NVQ assessors work with candidates to help them meet the occupational standards (competences) needed to gain National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs).

An assessor will first identify what a new NVQ candidate knows and is able to do. This enables any further underpinning knowledge and skills that the candidate needs to gain to be agreed. An individual action plan is produced and the assessor monitors the candidate’s progress against this, whilst advising and supporting him or her throughout the period of learning and assessment.

Occupational competences

Occupational competences are assessed in a number of ways. These include:

  • Observing candidates in their workplace questioning candidates on a one-to-one basis to assess their knowledge and to gauge how they would deal with non-standard situations
  • Monitoring and recording candidates’ progress, which might involve examining portfolios containing evidence of a candidate’s knowledge, understanding and vocational competence. Depending on the nature of the candidate’s work, the evidence might be paper based, in the form of electronic or audio-visual records or as a product that a candidate has made.

As an assessor your typical role would include the following:

  • Plan and deliver vocational training programmes and workshops
  • Observe and assess candidates in their workplace
  • Examine candidates’ portfolios of evidence
  • Question candidates about how they would deal with non-standard situations
  • Provide feedback and offer advice if the standards are not met
  • Sign off the award 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.

Photographic, video recording, questions and answers, witness statements


  • Arrange to meet with candidate at a suitable time – let the employer know the time and date
  • Meet with candidates and develop a good sound working relationship with them
  • Carefully explain your role
  • Carefully explain the qualification requirements including what is expected of them
  • Complete any paperwork including ILP etc.
  • Prepare the candidate for assessment
  • Carry out the assessment
  • Collect and judge performance evidence against criteria
  • Assess and confirm judgment of knowledge against knowledge requirements
  • Provide and give clear and constructive feedback
  • Complete all paperwork

NVQ Evidence Types

  • the Accreditation of Prior Achievement (APA) — where qualifications previously gained can count towards an NVQ unit or where evidence relates to past experience or achievements, this may also be known as Accreditation of Prior Learning (APL)
  • observation of current practice by a qualified assessor — where evidence is generated from a job or voluntary role
  • Expert witness statements — might be your line manager, a colleague or a customer. You need to work with your assessor to make sure that the witness statements are acceptable
  • Work products — such as work you have undertaken yourself that show a level of understanding or skill. This work may have been done as part of a job or, where permissible, it may have come from a simulation that is as close to a real working environment (RWE) as possible.

It is important that your evidence is:

  • Valid — it relates to the NVQ standard you are trying to achieve and claim
  • Authentic — the evidence, or an identified part of it (e.g. a report), was produced by the candidate
  • Current — usually not more than two years old,
  • Sufficient — covers all the areas of competence that are needed.

Apprentice Review

The top section, with candidate details and date of the last review, can be filled in before the visit in order to save time with the candidate. The assessor should have also prepared for the review by looking back at the last review to see what actions were set for the candidate, as any that have not been completed will be carried forward to this review and need to be noted as actions for completion for the next review. The assessor will have also reviewed what the candidate has been working on or achieved since the last review, if they have visited the candidate or received any work from them, since the last review.

The review must take place in a private place where the conversation cannot be overheard by other people. This is to allow the apprentice to feel secure that they can discuss any issues they may be having.

The assessor should start with a general question to the candidate such as “How are you finding the course so far?” in order to open up the dialogue between the assessor and the candidate. It is important, for candidates who are young and/or new to their job role (or are working in a work placement arranged by Ken Bate Associates Limited) that the assessor asks how they are finding their job role and the company they are working for as part of every review.

Other general questions, such as “What do you like best about your job?” and/or “Have you been doing any new tasks since the last review?” are useful in order to find out what the candidate has been doing since the last review. This not only tells the assessor how they are finding and enjoying the job role but can provide the assessor with useful information which can be used for assessment purposes towards the Apprenticeship programme. A task completed by the candidate that may sound trivial when described by the candidate could provide evidence: this is especially useful if the candidate is being visited once a month.

Progress on all elements of the Apprenticeship programme are discussed, with work completed or being worked on currently addressed with end dates set for the pieces being worked on. These must be written into the Actions section of the review form. Any pieces of work which have been completed without being asked or have been completed to a particular high standard should be praised. Any units which have been signed off in recent visits or to be signed off in this visit should be addressed and noted on the sheet.
Observations, professional discussions or any other forms of evidence should not be recorded on the review sheet. An apprenticeship review is a record of where the candidate is up to in all areas of the programme on that day.

The candidate should be asked for their comments on their progress on the course and this should be written by the candidate in the candidate comments section with a signature.
The employer can be present at the whole review meeting if they can be (and the candidate wants them to be there). If the candidate specifically requests that their manager or employer not be at the meeting, then this must be respected. if the employer cannot be present at the meeting then they should be informed of what has been discussed in the review (unless it is confidential between the assessor and the candidate) and they should be informed of the candidate’s progress on the programme. They should be asked for their comments on the candidate’s performance and to write this in the employer comments section with a signature.

The assessor should sign and date the review form.

When the review form is brought back to the office, with the copy kept in the candidate file and the original passed to Admin.