Skip navigation

Qualifications case studies

NOCN offers arguably the broadest range of qualifications and alternative routes for both experienced workers and new entrants to the jobs market.

Case study: Air Traffic Control Accredited Training

The brief

NATS has developed a number of accredited qualifications with NOCN for air traffic trainees both from the UK and abroad, cementing the organisation's international reputation for high quality training in such a critical area.

For more than 60 years, NATS has been proudly delivering high quality and effective training to students for Air Navigation Service Providers around the world, as well as to NATS' own Air Traffic Control (ATC) trainees for UK operations.

The UK was the first European country to organise regular training courses for Air Traffic Controllers. In 1949, the School of Air Traffic Control was formally established at Hurn, in the South of England, to train the Air Ministry's controllers and assistants.

From 1959 other nations began sending students to the UK for ATC training and today most of NATS' air traffic controllers are educated at our training school, alongside students from countries worldwide.

In August 2011, NATS relocated to a purpose-built state -of -the -art training facility at the NATS Corporate and Technical Centre in Whiteley, Hampshire. This is where NATS continues to provide all of its own Tower, Approach and En-Route training requirements, as well as training for all NATS Engineering staff.

NATS has always worked hard to ensure training is of the highest professional standards and works closely with our UK and European regulators and ICAO, to maintain these levels.

In recent years, we made a point of demonstrating the value of our training using external academic standards, taking various approaches to satisfy both the requirements of our customers and the UK government, where there must be assurance before they will issue visas to students.

Educational oversight was obtained from the Independent Schools Inspectorate (ISI) for private further education. This involved on-site audit inspections where evidence was provided of all the scenarios students would experience, as well as assessments of the strength of systems and processes, from course design and delivery to health and safety.

To support the educational oversight, courses had to be developed into accredited educational qualifications and NATS had to become a recognised centre, with the ability to teach the qualifications.

What we delivered

NOCN was the Awarding Organisation chosen by NATS to support this work and in September 2014, 12 months of qualification development work began. As a result, there are now eight Air Traffic Control courses fully recognised as accredited qualifications.
Achievements so far include: nine Certificates - eight at Level 4 and three at Level 5, with another 25 students progressing through current courses.

Where we added value

"Starting the training, the qualification was not something I was aware of. However, once starting it was another goal to work towards and it’s a great feeling knowing that the hard work we do for our licence is also being put towards a formal, recognised qualification. It's another string to our bow, and as someone without a degree, another useful part of my CV to put alongside my licence to show off the skills and knowledge I have learnt.” Jordan, Aerodrome course.

Case study: Bradford College

Bradford College is one of the biggest Further Education colleges and providers of Higher Education outside of the university sector in the country. It has been delivering quality Further and Higher education and training for more than 180 years. The college has been working with NOCN since 2013 and the work is currently focused on employability skills.

Miguel Montescano, Head of Department – Communities and Work, Bradford College, says: “We choose to work with NOCN because of its flexibility, familiarity, user friendly units/qualifications, support and logical framework. What really makes NOCN stand out as an awarding body of choice is the fact that its qualifications are student/tutor-centred, making them easy to deliver and ensuring the best experience and outcome for learners.


Case study: Groundwork

Groundwork North, East and West Yorkshire is a community charity with a ‘green heart’. It brings people and the environment together with practical, local action focused on:

  • Creating better, greener places
  • Improving people’s prospects
  • Promoting greener living and working

Community projects include tackling climate change by helping local people out of fuel poverty, bringing out the best in young people by helping them to improve their local area, building stronger communities by improving parks and shared green spaces, and getting people back into work by creating jobs.

As a not-for-profit awarding body with charitable objectives, NOCN share's Groundwork NEWY's values of putting people before profit. NOCN has therefore been its awarding body of choice for several years, offering Functional Skills qualifications from entry level to Level 2, and vocational qualifications in Introduction to Horticulture and Skills for Employment.

Paula Hinsley, Lifelong Learning Manager, Groundwork NEWY, says: “NOCN's flexible qualifications and people-centred approach help us to have a greater social impact both through our projects and on learners over the long term. Because it is credit-based learning, learners who are only with us for 20-week projects and may only do an Award with us can then go on to progress this into a Certificate and/or Diploma after they have left us. For many of the young people we work with, getting this first qualification gives them a vital stepping stone that boosts their social mobility and employability, and gives them the opportunity to contribute to local community projects that have a long-term impact on those around them. As Lifelong Learning Manager it is especially satisfying for me to see our learners achieve something and then move on to do other things which they wouldn't have otherwise had the chance to do. People are at the heart of what we do and NOCN's flexibility and helpfulness reflect this – I can't fault the team's customer service."

Case study: Academy Transformation Trust Further Education

ATTFE is sponsored by Academy Transformation Trust which is a leading multi-academy trust committed to transforming the learning opportunities and aspirations for its students and the communities in which they live. The college provides an exciting range of non-vocational provision, alongside accredited learning from Entry Level to Level 5 available through The Trust FE. NOCN has worked with the academy for more than four years to provide Functional Skills qualifications in Maths, English and ICT.

Gordon Kay, Examinations Officer, Sutton College, says:?I have worked with several different people from across different areas of NOCN and have always been impressed with the level of support and ability to meet our challenging requirements. I have invariably found NOCN helpful, trustworthy and cost efficient and their excellent customer service and ease of access to courses is what makes them stand out from other providers as a long term partner of choice. We work with NOCN on providing Functional Skills for our leaners and often we can have many different exams running per week so need a provider we can trust to make everything run smoothly and they never let us down.”

Peter White, learner at ATTFE says: “Studying Functional Skills at ATTFE using NOCN qualifications has opened doors for me in terms of my personal and professional development. I particularly liked the fact that the course made use of real-life contexts that allowed me to demonstrate the knowledge that I have gained in a range of environments. I have also achieved a nationally recognised qualification that has been vital in my ambition to change career.”

Megan Spademan, learner at ATTFE says: “Since studying NOCN qualifications I feel that my confidence has greatly improved, I have progressed from Entry 3 to Level 2 in Mathematics and believe that I have developed greater knowledge of mathematical processes and formulas.”

Jill Badman, learner at ATTFE says: “It has been nice to be back in an adult educational environment studying for meaningful qualifications with NOCN. I feel that I am now working towards a relevant qualification that will be essential to my ambition to return to employment.”