Everyone loves a bargain or a good deal! But as with everything in life, is cheap good when it comes to buying a qualification?

On social media we are seeing more and more learners asking if this is the right course in order for them to work with children or progress in their career. We are seeing almost on a daily basis learners asking for help with a question that their assessor should be supporting them with.

The trouble with discounted courses is that the assessors working for a training provider may be training to become an assessor ‘on the job’ or an assessor with an unrealistic caseload of learners. Often without good quality teaching resources, with so little time allocated to each learner. Learners are given far too little support and asked to complete whole units by themselves or told to buy a course textbook.

A good quality training provider will support their assessors, hold regular standardisation meetings to ensure that everyone delivering the qualifications are delivering to a high standard. All training providers are accredited to an awarding body who will moderate the centres policies, procedures & all staff. Awarding bodies can withdraw a centre from delivering their qualifications.

So what questions should you be asking?
The first and most important is whether the qualification is a full qualification and which awarding body is the training provider accredited to.
This can be checked by looking at the awarding body website, it’s worth finding out if they do work with that training provider. All training providers must register their learners with the awarding body; this is usually within a short timescale – maximum of 6 weeks. If the training provider hasn’t done this they can be issued with sanctions by the awarding body. It is the learners insurance if anything goes wrong with the training company.

Find out if the course is funded. Is it an apprenticeship?
Some courses that are apprenticeships will have extra specifications such as functional skills added. If you were to do this course through a loan you may not have to do functional skills. Some courses are self funded; however you need to find out if there are any payment plans available.

What are the costs of the course?
Are their penalties for re-submitting coursework?
What happens if you take longer to complete the course?
Do you have to pay for a certificate when you complete?
Do you have to pay to be observed in a setting?

So you see that there are lots of hidden costs for your bargain!

What should be included in the cost of the course?
Registration with the awarding body, this usually lasts for 2-3 years; there should be no penalty if you go over a timescale. (Unless the funding specifies a certain time scale) When a learner is registered with an awarding body, it also includes certification; the training provider is not charged extra for this! You should be assessed by a qualified assessor; if you are being taught by a trainee assessor, all their work should be countersigned by a qualified assessor.
All teaching, assessment, marking and direct observation (if relevant) should be included.

The assessor is there to support you, if you need to expand your answers or add to an assignment, so be it! It is the assessors job to support you to extend your knowledge and to encourage you to complete the course. It doesn’t matter if you meet the criteria the first time or the tenth time, it’s their job!

You should have access to good high quality up to date teaching resources. My very last piece of advice is DO NOT just click and buy a course online, any good training provider, will interview potential learners to ensure they are on the correct course and the correct level.

Between Suzanne and Lisa they have over 20 years experience delivering & teaching Cache courses. They have worked with a variety of colleges and training providers and have built up a big network of fellow assessors, tutors, internal moderators and external moderators.We wrote this as we get so upset and frustrated when we see that people have been sold the wrong course or are being penalised during their course. There are so many excellent assessors, tutors, internal moderators and of course training providers and we just want to be aware of all the facts before you click!

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