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OSAT is an NVQ training and evidence gathering process designed specifically for construction workers to prove competence and knowledge.There are two categories of OSAT Candidates, an OSAT Experienced Worker Candidate (which historically has been the majority), and anOSAT Trainee Candidate.

OSAT Experienced Worker Candidate

The intention of OSAT is to recognise the level of skills and knowledge inherent within such candidates and apply a delivery model that fits their needs.  This manifests itself in an NVQ training process that is fast-track in nature, resulting in a low volume portfolio achieved without compromising quality assurance standards. Indeed, due to its fast-track nature the need for high levels of quality (e.g. verification, recordkeeping, tracking and monitoring) is even more necessary in OSAT than for the traditional NVQ delivery route.

At the beginning of the process it is imperative to verify the candidates experienced worker credentials and highlight any up-skilling requirements. This is achieved through a detailed skill-scan processlinked to the structure of the specific NVQ confirming the candidate's prior knowledge and experience, which is appropriately endorsed toachieve credible authenticity.

This process of properly verifying experienced worker status is the key that unlocks the door to the candidates entitlement to take the fast track OSAT Experienced Worker route.

A degree of skills shortfall is permissible when judging the candidates experienced worker status. In cases where this is identified, a training plan of action is agreed between all three parties (candidate, employer and provider) which typically comprises of on-the-job training supported by the OSAT assessor, culminating in a final assessment for this element of the NVQ when the candidate is able to provide evidence of appropriate skills and knowledge.

The delivery of the assessment is achieved by the OSAT assessor visiting the candidate at his / her place of work (construction site) and through providing a high level of support and assistance in capturing the candidate generated evidence, most commonly achieved through on-site observation of naturally occurring work activities. Confirmation of underpinning knowledge is achieved by the candidate correctly answering a selection of pertinent oral and / or written questions. All of which culminates with the completion of the candidate's portfolio, normally compiled by the assessment centre staff.

Normal NVQ standards as defined in the QCA NVQ Code of Practice apply equally to OSAT. In particular the principle of V.A.C.S. (validity, authenticity currency and sufficiency) in relation to evidence generated by the candidate must be adhered to.

By way of the assessor integrating with the candidates forward work pattern, the whole OSAT process is designed to be as unobtrusive as possible, resulting in negligible down-time.

An alternative to the traditional OSAT route described above is the Experienced Worker Practical Assessed Route available to candidates with a minimum of 5 years experience (although there are a few specific exceptions to this rule) and who do not require any further training. It involves the same preparation / planning processes as OSAT, followed by a day of skills assessment through the candidate undertaking a practical task at an off-site location. This culminates in a professional discussion session to confirm knowledge, collate relevant supplementary evidence and conclude the assessment paperwork.