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Support to customers COVID-19 20th March 2020

Ref : B20-33

Type : Amendment

Date : 20 March 2020

You will be aware of the various Government and World Health Organisation (WHO) announcements and official advice over COVID19. The situation is unprecedented and is likely to continually change. As an organisation, we want to ensure that our personnel (staff and contracted) are safe, but also our customers’ personnel and the apprentices, learners and card applicants we support are also safe. We realise this means we must tread a careful line, balancing all these needs; whilst continuing to work and support customers, individuals and our centres in a calm and pragmatic manner.

We understand that you will be experiencing a great deal of disruption across your organisation. These are extraordinary times and we will do everything we can to support you, your apprentices, learners and card applicants through this difficult period.

Whilst many of our staff will now be working from home, we will still be offering front line support, through telephony, email and web chat, as usual to support you.

At this time, NOCN aims to provide the full range of our services, including approval visits, access to External Quality Assurers, timetabled external assessments and support accessed through NOCN Group and would advise that students and centres continue to prepare for external assessments as usual.

We appreciate that the Government may require further action to be taken by us all. Ofqual has said that their most important principle is fairness to all learners and apprentices, not only for those being assessed now but also for those assessed before COVID-19.

In recent discussions with many customers, it is clear they wish to continue to operate, albeit in slightly different ways or to different timescales. NOCN Group will be flexible and pragmatic, whilst not compromising the quality of the assessments, certificates and cards we undertake and issue. Accordingly, we will not be adopting a central ‘one size fits all’ set of rules. Instead we will apply common sense and discuss with customers the best way of supporting them in a safe manner. This might involve more remote or recorded assessment methods or ensuring adequate protection is in place where there is no practical alternative to physical assessments; with proper risk assessments undertaken prior to the assessment event.

We will be providing digital on-line support to you, this may include the ability to offer WebEx interviews, develop online invigilated exams in place of physical papers, and certain digital content support. Please contact us to discuss how best we can support you.

As you will know, 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. You will find out more operational detail on the implications of COVID19 for each of these services through the following links:

Please note that NOCN will be following the guidance issued by the ESFA, IfATE, Ofqual, CCEA and Qualifications Wales, and will be updating 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 or 0300 999 1177 (Option 5).

Best wishes from all at NOCN to you our valued customers. We hope you all remain safe and well.

Graham Hasting-Evans
Group Managing Director