Edinburgh. The ceremony was held in the Ghillie-Dhu and we won three silver and one bronze awards! One of the awards was for digital marketing – it’s great for me to be doing my apprenticeship in an award-winning team.

Ayrshire College

After the excitement of the CDN awards last night, it is time to get back to work. I decide to start my day with writing and scheduling social media posts on Facebook and Twitter to promote the #Respect campaign that the College is running. The Respect campaign encourages everyone to ‘Respect Yourself’, ‘Respect the Community’, ‘Respect the Environment’ and ‘Respect People’. The posts I scheduled link to the interviewing the College’s Front of House team blogs, they are a great insight into another team in the College. Read the series here:

https://ayrshirecollegeblog.wordpress.com/category/respect-campaign/

Next, I start working on scheduling posts for an exciting conference that the College are holding later this month called Ayrshire Bytes, which is part of DataFest17, a week of activities focused on data innovation. The Ayrshire Bytes conference will present a range of perspectives on data innovation and best practice, and showcase Scotland’s leading role in this area. There are going to be some great guest speakers attending, including Gillian Docherty, Chief Executive of The Data Lab, Brendan Faulds, Associate Director at NHS National Services Scotland, Vicky Brock, Chief Executive of Clear Returns, Daniel Macintyre, Senior Manager of Glasgow Tourism Strategy and Craig Hume, Managing Director of Utopia Computers and Richard Millar, Senior Manufacturing Systems Engineer at Spirit AeroSystems.

At the end of the day, I catch up with my boss Shelagh, and she gives me feedback on the work I’ve been doing that week. We then agree on my goals for the following week and this gives me clear instructions on what I need to work towards.

So, that’s my blog finished for Scottish Apprenticeship Week, I hope you’ve enjoyed having an insight into what it’s like working as a Modern Apprentice for Ayrshire College. My role is so varied and I’m always kept busy from day-to-day and I am always learning new skills. I am so lucky to have been given this opportunity at Ayrshire College, and I love working as a Modern Apprentice. It was definitely the right route for me to take, if you’re thinking of applying for an apprenticeship I would say go for it! It’s the best decision I have made.

8 things the Semta UK Training Partner of the Year Award means for Ayrshire

Coinciding with Scottish Apprenticeship Week, Ayrshire College has received the amazing accolade of being named the 2017 UK Training Partner of the Year at the Semta Skills Awards in London.

Semta is a UK-wide organisation and is the sector skills body for engineering and manufacturing apprenticeship frameworks in Scotland.

Over 500 people representing the best of British engineering attended the awards ceremony. This achievement reflects the work we do with the engineering industry in Ayrshire, particularly the cluster of aerospace companies around Prestwick Airport, and our internal and external partnerships that facilitate this.

What does this award say about Ayrshire College? Here are eight things we believe it tells us.

MA Week Twitter posts

It shows Ayrshire means business. It can be relatively quick and easy to acquire land and build premises, but to build a skills base is a much longer term investment. The recognition from Semta, rating us as being the top training partner in the UK is a sign that we have made this investment and Ayrshire is the prime location for aerospace and manufacturing companies to operate and grow.

Companies already operating in Ayrshire can be confident that the education and training sector matches their ambitions. Meanwhile, businesses thinking of relocating have assurances that a skilled workforce already exists locally, with future generations already in the pipeline.

We are also responding to the need for businesses to be lean and globally competitive by expanding our suite of training in Business Improvement Techniques. Ayrshire can rightly boast both a highly skilled and increasingly productive workforce.

The Modern Apprenticeship (MA) programme is at the heart of our offer to businesses in this sector. MAs allow companies to strategically invest in skills and combat the trend of an ageing manufacturing workforce that is seen across Scotland. The high quality of education and training we provide ensures that cohorts of MAs make a positive difference to the productivity and culture within the business. Indeed, most aerospace companies we work with recognise these advantages and have expanded their apprentice intakes over the last few years.

