Assessing Apprentices – A View From A New Assessor
I began my career in education back in the 1990s, teaching mainly 11-16 year olds in secondary school. Like many teachers, my favourite time of the year was June/July. However, that wasn’t just because of the impending six weeks’ summer holiday. It was because of two important events in the school calendar: one was Sports Day, which was held at Birmingham’s Alexander Stadium (the best venue possible!) and the other was Year 10 Work Experience.
Teachers whose year 11 pupils had officially left were asked to visit year 10 pupils on Work Experience to see how they were getting on. I remember visiting one lad who spent two weeks at a printer’s in Perry Barr. Towards the end of the second week, they had already set him a task that involved completing the whole project lifecycle, from designing on paper to printing out the finished piece of work on the business’s brand new £500,000 printing press. He was very enthusiastic, loved every day of his work experience, and subsequently used the work as his portfolio which helped him gain a place at Sutton College.
Being an assessor allows me to be involved with learners at the next stage of education into the world of employment. I see apprentices using the kind of software that I was never able to use with pupils at school because of budget constraints. I have Creative & Digital Media apprentices using industry standard software such as Adobe Premiere Pro, Photoshop, Illustrator and InDesign to name but a few. One of my Creative and Digital Media apprentices told me six weeks ago that she was going to be learning how to use Adobe InDesign. Last week, during an observation, she showed me what she had completed using InDesign. I was impressed by how much she had picked up in such a short amount of time. I asked her about the apprenticeship and how it had helped her. She replied;
“This apprenticeship has given me the chance to work within the creative industry doing a job I have always dreamed of doing. I have been given a chance to push myself and develop my skills and knowledge as a Graphic Designer by working on real client projects.”
I have Digital Marketing apprentices who are actively promoting the businesses they are working for. They are posting on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram, working on content marketing campaigns and sending out email campaigns using MailChimp. One digital marketing apprentice emailed me;
“The apprenticeship has allowed me to meet new people who have passed on their knowledge and skills of industry and life that I will use throughout my future. I have also gained so many new skills in something I knew little about and so much confidence in being in a full-time job and given responsibilities of my own within a company.”
This is the kind of feedback that gives me job satisfaction.
Craig Smith: Creative & Digital Media / Digital Marketing Assessor
Craig Smith has had a varied career which began as a PhD student doing research on Homotropanes, synthesising chemicals structurally similar to the deadly anatoxin-a (also known as Very Fast Death Factor) and drugs such as cocaine. After working as a Synthetic Organic Chemist in Food Research for several years he retrained as a Science Teacher, and then worked his way up to Head of the ICT Department.
Over the years he has trained staff in the use of both software and hardware and has become a very experienced and proficient user of Microsoft and Adobe products. He has been creating multimedia products and editing digital video since 1998. As well as assessing, he also produces videos for businesses and offers training in Video and YouTube.