These guides will walk you through the Career Progression Gateway (CPG) from the perspective of the candidate and assessor.

CPG – Step-by-Step Guide for the Candidate


FRS supplies a list of candidates for promotion to VCA. VCA supplies a link to the booking page for FRS to email candidates, with details of the process. Candidates book their CPG exercise slots (location/ dates based around the client’s requirements). The CPG can run multiple exercises with multiple candidates at any one time.


After booking, candidates are given access to the CPG preparation e-learning course. The course gives candidates maximum support prior to their assessment, increasing their confidence and understanding of the process. This interactive course is designed to work well with different learning styles and addresses questions gathered from candidate feedback surveys. Thus, it reduces the possibility of grievance and clarifies the fairness, relevance and validity of the system.


Candidates sit the first exercise; the Case Study (CS). Shortly before the exercise they receive their CPG login via email. Once logged in they ‘select exercise’ and read an instructions screen. They start the exercise when ready by clicking ‘start’. The exercises are timed, with a timer clock at the bottom of the screen. This answer is autosaved every thirty seconds. They submit their answer when complete, or the answer is auto submitted once the time expires. The CS consists of various tabs of information for the candidate to read before answering the questions in the answer box at the bottom of the screen. The answer box has formatting functions like in MS Word

The CS is an excellent way of gaining in-depth insights into how a candidate evaluates information, what their priorities are, and what steps they would take to action these. It’s practically based, giving candidates a good ‘snapshot’ into the considerations of the next role up, whilst allowing them to showcase how effectively their approach matches the LQ criteria.


We monitor each CS as it is completed, after which, the candidate is asked to complete a quick feedback survey. This helps us make continuous improvements, addressing candidate preferences and concerns.


After the CS, the candidate takes a break before completing the Role-play (RP). They log back into the CPG and select RP exercise. Candidates then read the exercise information before accepting either the audio or video call (via MS Teams) from a role-player. The role-player can either be a VCA assessor, or an internal assessor, subsequent to VCA Training.

During the interaction candidates seek to tackle the issues within the scenario based on the information supplied, and any information the role-player may hold.

The RP remains a staple exercise to assessment activity. This dynamic interaction allows candidates the opportunity to immerse themselves in a realistic job simulation; a frequent candidate comment after the exercise is that they simply dealt with the scenario as it unfolded, as they would in the workplace. Candidates tend to appreciate the opportunity for a live interaction, relating to this style of exercise better than other testing formats such as SJTs.


After exercise completion, the candidate is asked to complete a quick feedback survey.

For both exercises, procedures are in place to support candidate’s’ reasonable adjustments; from text- to- speech function, additional time, different coloured screens and fonts.


With the CPG completed, the FRS client can expect to receive results and feedback reports within 7 working days of the final assessment. A follow up Developmental Feedback session is available either with VCA assessors or delivered by in-house staff.

CPG – Step-by-Step Guide for the Assessor (internal or external)


After the candidate has completed their exercise, the allocated assessor is notified via email that they have a scoresheet to mark. Using their assessor login they are able to access the Assessor Area, which shows them the scoresheet to be completed. The assessor then clicks on the candidate ID to begin the assessment.


For the CS, the candidate’s answer will already be populated into the scoresheet. The assessor will read the candidate response, choose scores that are most appropriate, based on the guidance supplied and for the full CPG, write a paragraph of evidence to support the score, including improvement guidance where appropriate. For the CPG Feedback LITE the assessor will select two evidence statements from a pre-written list in support of the score. Each of the four LQs is divided into three areas, with scores between zero and three. Once completed, the assessor marks the scoresheet with a green tick.

The CPG Feedback LITE may be more suitable for Crew and Watch Managers where there is usually a higher volumes of candidates. The full CPG’s more detailed feedback may be more suitable at Middle and Strategic levels.

How using pre-written statements delivers an effective assessment?

Through three years of experience of running the CPG with the FRS, we have been able to generate highly intuitive statements based on hundreds of existing assessments, targeted to an FRS audience rather than a generic management population. The extensive list of evidence statements also allows flexibility of selection which avoids assessors being forced to make choices which don’t entirely fit with the candidates’ responses. This is a common problem associated with exercises which rely on semi-automated scoring, which lead to overly-generic feedback reports which can negatively impact candidate morale and engagement.


For the RP, the interaction can be recorded, with an accompanying transcript, allowing marking to be completed more flexibly. The marking will follow the same format as the CS marking, with both full CPG and Feedback LITE options available. Completion of Feedback LITE marking may take a third of the time necessary for full CPG assessments, depending on the experience of the assessor. Once completed, the assessor marks the scoresheet with a green tick.


For each exercise, assessors can choose from a short list of development points which corresponds to the assessment. This adds value to candidates’ understanding of how to apply feedback on a practical level. The candidate feedback report will comprise the pre-written evidence statements along with the selected development points. The reports are sufficiently detailed to support line managers to deliver meaningful and constructive feedback, aligned to CPG evaluations, and on-going development needs.

CPG – Step-by-Step Guide for the HR Team


Members of the HR team will have their own access to the Assessor Area, however their login will give them access to all scoresheets completed by all assessors, which is not available to individual assessors. The HR screen will give access to view the auto generated feedback reports for each candidate and a summary of candidate results.


Total scores will be automatically generated as a percentage figure. Output reports with score tables divided by exercise, Leadership Qualities, overall averages and candidate ranking will be available shortly after the assessors have completed their evaluation. Score bands are available, indicating a green, amber or red score.

Analysing Results

The CPG is already used by over 8 FRSs and we have results data from over 1200 candidates, which inform us that around 53% of candidates ‘pass’ the CPG with a ‘green’ rating. Different FRS’s have different internal arrangements, but many allocate ‘green’ candidates to the talent pool, with amber candidates following a development programme and re-taking their assessment at a later date. This colour coding approach is optional.


Verbal feedback can be delivered either by line managers or by a member of the VCA assessment team.

Want to see the Career Progression Gateway for yourself?

Contact us to arrange an informal, ‘virtual tour’ around the CPG for you (and your team), where we can answer your
exercise, feedback, and any other questions.