New Combined Level 3 Qualifications for the Water Industry

There have been some questions raised about the overall effectiveness of separate knowledge and competency (NVQ) qualifications. To address these concerns, CABWI have now developed new qualifications that are more focused on the correct application of knowledge whilst carrying out practical activities.


Following consultation with the Water Industry and CABWI, the scope of development and design of the new qualifications will achieve the following objectives.

  • Consolidate Knowledge and Competency assessment into a single qualification
  • Allow a three stage assessment process of Knowledge, Understanding and Application
  • Supply structured evidence recording documentation which provides fully inclusive records of activity and achievement
  • Allow flexibility within the design and delivery of training, knowledge and assessment to facilitate an option of “blended delivery” between the client and the training provider
  • Provide a structured route for “Upskilling” the existing workforce, whilst taking into account and giving recognition of their proven knowledge and skills
  • Designed to support the new Trailblazer Apprenticeship by providing a structure for the 70% on-programme evidence requirement for End Point Assessment

Three Stage Assessment Process

This qualification will be designed to incorporate three separate assessment activities to ensure that on completion the candidates have the required knowledge, understanding and skills to carry out their role.


This stage will comprise of predetermined questions supplied by CABWI to assess a candidates underpinning knowledge of the theory, systems and processes relating to the required learning outcomes of each unit within a selected pathway.


Whilst knowledge can be demonstrated through the responses to questions, for a candidate to be considered competent, they would also be expected to demonstrate that they could correctly apply this knowledge to operational activities in a variety of routine and non-routine situations.

Their understanding, which is crucial to demonstrating competence, will be assessed through assessor devised questions that would take place either as part of an observation of practical activities or a number of one-to-one Q&A sessions. This is a significant step forward when compared to the historical position of only being required to demonstrate knowledge which may or may not have been fully understood and therefore not applied to practical activities.

The questions and answers would be recorded and should be related to the candidate's role and the client's systems and processes. The candidate should also be able to explain how these also relate to national standards and regulation.

Practical Application

This phase of assessment will be aligned to the existing practices relating to the assessment of competency and the generation of evidence to support an assessor's judgement. The main benefit of demonstrating a full understanding of process and procedures is that it should lead to greater confidence in decision making by individuals rather than escalation or transfer of responsibility to others. Early intervention and optimisation benefits should result from informed diagnosis of poor process performance, appropriate action and performance improvement checks.