Opportunities are improved through partnerships with our local businesses and stakeholders. We are constantly engaging with businesses, directly and via partnerships such as Prestwick Aerospace and the Ayrshire Engineering Alliance, to establish their needs now and in the future. Through this continued engagement, we are able to invest our resources correctly, ensuring that we provide the right skills, in the right place at the right time. This engagement ensures that we can add elements to our programmes, such as Part 66 Aircraft Maintenance Licensing tuition and CAA exams, that are of real and immediate benefit to local businesses.

Local people are getting local jobs and, not just that, high value jobs too. Around 90% of our apprentice intake in 2016-17 was from local education, with 60% from an Ayrshire College course. These courses are specifically designed to align to job opportunities. Scottish Government’s Developing the Young Workforce strategy calls for more job recruitment directly from education and that is what we are achieving. As well as apprenticeship programmes, we are helping a wide variety of people find employment. Our employability courses are helping retrain unemployed engineers into jobs as sheet-metal workers for the aircraft maintenance industry and graduates from our full-time courses are also being recruited as trainee mechanics.

We are helping create the workforce of the future by giving school pupils access to inspirational programmes. Mission Discovery gave 200 young people from across Ayrshire the opportunity to be trained and truly inspired by NASA scientists, engineers and astronauts. Sponsored by the Ayrshire College Foundation, the 5-day event will ultimately see a pupil project being carried out on the International Space Station. Young people can now see the exciting jobs that are on their doorsteps. We have started offering the Foundation Apprenticeship in Engineering this year, supporting senior stage school pupils to expand their vocational skills and giving them access to our local industry.

A global business sector needs a world class training environment and that is what we provide. Our Aeronautical Engineering Training Centre opened in 2011 and has gone from strength to strength. Further investment in an upgraded composites materials laboratory has ensured we are providing world class training in advanced manufacturing and repair, to the latest standards. Recent courses in this technology have seen delegates from around Europe attend and raise their skills level. Our new £53 million campus in Kilmarnock is an exceptional learning environment equipped with the latest technology to extensively support engineering and manufacturing companies.

Our work doesn’t stop when people find employment. Far from it. We continue to work with our local companies to ensure their current workforce has the correct skills they need to prosper, whether it be in composite technology, business improvement or management skills to name but a few. Firstly, this helps increase the opportunities for Ayrshire’s workforce to reach their personal career aims. Secondly, it helps business sustainability and, hopefully, aids growth. Thirdly, the combination of these two elements will create the entry level opportunities for the next generation of apprentices and graduates, creating a truly virtuous cycle.

A diverse workforce is key to future success and is something we are committed to for the benefit of our communities and businesses. Current recruitment patterns to aerospace apprenticeships and full-time college courses still show a major gender imbalance with more than 90% being male. This creates a talent pool that is vastly reduced in size which sees females have a lack of opportunity to access high value jobs. Ultimately, a reduced talent pool can have a knock-on effect for business productivity also. We work hard alongside our business partners to challenge gender stereotyping and other equality issues and our This Ayrshire Girl Can campaign won the Herald Diversity award for Best Marketing and Social Issues Campaign.

 

Apprentices are a great way to build your team

For Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2017, we interviewed Robert Paterson, Training Officer from UTC Aerospace Systems. UTC has taken on 65 apprentices at their Prestwick operation over the last twenty years. Robert gives us an insight into the recruitment process at UTC.

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MA Week Twitter posts

How many apprentices do you currently employ?

We currently have 15 apprentices at various stages of the process and we’re looking to start another four this year.

What’s your intake each year and does this vary year to year?

This varies, it can be anywhere between two and six depending upon the forecast of the business need at that particular time.  We have long-term visibility of a shortage in a particular department and we’ve used the apprentice intake to fill that gap on previous occasions.

How do you recruit? 

We handle the entire recruitment ourselves.  We select candidates for testing based upon their application forms.  The testing is a two part process; one part is psychometric testing and they complete three tests, the other part is a hands-on task during which they have to follow instructions and use a variety of hand tools in order to assemble a test piece.

Where do you advertise and is there a specific time of the year you do this?

It’s advertised internally on the notice boards for word-of-mouth publicity and we also place an advert in the local press along with our website and the local Chamber of Commerce and in local schools and college.

