Things are changing for assessors

The assessor role is changing.  This changing assessor role is best demonstrated by two recent articles I read.

In an article published on the FE News website called “The changing role of the assessor in apprenticeships”, Hilary Read argues that:

“You (assessors) need to ensure that your own occupational competence and knowledge are up-to-date. This is to ensure you have the right skills and knowledge to remain credible to employers. Employers involved in apprenticeships are already taking the assessment function in-house. You may need to go back into industry to remain employable.”assessor role is changing

Euan Blair, writing for Unifrog about a year ago, said this:

“The current shift from apprenticeship frameworks (narrow, didactic qualifications that suited a generic approach to delivery), to apprenticeship standards (flexible, employer-designed qualifications that match skills gaps), should be hugely supportive of this endeavour. Currently, too many assessors lack sufficient relevant experience to deliver a truly modern, work-based qualification. A particular concern is the number of assessors who are so far removed from the latest developments in their sector that they are ill-equipped to deal with crucial technological developments. Attracting top quality professionals to deliver apprenticeships is not straightforward, but a significant selling point will be the chance to teach university level qualifications, as will working with employers in a sector they know well to develop innovative content and delivery methods. This development could bring with it a new generation of outstanding teachers/assessors.”

Business as usual for assessors will just not cut it.

So, how should assessors prepare for the coming changes?  Here are a few suggestions:

  1. Find out about the apprentice standards in the sector you are interested in.  A good place to start would be the government website on standards.
  2. Audit your skills.   What do you need to improve on?   For example, the new Digital Marketing Standard now has a Coding section.  This means a good understanding of HTML, CSS and Javascript is a must.
  3. Expand your skills by taking courses offered by entiies like Edx, Future Learn and Coursera.
  4. Gain practical experience.  I built this website to improve my SEO and  E-commerce Skills.

Vocational Online is a free resource site for assessors and apprentices.   Improve the career prospects of your colleagues by sending them this link – .

Features of Text

Features of text make a text stand out:   They include:

  1. Titles
  2. Headings
  3. Sub-headings
  4. Paragraphs
  5. Images

This is often a 2-mark question in Functional Skills English Level 1.

How to compress learner video files

Learners sometimes record videos as part of their evidence collection; these videos are then uploaded either by the learner or the assessor to an e-portfolio or eLearning system. If the video is too large, this may not work. One of my colleagues had a similar problem and asked for help on how to compress video files recorded by her learners. This short document will show you how to compress learner video files:


  1. Go to
  2. Download Handbrake


  1. Click on Save File


  1. Doubleclick and Install
  2. Click Yes to everything
  3. Start Handbrake
  4. Pick Singlesource (for your work, we will batch the whole thing)


  5. Pick these settings


And this

How to Send Mass Emails to Your Learners Using Excel, Word and Outlook

Picture this:

  1. You want to send emails to all your learners in a class or cohort.
  2. Each email should be personal

Most tutors would reach for Outlook and send individual emails.  While this may be a good idea for sending 5 emails, it quickly becomes a pain if you send 20 emails?  This article will show you how to do this without sending 20 individual emails.


  1. Outlook should be open


  1. Enter the email addresses and names as shown in the attached spreadsheet (emails.xlsx)

  1. Start Word
  2. Switch to Mailings ribbon

  1. Click on Start Mail Merge

  1. Pick E-Mail Messages from the drop down list

  1. Click on the Select Recipients List

  1. Pick Choose Existing List

  1. Browse and pick your emails.xlsx file and click OK

  1. Start by composing the body of your message in Word.
  2. Now customise by positioning your cursor where you want something to go and select “Insert Merge Field”

  1. Save your work as usual – here I called it mailtasks.docx
  2. Switch to the Mailings Ribbon again

  1. Click on the Finish and Merge Menu

  1. Select Send Email Messages

  1. Add a subject line

  1. Click OK
  2. Always add yourself to the list to see how it works

How to add, subtract, divide and multiply in Excel

  1. Start Microsoft Excel and enter the following numbers in cells C2, C3, D2,D3, E2,E3, F2, F3

  1. Then write without quotes “Add” in C1, “Subtract” in D1, “Multiply” in E1 and “Divide” in F1. Write “Result” in B4 You should have something like this:

  1. Now to add two numbers in Excel, enter = in cell C4, and select C2 , then + and then select C3

  1. Then press enter. You should see the result:

  1. To subtract, enter = in cell D4, then select D2, then the minus sign (-), and select D3

  2. Then press Enter. You should get the result (highlighted)

  1. To multiply, enter = in cell E4, then select E2, then the multiply sign (*) – above the number 8, and select E3

  1. Then press Enter and you should get the results (highlighted)

  1. To divide, enter = in cell F4, then select F2, then the divide sign (/) – below the question mark ?, and select F3

  1. Then press Enter and you get the results (highlighted):