Meet the assessor: Julz Darroch

July 28, 2017

Julz Darroch has been involved with Skills Active for many years, originally as a workplace assessor and now as a highly experienced senior assessor mentor (SAM). Julz is passionate about the role that assessment plays in lifelong learning and development, and not just for trainees.

"Being a SAM means that I have the ability to support trainee assessors, not just on the technical assessment skills, but in how they can use assessment to develop not only staff but themselves and their career pathway.

“It’s not just about the outcome of being a Skills Active assessor, it’s a wider outcome around growing their role in the industry and their relationships with the people around them.”

A lot of Julz’s work involves training aspiring assessors as they go through the early stages of registration, and overseeing the Recognition of Current Competency process. “I work with trainee assessors after they’ve completed the initial workshop, taking them from there right through to becoming a fully-fledged assessor.”

Part of this role is simply keeping in touch and being available when a new assessor is finding their feet, she says.

“I will often hear from them when they’ve done a few assessments, or are doing the early part of their assessing. At this stage they’ve got the skills and they’re applying them independently, but they might get back in touch with me, just to confirm they’re on the right track.

“The other circumstance where I find myself reconnecting is when someone is doing the next step. For instance, they may want to increase their Skills Active scope, so it might be about helping them understand that process.”

One of the rewarding parts of Julz’s job is the fact that people she has trained often stay in her orbit in the exercise world.

“It goes both ways – we provide each other with support. Those relationships become part of my network. We get in touch about awards, professional development, we discuss things.”

As her own career has progressed and moved on up, Julz appreciates still having a connection to the work people are doing at the trainee and assessor level.

“To anyone who is interested in becoming a SAM, I would say it’s a great way to increase your skills, as you have to stay up-to-date. Being a SAM is not a fulltime role in itself; rather it’s part of a career pathway. The skills and the knowledge I’ve gained by being a SAM have definitely crossed over into my career development in other areas.”

Exercise is a growth industry, says Julz, which is exciting – but it’s also service industry that makes a big difference to the lives of New Zealanders.

“You’re actually contributing while you work – that’s a huge part of it for me. Just getting up in the morning and doing a job for the money wouldn’t be enough.”

Building on that service aspect is the fact that her work as a SAM helps to grow and strengthen the industry, Julz adds.

“There’s a limit to the number of people I can help personally as a trainer or instructor. But by being a SAM and by working with industry organisations like Skills Active, REPs and Exercise NZ, I can be involved in reaching more people.”