What entry qualifications are you looking for?

We have two different apprenticeships to offer this year;

Mechanic/Inspector – we’re looking for qualifications in National 5 at A or B in English, Physics and Maths.  A practical craft subject is desirable, but not essential.  The candidate should have a demonstrable interest in engineering and/or mechanical activities.

Business Apprentice – we’re looking for Highers in Maths, English and a business-related subject.

Tell us about the learning experience your apprentice will have with you

Mechanic/Inspector – The apprentice will spend most of the first year off-site gaining basic qualifications (an NC and an SVQ2).  The rest of the apprenticeship will be spent gaining further qualifications (an HNC and an SVQ3) and learning their trade.  They’ll do this by working closely with experienced mechanics/inspectors and attending college on a day-release basis, learning to use technical data to help in the diagnosis and repair of problems and gaining hands-on experience of overhauling and repairing the aero engine nacelle components we work on.  The apprentice will rotate through various work areas to gain more experience and a wider understanding of the business in general.

Business Apprentice – This is a three-year programme with the apprentice typically spending six months in each team they visit, for example, HR, Commercial and Finance.  During this time, they will be given a project which relates to that particular area and also the qualifications they are studying towards.  These qualifications will be an HNC at college on a day-release basis and an SVQ3.  The apprentice will spend the first two years rotating through four areas then specialising in one particular area for their final year.  They will experience a wide variety of tasks in their rotations and will learn about the business.

What skills and qualities does an apprentice bring to your team?

Enthusiasm along with an eagerness to learn and develop.

Why do you believe apprenticeships are a great way to build your team?

An apprenticeship allows you to grow with your company, earning and learning along the way.  They experience many different areas of the business and tasks.  This gives them much more comprehension about business in general and their employer in particular.  All of this leads to a competent, well-rounded, employee that has the potential to slot into numerous areas if required.

Can you share a success story about one of your apprentices?

An apprentice that started in 1998, Derek Mackin, is now a Business Unit Leader of a well-performing product team.  Derek became a fully-qualified Mechanic/Inspector upon completion of his apprenticeship and moved into a supervisory position a few years later.  He then took on a customer-facing role to increase his commercial knowledge and vision.  He was promoted to Business Unit Leader a few years after that.  Derek started with us as a school-leaver and he now heads one of the busiest teams in the company.

Meet the Apprentice – Eva Mackie, EGGER (UK) Limited, Barony Plant

To celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2017, we are introducing a number of students who are at various stages of their apprenticeships.

Last up this week, we have Eva Mackie from EGGER (UK) Limited.


2.JPGEva was a dental nurse for four years before becoming an Environmental Laboratory Technician Apprentice with EGGER (UK) Limited at the Barony plant in Auchinleck, Ayrshire.

She began her apprenticeship in August 2016 and is delighted to have made the decision to change career paths when she did.

Eva, 22, said: “I just fancied a total change. I was bored, I didn’t like my job anymore and when I saw this opportunity I thought ‘I like the sound of that’.

“After my first day here, I remember going home and thinking to myself ‘oh no, what have I done’. From the second day onwards, however, that completely changed.  I’ve learned so much and would definitely recommend an apprenticeship to anyone.”

EGGER (UK) Limited’s, Barony plant is a modern, hi-tech chipboard plant which employs over 115 people.

The company has a well-developed apprenticeship scheme, and recruits mechanical and electrical apprentices annually.  However, this is the first time they have employed a laboratory apprentice.

Eva said; “Everyone on the site knows that I’m the first apprentice in the lab, so they always go out of their way to help me. I can ask anybody anything.

“My job involves testing the different surfaces, which I test for moistures, densities and sieves. We get samples every day from the water outlet at the front of the factory, which we are testing for ammonium, formaldehyde, COD and phosphate. We run these tests to ensure we are within the regulations with the Scottish Environment Protection Agency (SEPA).

“I see this as a long term career with a stable and sustainable company. There are plenty of opportunities to develop, gain extra training and progress my career.”

Eva is supervised by Wendy Cumming, Quality and Environmental Controller, who Eva calls “a massive help”.

