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NVQ & Apprenticeship Initial Assessment Process



CTSW Training Ltd believes that by carrying out an initial assessment with every learner before they begin their NVQ or apprenticeship will establish the “starting point” or “baseline”, of the learner and is critical because it represents the first stage in the below learning cycle.

The purpose is to enable us to design a learning plan that reflects the leaners specific learning and support needs that the learner requires to enable them to address barriers and provide the structure for their learning, which ensures that each learner gets the most out of his or her learning programme.

The process will also inform how much of the NVQ/ apprenticeship training content the individual requires. It will also ensure the apprenticeship is an appropriate training programme for the learner and will build a clear, accurate and realistic picture of a learner’s:-

  • current attainments/prior learning/how much content will be new to them

  • potential to complete their chosen qualification

  • learning needs

  • learning styles

  • skills gaps

  • enabling the identification of their goal and what they are trying to achieve/where they are currently against this goal

  • appropriate advice and guidance

  • an appropriate qualification at an appropriate level

  • an appropriate assessor

  • relevant abilities, interests and aspirations

This then leads to the review, implementation and continual development of an effective Individual Personal Learning Plan (ILP) and identification of learning and assessment opportunities. Once Initial Assessment has taken place CTSW Training Ltd will agree with the employer how the programme will be delivered to reflect any relevant existing knowledge, skills and behaviours and costings.

Initial assessment/prior learning must be documented in the evidence pack and summarised on the commitment statement.


It is essential that we put the learner at the centre of the initial assessment process, the process is an important part of the assessor gaining and understanding a rounded picture of the learner as a person.

Our strategy is that:-

  • All learners are fully involved in the initial assessment process

  • Learners understand the benefits of what they are being asked to do and how the information is used

  • Recommendations on how learning requirements will be met are agreed

  • Constructive feedback is given in a positive and encouraging way

  • Learners views are collected on the initial assessment process

  • Initial assessment methods are appropriate

  • The purpose of each method is explained to the learner

  • Assessment methods are monitored to ensure that they are effective and that they do not discriminate against certain groups of learners

  • Outcomes of initial assessment are recorded on an individual summary record and used when designing the learning plan

  • During the initial assessment interviews the learners are guided through the completion of a number of initial assessments these include (where appropriate):-

Prior Learning - Before an apprenticeship begins, CTSW Training Ltd assesses the individual’s prior learning to establish the ‘starting point’, or baseline, of the learner. This informs how much of the training content the individual requires. It also checks that the NVQ/apprenticeship is an appropriate training programme for the individual. 

Learners should not be spending time doing training they do not need, and the learner will not have a good experience if they are repeating training.

The initial assessment also checks how much of the programme the individual requires to reach occupational competency. Assuming there is some relevant prior learning, we assess whether the individual still needs an apprenticeship with a minimum duration of 12 months with at least 20% off-the-job training. In some circumstances, this amount of training will not be necessary for the individual so if the learner is ineligible for the apprenticeship programme and an alternative should be considered.

During the Initial Assessment the funding band is based on the learner requiring the full content of the apprenticeship, and in the case of standards this means all the listed knowledge, skills and behaviours.

However, if the learner has existing prior learning the, duration and price must be reduced.

Prior learning must be factored into the price that is negotiated between the provider and the employer:

  • What counts as prior learning? - In recognising prior learning, the following are considered against the knowledge, skills and behaviours set out in the standard.

  • Work experience (this is particularly important if the apprentice is an existing

  • employee);

  • Prior education, training or associated qualification(s) in a related sector subject area (this goes beyond just English and maths); use of certificates and MIAP and any previous apprenticeship undertaken

  • Voluntary work

  • Learning Styles Assessment, to discover the learners preferred styles of learning, which can inform the use of different resources in the early stages of the programme. Assessors do not rely too heavily on this assessment as pigeon holing learners learning styles may be detrimental to completion of the course. Whereas continual assessment and discussion will enable learners to develop learning skills and inform learning needs.

  • Functional Skills Initial Assessment, to discover current levels of attainment in maths and English and inform a starting place for further appropriate diagnostic assessments

  • Functional Skills Diagnostic Assessment, to discover in depth where there may be a need for support with aspects of Maths, English and ICT to complete apprenticeships

  • Functional Skills and programme delivery i.e. potential bricklayer shows difficulty with estimation.

  • Vocational Assessment –using work activities designed to evaluate vocational skills, interests, abilities and voluntary work

  • Candidate (self-assessment), which includes:-

  • Occupational background

  • Hobbies and Interests

  • Learning needs/Additional Support

  • Careers preferences and suitability

  • Aids needed/Health or personal circumstances that will affect training

  • Objectives and outcomes that the learner wants to achieve

  • Occupational Profile and Learning of the skills, knowledge and behaviour required in the apprenticeship including: - verbal and written communication/listening skills/personal respect/ resilience and ethics/work effectively in teams/knowledge of course, focus on quality and problem solving/initiative/commitment to training.

  • Ability and potential

• Skills Gaps – On the information regarding the Job Role and prior learning the assessor will analyse skills gaps and if the apprentice has the necessary competence to achieve the apprenticeship. It there is any gaps the assessor will record how the apprentice will be given the opportunity to develop/address these areas when designing the Individual

Personal Learning Plan.



Information collected during the above Initial Assessment process should allow the learner to:-

  • Be placed on an appropriate programme that matches their skills, knowledge and abilities

  • Work toward a level of qualification that is appropriate to their level of skills, knowledge and ability

  • Be placed in work in an appropriate occupational area, where this is relevant to the learning programme.

• Have all their learning and support needs identified, to enable a comprehensive individual learning plan to be designed.

• Ensure the Learner and employer is fully aware of all aspects of the Individual Learning

Plan and all aspects of delivery.