Established in 1997, QA Associates are experts in assessment, verification and accreditation. For over 20 years we have helped hundreds of schools, academies and commercial organisations to achieve their learning and development goals.

Working in partnership with specialist training providers and awarding bodies, we support organisations in the delivery, assessment and quality assurance of their staff development programmes and qualifications. We ensure that the knowledge, skills and understanding that underpin a particular curriculum or employment/industry need are recognised.

Originally set up to act as an NVQ centre for the Fire & Rescue Service, QA Associates now operates across many diverse sectors including Aviation, Financial Services, Children & Young Persons and Health & Social Care.

We are now the largest assessment centre in the UK delivering BTECs in Investigative Practice, and count the UK Government and some of the country’s leading blue chip companies amongst our clients.

In 2017, following support from the Department of Trade & Industry, we developed a unit to mark ‘mock’ examination papers for schools and academies. This unit has grown year-on-year (in the current academic year Sept. 2019 to March 2020 we have marked over 8000 papers!) and is now the fastest growing area of activity.

QA have delivered a flexible and impeccable service during GCSE mock season. The marking has been quick, accurate and the reports have helped our departments to refine their teaching and provide our students with the feedback they need to move to the next level. The service has been without fault.


Our principle area of work is as an outsourced ‘Accredited Assessment Centre’ providing a range of specialist services that support the delivery of customised BTEC qualifications.

We design and develop bespoke customised qualifications that help organisations to empower and up-skill their workforce. Our model covers the complete assessment and accreditation life-cycle: we manage the registration of learners, the assessment of coursework, the quality assurance requirements and certification with the Awarding Organisation.

More recently, we have drawn upon our expertise in assessment & verification and expanded into the area of mock examination and assignment marking for schools and academies.

We have expert practitioners across a range of subjects and provide a fast, accurate and cost-effective service that helps to relieve the burden of marking and allow your teaching staff to focus on the curriculum.

To learn more about the range of services we can offer, please click on the links below or get in touch with a member of our team.

QA Services - Assessment & Accreditation Image

Assessment & Accreditation

Approved by Pearson/Edexcel, we can deliver a number of ‘Accredited Assessment Centre’ management solutions associated with the delivery of workforce training programmes and qualifications.

QA Services - Exam Marking Image

Exam Paper Marking

We provide a range of marking and assessment services for schools, academies and colleges. QA can support you with accurate and consistent mock marking across a variety of subjects and levels.

QA Services - Customised Qualifications Image

Customised Qualifications

We can design & deliver customised qualifications to help ensure that your staff receive industry-specific training, and that their skills and abilities are formally recognised in a structured, practical and relevant way.


QA Associates have been delivering high quality, practical solutions to some of the UK’s largest public and private sector organisations for many years. Our clients are drawn from many sectors of industry including National Government, Local Authorities, Aviation, Financial Services, Children & Young Persons, IT and Health & Social Care.

Our open, collaborative approach has meant that we have been privileged to work with some of the biggest and brightest companies in the UK and together,  have been able to achieve exceptional outcomes.


In order to ensure that the differing needs of schools, academies and training organisations are understood and met, QA work with a number of experienced assessors, verifiers and subject matter experts across a range of educational and commercial sectors.

Overseeing all administrative processes and management of personnel, our small but dedicated team have many years of expertise in the provision of training and development across a range of sectors.

At QA Associates, we pride ourselves on taking the time to understand your specific situation and requirements so that we can provide our clients with a friendly, responsive professional service.

Dennis Fretwell

Dennis Fretwell

Managing Director

Following an engineering apprenticeship at Rolls Royce Derby, Dennis had a very successful career in the Fire & Rescue Service. Serving for twenty years in the Derbyshire Fire Service, Dennis served for over ten years as an Assistant Chief Fire Officer for Corporate Service in the Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue Service where his responsibilities included Head of Finance, Personnel, Transport and IT.
After retiring from operational service, Dennis worked at the Government’s Home Office rewriting the guidance, assessment criteria and study guides for the statutory examinations for Senior Fire Officers. This involved the introduction of examination subjects such as Health & Safety, Leadership and Human Resources.
Dennis then worked as an External Verifier for the Fire Service and Pearson/Edexcel  – quality assuring a wide range of specialist subjects for colleges, universities and major employers. He also acted as subject specialist for uniformed public services at OCR.
In the late 1990’s, Dennis established a consultancy specialising in NVQs and in 2006, QA Associates Limited was founded and has operated successfully in the field of assessment and qualifications ever since.

A past President of Rotary, past Seniors Golf Captain at Breadsall Priory, his other main interest is as an ardent follower of Nottingham Forest Football Club.

Joanne Waddoups

Joanne Waddoups


Joanne joined QA Associates in 2009 following a number of successful managerial appointments within the retail and banking sectors and brings with her considerable experience of finance and customer-relations.

As the Assessment Center Manager, Joanne is responsible for overseeing the registration, assessment, quality assurance and certification of BTEC candidates across a range of sectors. She is also the Relationship Manager for a number of our principle clients.
As Company Secretary and Director, Joanne oversees the day to day management of the company’s accounts.

Joanne enjoys walking and is an avid keep fit fanatic, attending all sorts of weekly exercise classes at the gym. Spending time with her daughter and looking after her dog, Harvey, takes up most of Joannes spare time. Travelling to different locations around the world is her passion.


We are always looking for qualified and experienced subject specialists, assessors, markers and verifiers that can help us continue to grow and provide our clients with the best possible service.

If you are interested in working with QA Associates, please get in touch.


QA Associates have built their reputation on taking the time to understand the specific requirements of our customers, and we pride ourselves on delivering tailored solutions that are robust, flexible and cost-effective.

So whether you are looking at developing a bespoke qualification for your organisation, require an outsourced assessment & verification solution, or simply need independent marking of exam papers or assignments, QA Associates can help.

Please get in touch with a member of the team and find out how!

Contact Block - Students Image