Wendy said; “Eva is a breath of fresh air who is keen and quick at learning, which is important in this job as no two days are ever the same. It’s good to see another female in the production area too.

“Apprenticeships are very important. This is the first year we have had a lab apprentice and it is great to see the Barony apprenticeship scheme developing. In order to support succession planning we need the apprentices of today to undertake our specialist roles of tomorrow, to be more diverse and ultimately they are the future of EGGER.”

A growing demand for digital skills

Stuart Cree, Education Contracts Manager attended the SCDI Skills Summit 2017 at Microsoft in Edinburgh as part of Scottish Apprenticeship Week.  One of the key messages was about how improved digital skills would boost the Scottish economy and allow us to be more competitive. As Stuart reflects on the summit, he considers what this means for our Modern Apprenticeship programmes and how the College is responding to the growing demand for digital skills by organising a digital conference.

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The SCDI Skills Summit 2017 was a very inspiring event and I was particularly interested to hear from Dr Jim Hamill, Director of Future Digital Leaders. He highlighted the growing demand for digital skills and how automation and new technology will transform the workplace of the future. Many jobs we do today will have a digital element going forward. Skill sets at all levels will be impacted. Therefore, we need to prepare young people for the changing labour market through acquiring new and contemporary skills.

Dr Hamill predicted that nearly all job roles in 2020 will require digital skills to some extent, even very manual occupations such as construction will incorporate increasing elements of ICT. Digital skills will increasingly be seen as a fundamental and integral component of the Modern Apprenticeship frameworks offered by the College. The content of the College’s MA programmes will be required to adapt to stay relevant to the needs of the labour market and to the changes occurring in the workplace. The College’s overall portfolio of Modern Apprenticeship frameworks may not change dramatically in the short to medium term, but the content of the programmes will undoubtedly be transformed by the introduction of new technologies.

Ayrshire Bytes Social Media March Sponsor updates_EventbriteHeader

Another key speaker was Maggie Morrison from CGI, a global business who provide end-to-end IT and business process services. She said, “Improved digital skills would boost the Scottish economy and allow us to compete with global leaders such as Singapore.”

Interestingly, these findings will be covered in a conference we are organising on 21 March which is called Ayrshire Bytes: Data Changes Everything. The conference is part of Global DataFest 2017, a week of activities focused on digital innovation organised by The Data Lab, one of eight innovation centres funded by the Scottish Funding Council.

We have been exploring how we might engage with The Data Lab for the benefit of our students. The Ayrshire Bytes conference will present a range of perspectives on digital innovation and best practice, and showcase Scotland’s leading role in this area.

Digital is disrupting how we do business and, to be sustainable and innovative in this information age, businesses need to embrace the changes arising from developments in digital technology. This conference is a timely opportunity to consider how to ensure these changes convert into opportunities.

Bringing together leading experts from the public and private sectors, 150 delegates will be able to explore big data, predictive analytics and cyber security so that they can understand how to derive business intelligence from data.

Ayrshire Bytes will be led by one of Scotland’s leading digital experts – Caroline Stuart, who will ensure that participants derive maximum benefit from a range of speakers such as:

  • Gillian Docherty, Chief Executive of The Data Lab
  • Brendan Faulds, Associate Director at NHS National Services Scotland
  • Vicky Brock, Chief Executive of Clear Returns
  • Daniel Macintyre, Senior Manager, Glasgow Tourism Strategy
  • Craig Hume, Managing Director of Utopia Computers
  • Richard Millar, Senior Engineer of Spirit AeroSystems

Tickets are free and available at https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/datafest-2017-ayrshire-bytes-data-changes-everything-tickets-31511835749

Are you concerned about digital disruption? Will your skills need to change? Have you thought about the impact of digital on your business? Come along to our conference and find out why digital is such a big deal!

A day in the life of an apprentice … Part five

In July 2016 Ayrshire College decided to hire modern apprentices in Marketing and ICT. The marketing apprenticeship is funded by the Ayrshire College Foundation.

