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Smooth Operators

Operations Administrator Laurence Cuthbert writes about his experience working at NOCN.

NOCN Group’s sparkling new Sheffield office is undergoing its finishing touches. As I type this, an enormous glass door is being drilled into place behind me. But even the strongest of glass doors can’t hold in all the certificates we generate. The shiniest of new coffee filters can’t quench our thirst for accurate registrations. Not even the most efficient of new air-cons can cool down our blazing workflow.

In the Operations Team, the work ticks quietly through it all.

I am relatively new to this company. After graduating in July 2017 with an English degree from the University of Nottingham, I juggled various part time, casual and voluntary roles before settling into a full-time role with NOCN. I have been working for the company as an Operations Administrator since April 2018.

My day to day duties in the role focus on processing, efficiency and accuracy. Learners are at the centre of my work; I register them for qualifications and award them with results and certificates when they have achieved each qualification. I deal with qualifications from the thousands of centres affiliated with NOCN, registering and awarding learners nationwide for construction, Maths and English, security, social care, and much more.

One of my other duties is to support tutors and providers more directly. I have been registering several hundred former users of the expired CSkills Awards test platform, Awards Online, onto our own platform, QuartzWeb, allowing them to access information concerning learners at their centre. I contact multiple users per day with login details, frequently resolving and troubleshooting any queries they have afterwards.

Occasionally the priority is given to specific projects. The team recently processed a large number of ESOL (English as a Second Language) exams from our Centres in Greece. Fuelled by sugar and caffeine, over two intensive days we processed all the papers and distributed them for marking, later registering and awarding them online.

What is it like to be part of the Operations Team? The work can be challenging at times. There are hundreds of results and registrations to process at any one time, requiring strong coordination between the whole team. When CSkills Awards joined NOCN, it had a great impact on the department and increased our workflow. Yet the team’s ethic is the biggest motivator. We have propelled each other through with energy and cooperation to maintain smooth and efficient processing.

I feel very fortunate to have joined NOCN at a crucial stage in its development. So far, my time here has encompassed the work with Cskills Awards, the ESOL paper processing and our move into the new office at Sheffield’s Acero Building. I should also stress that there is much more to the Operations department than I can do justice in this account. In my time here, I have only scratched the surface of the work done by this team. Other members of the department deal with all manner of specialist queries, orders and exams. I see them as the backbone of this organisation and I feel privileged to work among them.

They’ve finished the door now. I hope it will welcome many an Operations Administrator in the future.