Coronavirus update/alternative arrangements for 2020/21

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Coronavirus update for customers

NOCN Group offers a wide range of services including regulated qualifications, EPA for apprenticeships, Job Cards in construction, Access to HE Diplomas, bespoke accreditation, and educational and skills support training.

As you will be aware the government imposed a third national lockdown from Tuesday 5th January 2021. You will find out more operational detail on the implications for each of these services through the following links:

Please note that NOCN Group will be following the guidance issued by the ESFA, IfATE, Ofqual, CCEA Regulation, QAA, and Qualifications Wales, and will update our customers as things change.

If you have any concerns or would like to discuss the impact on your centre, apprentices or learners please contact us on nocn@nocn.org.uk or 0300 999 1177.

Update 29th March 2021

On 24th March, Ofqual published the VTQ Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF) which allows NOCN to provide centres with awarding arrangements for learners who have had their training and assessment disrupted in 2021. To view more information on the arrangements in place by NOCN, please click here.

Using Xbox to Access Online Learning

It is possible for learners to access their online work from home using a gaming console. For guidance on how to do this please download the document here.

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Why construction plant workers can confidently choose CPCS from NOCN Job Cards

The Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) transferred to NOCN Job Cards from CITB in 2019 and is the leading skills certification scheme for plant within the UK construction industry.

In the handover phase, the complexity of the transition of systems between providers presented major unexpected challenges, which negatively impacted the service expected by industry and cardholders.

The NOCN Job Cards team has apologised to all those impacted and has worked tirelessly to improve the service over the last 12 months, with the aim of ensuring the construction plant industry has the card scheme it requires, enabling the facilitation of a safe and competent carded workforce.

Moving forward with a ‘fit for purpose’ scheme

NOCN Group are the new “guardians” of the scheme and continue to engage with industry ensuring that all future developments are in the best interests of our industry and sector.

With over 300,000 cards issued across more than 60 categories of plant and related occupations, CPCS is now the construction industry’s largest plant card scheme. As a well-established awarding body with vast experience in the construction sector, NOCN Group is well-placed to deliver this service now that the initial issues around the set up of the scheme have been resolved.

Currently, new CPCS applications to NOCN Job Cards made from January 2021 are being processed within a 1- 3 week timeframe, depending on the card type and CPCS has the highest standards of testing and Quality Assurance measures in place. These measures ensure that stringent criteria are met, and approved codes of delivery are followed, so that all testing is carried out in a robust manner.

Reasons to confidently choose CPCS

CPCS has been helping to set industry standards for over 30 years. Construction businesses in the UK need to be confident that employees operating plant machinery on site can do so in a safe and qualified way. CPCS from NOCN Job Cards provides proof that individuals have the required training and qualifications for the type of work they carry out.

CPCS is accepted across all UK construction sites and, in many cases, is the only card to be accepted. It is the Plant Partner Card Scheme of CSCS and enables employers to ensure that health and safety obligations are being met. The CPCS standards have been developed by industry-led working groups and with over 180 approved test centres nationwide, free online support materials, including theory test questions, learning outcomes and practical test specifications.

Other benefits include:

  • One-to-one testing of theory and practical providing a stronger basis to test candidates’ knowledge, experience, and practical skills, than in group testing.
  • More test questions mean depth of knowledge is tested further, using an average of 70 questions per category.
  • Over 90% of practical tests are taken in purpose-built test centres, ensuring the full range of operations are covered, without missing safety-critical criteria or disrupting a site.
  • Independent testing ensures testers are not involved in the candidates training, this guarantees the independent measure of ability and knowledge.
  • Upon competence card renewal the scheme also ensures that Continued Professional Development takes place ensuring cardholders have sufficient skills and knowledge.
  • Since 2003 all testers have completed Advanced Theory & Practical Tests
  • From January 2021 all testers will have to demonstrate practical ability ensuring they have retained skills.
  • The CPCS On-Line card checker is available online at www.nocnjobcards.org/card-checker/

From January 2020 all CPCS cards issued are SMART cards*
Tim Brownbridge of leading Civil Engineering Group, BAM Nutall, says: “CPCS manages our employees’ skills throughout their working lives, and this means that we know we always have people who are fully competent and safe to work onsite.”

Streamlined communication

From 1 February 2021, it will be easier for employers, training providers, and operators to find out about and keep up to date with CPCS from NOCN Job Cards via its own dedicated social media channels on Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter. The aim of this is to ensure that information, including frequently asked questions about the application process, is easily accessible and any specific application queries can be dealt with as quickly as possible.

NOCN Job Cards is a registered charity, which means that all profits are reinvested back into improving and evolving the scheme. There are exciting new developments planned for the scheme in 2021, including the launch of its digital logbook. Watch this space for further information and announcements.

For further information visit www.nocnjobcards.org.uk 

*CPCS NFC Smart Technology

The benefit of the SMART card is that there is no requirement for manual data entry to check the validity and authenticity of a CPCS card. Cards can be checked with any device that has NFC. Most IOS and android devices have NFC.

  1. Locate where the NFC tag is located on the smart card (top left corner)
  2. Hold the card against the back of the device (ensure NFC is enabled in settings) within 3-5 seconds the data can be Authenticated with MyTag Secured data.
  3. The validity of the card is checked with live data, giving total peace of mind without manual data checks.

CITB Plant Achievement Grants (In-Scope Levy Payers only)

CITB support industries In-Scope “levy payers” for CPCS achievement Grant. Grant is paid for passing the theory and practical elements of CPCS technical tests only.

Theory elements are £60 each, up to a maximum of 2 per person per Grants Scheme year.

Practical elements are paid at different rates depending on the category of plant, up to a maximum of 2 per person per Grants Scheme year:

  • Rate 1: £190
  • Rate 2: £240
  • Rate 3: £410

Our Test Centre Management System allows company levy numbers to be added, where 7-digit levy numbers are added and the tests are achieved, the achievement grant is automatically paid to the employer.

Funding for Plant testing and cards is available from CITB www.citb.co.uk/grant