Eight months into her apprenticeship we asked Catriona Cook, our Digital Marketing Apprentice, to write a diary of her day-to-day tasks to give an insight into what her job involves.

It’s now day five of the series, and Catriona is heading to the College Development Network Marketing awards tonight.


This morning I met with Gordon Hunt, who is the Vice Chair of the Ayrshire College Foundation which funds my apprenticeship. The Ayrshire College Foundation (ACF) exists to support Ayrshire-based projects that provide educational opportunities for all age groups.

Jennifer, who is the College’s Digital Marketing Officer, and myself have been working on a new website for the ACF, you can access at http://ayrshirecollegefoundation.weebly.com/

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The purpose of today’s meeting is to interview Gordon for my blog series “Meet the Trustee”. The last trustee I interviewed was Margaret Harper who is the Depute Head of Grange Academy. She told me a bit about her background and why she got involved with the Ayrshire College Foundation and you can read that blog at: https://ayrshirecollegeblog.wordpress.com/2017/03/02/guest-post-margaret-harper-ayrshire-college-foundation-trustee/

I arrive back at the office in the afternoon and begin working on some of my apprenticeship learning outcomes. This week I’ve been working on a unit called “The Principles of Marketing and Evaluation.” I’ve been gathering evidence to present to my line manager Shelagh, and hopefully this that will be me finished this unit.

Tonight the marketing team is travelling to Edinburgh for the College Development Network Marketing Awards where Ayrshire College is a finalist in the PR & Communications and Digital Marketing categories, as well as being shortlisted twice in the Events category.

In preparation for our night at the awards ceremony, the marketing team has booked in to the College’s training salon for blow-dries and hair-ups. It is great having these amazing facilities on campus and both the training salon and the You. Salon are open to students, staff and the public. You can more information on Facebook @yousalon.

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Remember to check back tomorrow to see how we get on at the CDN awards!

 

Meet the Apprentice – Martin Frew, Wallace McDowall Ltd

To celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2017, we are introducing a number of students who are at various stages of their apprenticeships.

On Monday we heard from Craig Stobbs of Ayrshire Precision, on Tuesday we introduced you to GE Caledonian Ltd’s Tracey Govan and on Wednesday we met Louis Kerr from Watermiser.

Earlier today we heard from Colin McEwan of Woodward Aircraft Engine Systems, next up is Martin Frew from Wallace McDowall Ltd.


Wallace McDowall Ltd, based in Monkton, was established over 47 years ago as a sheet metal fabricator. Over the years, they have grown into one of the UK’s leading sub-contract engineering companies.

Martin, 19 from Kilwinning, is a Welder and Fabricator Apprentice at Wallace McDowall Ltd.

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Martin said “I was at college last year doing the Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) course, which was a good head start in this industry.  The course covered a few aspects of the engineering industry, and I got to know what I enjoyed doing the most, which turned out to be welding.

After I had finished the course, I started applying for jobs that were advertised at the College which ended up with me becoming a Welder and Fabricator apprentice.

First thing in the morning, the supervisor gives me a job spec and I just get on with it.  I enjoy being an apprentice. I like being left to myself to get on with the job.  I’m in college one day a week, and the rest of the time I’m working.  I mostly work on my own, but if I need help I can go to supervisors or they’ll talk me through the job.

Getting hands-on experience is definitely the main benefit of being an apprentice.  There’s so many people I work with that can pass on their knowledge or give advice when I need it, so it’s good to have all of that to hand.  For me, it’s an easier way to learn.

Just being able to get my trade papers is great.  I’ve not decided where I want to be when I finish here, but it’ll definitely be a career in welding.”

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Meet the Apprentice – Colin McEwan, Woodward Aircraft Engine Systems

To celebrate Scottish Apprenticeship Week 2017, we are introducing a number of students who are at various stages of their apprenticeships.

On Monday we heard from Craig Stobbs of Ayrshire Precision, on Tuesday we introduced you to GE Caledonian Ltd’s Tracey Govan and on Wednesday we met Louis Kerr from Watermiser.

Next up is 18-year-old Colin McEwan from Saltcoats who is in the first year of his apprenticeship with Woodward Aircraft Engine Systems, based in Prestwick.


