Articles from NOCN


NOCN is now the number one, leading independent Apprentice Assessment Organisation (AAO) with the highest number of approvals to undertake End Point Assessment (EPA) on Apprenticeship Standards. Working with employers, large and small, in a range of sectors to ensure high quality, valid and robust EPA, NOCN is now approved for 37 standards across 8 of the 15 new Routes/Sectors.   This latest ranking puts NOCN well ahead of main competitors Pearson, City & Guilds and NCFE and the Sheffield based AAO is currently delivering EPA support to a number of high street banks, retailers and other employers large and small, in a wide range of sectors from construction to healthcare.     NOCN’s Managing Director Graham Hasting-Evans explains: 

Why NOCN is helping the UK navigate the brave new digital world

Few people reading this won’t be aware that the UK’s productivity gap with other developed countries is a longstanding threat to our international competitiveness in highly uncertain, volatile times.

NOCN's Graham Hasting-Evans discusses the new reformed apprenticeships and T-Levels

Teaching practical functional English and maths as 'the standard' for all children and young people

Everyone agrees that young people entering the world of work must be literate and numerate. But the arguments continue about the best approach to deliver English and maths to our young people. Both of these subjects are essential for employment. In fact, English and maths in the formal sense through Functional Skills qualifications are included in the Standards for the newly reformed Trailblazer apprenticeships.

Three skills-based solutions to boost UK's productivity

How to address the UK's 'Productivity Challenge' amongst G7 nations.


NOCN has put together ‘10 top tips’ that all levy paying employers should do to ‘make apprenticeships matter’.  

Accelerating Apprenticeship and Technical Education Reform

The Reform of our apprenticeship system (Trailblazers) and technical education (T-Levels) is crucial to the future successful running of our economy in a competitive Global environment.  If done in the right way, it will address our historic 30% productivity gap. Although we have made progress in last four years (in some sectors, good progress) since the reforms were started, much more needs to be done and we urgently need to speed up. However, we all recognise that we have ‘implementation challenges’ which must be faced and addressed, if we are to avoid the type of failure we had with 14 - 19 years Diplomas. Today, NOCN publishes a Ten Point Plan for Accelerating the Reform: 1. Manage the Reform as a Major Investment Project: This Reform is the greatest change to our vocational and technical education and skills system in a generation. Arguably it is a bigger ‘project’ than some of the major infrastructure projects we are currently investing in such as HS2, Crossrail 2, Nuclear Build etc.. We need to manage it as if it is a major single reform, not as currently split between several Government organisations. 2. Set up the IfA-TE as the single Delivery Organisation: The Government has now set up the IfA-TE to move forward apprenticeship reform and technical education. We need to identify it as the ‘single’ Delivery Organisation for the Step-Change. Accordingly, it must now be urgently, fully established, and properly resourced with a budget that reflects this role. 3. Staff the IfA-TE with the right people: We must recruit the right leadership and personnel with all the necessary industry and skills development experience. 4. Create a Single Reform Programme: Apprenticeships and T-Levels must be integrated into a single Reform Programme, with clear career progression pathways to let our people see how they can progress with a mixture of integrated apprenticeships and T-Level qualifications. Achieving an ‘apprenticeship’ and/or a T-Level must be seen as and treated as a qualification so that it is transferable around the World. 5. Integrate Productivity Improvement into the Reform Programme: We recognise that we have a 30% productivity gap.  One of the ways to address this is to improve skills. Accordingly achieving productivity improvement, as well as quality improvements, must be seen as a core objective of apprenticeship and technical education Reform. 6. Re-think External Quality Assurance (EQA):  The current approach to quality assurance and regulation EQA is cumbersome, expensive and is in danger of creating inconsistency and variations in quality. The reality from the DfE’s own figures is that next year there will be very few apprenticeship EPAs to be quality assured. Accordingly we believe the Government should halt any further implementation on the current EQA approaches and instead over the next year:

How diversity can bring competitive advantage to employers

It has been said that if every male engineer had a female counterpart, the skills crisis in that sector would be solved at a stroke.

NOCN Group to buy CPCS from CITB, retaining jobs in Norfolk

CITB has agreed to sell its Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) to NOCN Group, one of the sector’s largest Awarding Organisations (AO). The purchase will include the retention of all CPCS-related CITB jobs in Norfolk, as well as all CPCS-related mobile roles.

NOCN takes action to help Carillion learners and apprentices

NOCN understands that the Government through the ESFA is taking the lead in supporting Carillion learners and apprentices to find alternative employment and training provision through which to complete their qualifications and apprenticeships.

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