National Apprenticeship Week 2015 has been running all week and been a hot topic within the education and training sector.
When most people think about apprenticeships, it is either doing one or providing one. The majority of events supporting National Apprenticeship Week are focused around encouraging take-up amongst both potential apprentices and employers (with the apprenticeships reforms being a theme this year). There is one group of people commonly forgotten during this celebration of all things apprenticeships. They are an integral part to the running of apprenticeship schemes; the unsung heroes that come in the form of Apprenticeship assessors.
Assessors are integral in ensuring positive outcomes for both the learner and employer. They play a crucial role in maintaining the standards of learning, teaching and up-skilling, as well as ensuring every scheme delivers training that is relevant and valuable to both learner and employer.
In order to maintain and improve the standards of Apprentice schemes, it is vital that more talent is encouraged into the assessing industry. The substantial increase in the number of Apprenticeship starts is great, but delivery could prove problematic if there aren't sufficient talented assessors available. Sector competence is not sufficient on its own. We need assessors who can teach, assess and regulate but truly inspire and motivate; often a rare combination.
In addition to encouraging talented individuals to consider becoming assessors, the industry needs to ensure it is accessible as a career path in order to ease the route in, particularly in the skills shortage areas.
There are literally hundreds of assessor jobs available at the moment, so the shortage of assessors is apparent. A key issue is Colleges/Training Providers considering applications from already qualified and experienced assessors only. Whilst it is easy to understand the rationale behind this trend, I question whether highly competent would-be assessors are deterred from taking up this option due to a lack of opportunities at entry level.
The problem is not just one of encouraging new talent into the industry, but one of retaining the excellent assessors already in the field. We need to ensure every step is taken to provide them with ongoing training and support. Offering career progression opportunities and a clear 'path' for those who desire it is also vitally important.
In light of this, our focus for National Apprenticeship Week is to champion the role of the assessor and encourage increasing numbers to join the industry. After all, without excellent assessors, we wouldn't have excellent Apprentices.
Here at SL Training and Development we specialise in the delivery of assessor qualifications and want to aid the next generation of assessors to enter the sector. If you are an Employer, Training Provider, College or an individual looking to become an assessor, we can help you so please get in touch.