Cskills Awards is an operating division of CITB. The transfer of Cskills Awards to NOCN will happen overnight on 1 August. CITB is a statutory, industrial training board established under the Industrial Training Act 1982. The Act, with relevant statutory instruments setting CITB’s functions and powers. Cskills Awards is the second largest awarding organisation (AO) in the construction market, with a good reputation, and a wide range of products from Entry Level to Level 7.
In the transfer process, NOCN will inherit around 4,000 apprenticeships a year, strengthening its position in the sector, increasing its credibility and capability, and helping the government achieve its target of three million apprenticeship starts by 2020.
This acquisition demonstrates a stronger, added-value, range of approved qualifications and a more diverse product offering from a leading AO, to meet the needs of employers, colleges, training providers and participants from the wider community. This includes extensive construction qualifications from ‘license to practice’ to professional development, English and maths Functional Skills and the new ‘T Level’ technical qualifications from autumn 2019.
In addition to NOCN’s existing portfolio of products and services in its various sectors, the new combined operation will provide an integrated offer of apprenticeships, qualifications and assessments across the range of jobs needed in the construction industry, including specialist construction skills, with all the supporting qualifications such as Functional Skills and management. The acquisition of Cskills Awards is complimentary to NOCN’s offering in the market and presents an expanded range of opportunities from NOCN to support the construction sector and all key constituent stakeholders.
NOCN and Cskills both provide apprenticeship frameworks and NOCN is now one of the leading approved Apprentice Assessment Organisation (AAO) for the reformed apprenticeships in ten occupational areas, including Property Services, Engineering Design and Leadership and Management. All of which makes NOCN’s enhanced apprenticeship offer in construction and the wider FE skills sector attractive to Colleges, training providers and employers, with improved quality, greater choice, value for money and flexible delivery.
This acquisition takes place as the construction industry is at risk of potential skills gaps, with the advent of major capital infrastructure projects in the UK, compounded with the implications of Brexit and reduced access to skilled workers from the EU. Accordingly, this development can reassure and mitigate any fear or doubt about the sectors’ ability to meet the challenges ahead with increased and enhanced skills.
NOCN is also an accredited Leader in Diversity and will increase participation from a greater pool of talent to ensure the industry is ready to face the challenges ahead. By working together, NOCN with the combined strength and expertise of Cskills Awards, will address these issues, boosting productivity and improving the skills capacity of the UK construction workforce.
Graham Hasting-Evans, Managing Director of NOCN said: “As someone who started out as an apprentice first time around and who has worked in the building and construction sector for many years, I find this new opportunity very exciting. I am looking forward to working with Cskills Awards personnel to incorporate their product expertise and their technological distinctiveness to NOCN.
NOCN is well positioned and has established strong working relationships with employers in the development of new awards and can react quickly to meet demands. NOCN has a wide range of qualifications that will meet the future skills needs of our combined customer base, new employers, and accredited centres operating in the construction sector. Through this unique collaboration, we will create new opportunities, re-address the skill gaps, re-balance gender inequality and support a strong growth for the construction industry in the UK.”
Sarah Beale, Chief Executive of CITB, said: “The sale of Cskills Awards is the right decision for the construction industry. NOCN has a commitment to continuing to service the breadth of products and services and maintain quality levels. In addition NOCN will be able to greatly expand the range of qualifications on offer to customers, beyond Construction occupations, as they are not subject to the same restrictions as CITB. Our thanks and good wishes go with our colleagues who have not only served CITB well, but I am sure will continue to deliver excellent support to the industry through NOCN.”
This new development allows NOCN to exploit its leading position as an AAO for the reformed apprenticeships to become one of the major players in the construction sector in the UK. Cskills Awards’ own track record of success in delivering construction apprenticeships with its excellent relationship with employers, supports this development.
This will also strengthen the ability of the combined awarding organisation to provide the new technical qualifications or ‘T Levels’ when the market is established in 2019/20. Cskills Awards is already approved for the existing, similar ‘performance points’ based qualifications in construction and by joining NOCN with its international network, this will allow it to extend its offer overseas such as in India, Middle East and Africa.