IMG_7933Woodward Aircraft Engine Systems is an independent designer, manufacturer, and service provider of control solutions for the aerospace and industrial markets.

Colin said “I’m a hands-on kind of person and was always interested in going down the engineering route. I found out about Woodward through a school visit at Ardrossan Academy in fourth year.  I kept in contact and asked if I could arrange some work experience, which I did a few months later.

The week’s work experience was really useful as I received a lot of feedback. The best advice I received about how to get into the engineering industry was to do the Performing Engineering Operations (PEO) course at Ayrshire College.  Just as I was about to finish the PEO course, I contacted Woodward.  As it turned out, I got a trial, then got started as an assembly apprentice and have now been here for 7 months.

At the moment I am getting trained on working the controls, so that means stripping them down and building them back up.  On a typical day, we have a team meeting with the section.  I find out what I’ll be working on and who I’m working with.  I have specific one-to-one training every day and I’ll stay in each section for about 8 weeks, before moving onto the next.  It’s really good training at Woodward as you get the chance to find out about every part of the industry.  In my second year, I’ll be in a more specific section, the first year is more general.

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I would definitely like to stay at Woodward once I complete my apprenticeship and learn as much as I can.  It’s a fairly small company and I’d like to try to develop my skills here.

I love the amount of hands-on work I get to do here, everyone’s great to work with too.  I hope to develop into the engineering side of things in the aviation industry later on, so would go to university, and eventually work my way up in the aviation industry.

A day in the life of an apprentice … Part four

In July 2016 Ayrshire College decided to hire modern apprentices in Marketing and ICT. The marketing apprenticeship is funded by the Ayrshire College Foundation.

Eight months into her apprenticeship we asked Catriona Cook, our Digital Marketing Apprentice, to write a diary of her day-to-day tasks to give an insight into what her job involves.

It’s now day four of the series, and Catriona is working on a photo shoot with Guy Hinks visiting Kilwinning and Irvine campuses.

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Today I am working alongside photographer Guy Hinks to capture images for some artwork to display around the College. I have been briefed by Lynn, our graphic designer on what kind of images she would like to get from today. Guy and I are going to visit various areas in the College today including, Early Years, Social Science, Environmental Science, Business/Administration, HIVE, Supported Education and Hair, Beauty, Make-Up and Complementary Therapies.

Catriona Part 4

Prior to today, I had to email lecturers to arrange the photo shoot because I had to ensure that the students knew we were coming. I also had to print enough model release forms to give to students so that we have permission to use their photos. Finally, I drew up a timetable for each area. It’s important to stick to a tight schedule to ensure we are able to visit all areas we have in our plan.

I had to think of lots of other things whilst Guy was taking the photos, for example, making sure the working environments were all tidy and that students were wearing appropriate protective clothing for their area. It has been a really busy day, but a great feeling of achievement seeing the end result.

While I’m at the Irvine Campus for the photo shoot, I have arranged a meeting with class rep, Alen McKillop to take a video of him for our #HowToAC video series. For these videos we are asking students to show us how to do some handy things related to their course. For example, we had a motor vehicle student showing us how to check your car oil levels and a care student showing us how to perform CPR. For Alen’s video we are going to do a sport-related video – keep an eye on our social media pages for that!

Tomorrow I am meeting with Gordon Hunt from UWS, who is one of the trustees on the Ayrshire College Foundation. I have prepared some questions and I am going to interview him about his career and why he became a trustee.

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.

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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:

https://ayrshirecollegeblog.wordpress.com/2016/02/29/apprenticeships-key-to-developing-ayrshires-young-workforce/

See our blog on 10 Reasons to Study for a Career in Care:  https://ayrshirecollegeblog.wordpress.com/2016/08/03/10-reasons-to-study-for-a-career-in-care/

School – College Courses: Early Education and Childcare, Rebecca Nix and Amanda Barr: https://ayrshirecollegeblog.wordpress.com/2015/12/23/school-college-partnership-programme-rebecca-nix-and-amanda-barr-3/