Is this Your Year for a New Career?

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In part two of our series of interviews with people who have changed careers we talk to Sarita.

1. Tell us a bit about yourself
Sarita Ainsworth, I’m 21 with 18 years’ experience, NVQ assessor/trainer A1 with CTLLS.
2. What made you decide to become an NVQ Assessor? What were you doing before? Was it an epiphany or were you actively looking for a career change?
I was the manager of an Optician’s, pretty much worked in optics since leaving school, My boss came to see me in the October and told me the lease was up on the shop in the January and they would not be renewing it, and therefore I would be made redundant. I slapped my CV on every jobsite going and a training company rang and asked if part of my role was training people (it was) and would I consider re-training  as an NVQ assessor, I went for an interview and was offered the job of trainee optical retail assessor.
3. What process did you go through re: courses, work experience, business advice, etc.
 I had to gain my A1 (assessors award) within 12 months of starting the job, I was supposed to be shadowing a qualified assessor for one month, but my Dad died 4 days after starting the job,  the assessor did some training with another lady that started in the same role on the same day, so she ended up teaching me what she knew from the 2 weeks I wasn’t working, so with the help of internal verifiers we taught ourselves how to assess (this is not best practice) The first 4 days of the job was a crash course on the theory of assessing and how to complete the paperwork.
4. How long did the process take from inspiration to calling yourself a professional?
Hahaha I didn’t feel professional until I moved companies, so that was 2 years
5. What does a typical day involve for you?
I usually see 3 learners per day, travelling to each person’s workplace and delivering NVQs, functional skills in Maths English and ICT and providing support for any BTec tests they need to take. No two days are the same and every learner is different and needs different levels of support. I am qualified to assess: Management, Team Leading, Business Administration, Customer Service, Sales, Retail (and optical retail even though the company I work for now doesn’t offer it)
6. What are the best bits about your job?
The variety in my workday, and the satisfaction when someone has completed their qualification that they may go on to bigger and better things, for example I had a 45 year old male learner working in a bingo hall, he wanted to work for an airline (in any capacity) but couldn’t unless he had at least a Level 2 in customer service. He completed levels 2 and 3 with me and is now cabin crew with Jet2 airways
7. And the worst bits?
Ofsted inspections, paperwork and lone working
8. Has the change been a good one for you?
Yes, I am challenged every day, and I am also completing teaching qualifications whilst I am assessing.
9. What advice would you give to anyone considering something similar?
You need to watch out for trainee assessing positions, you can’t assess without the qualification, and you can’t get the qualification without assessing, be confident in your own skills and experience.
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Keep your eyes open for the next installment of this series next week, and please share if you found it interesting or inspiring
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