Coronavirus update for customers

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Coronavirus update for customers

Operational Update on NOCN Group Qualifications and Services

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, including advice for students and centres preparing for external assessments, through the following links:

Please note that NOCN will be following the guidance issued by the ESFA, IfATE, Ofqual, CCEA, 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 (Option 5).

Working to support our valued customers

You will be aware of the various Government and World Health Organisation (WHO) announcements and official advice over COVID19.
The situation is unprecedented and has been continually changing. With colleges and schools now closed and the country in effect ‘locked down’, other than essential services, we will endeavour to continue to support you, your apprentices, learners and card applicants through this difficult period.

We support Ofqual’s statement that the 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.

Centre Support

All our staff are working from home, so we are still offering front line support, through telephony, email and web chat as usual.
Certificates for regulated qualifications and cards are being issued to centres in the normal way.
We aim to provide as full a range of our services as possible, where these can be delivered remotely, and we can use remote or recorded assessment methods, whilst maintaining the integrity of the assessment.
All face-to-face appointments for approval visits, External Quality Assurers, and external assessments have been suspended until training centres reopen and normal business resumes.
We are providing digital on-line support, including offering WebEx interviews, developing online invigilated exams in place of physical papers, and digital content support.


Please contact us to discuss how best we can support you on nocn@nocn.org.uk 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

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Thinking about becoming An End Point Assessor for Apprenticeships?

Sarah Whitham, Assessment Executive at NOCN shares some advice and guidance for anyone thinking about becoming an End Point Assessor for Apprenticeships.

In my role as the lead on End Point Assessor (EPA) recruitment for leading Awarding and Apprenticeship End Point Assessment Organisation (EPAO) NOCN, I am responsible for recruiting the right people to assess the new apprenticeship standards, ensuring that we have both breadth and depth of assessors.

Since the new apprenticeships standards were introduced, I find that there is still confusion around what the assessment role involves and what skills are required to be an End Point Assessor. Many people do not realise that the skills they have would be relevant and transferable to the role and that it is an opportunity for them to be at the forefront of the apprenticeship process.

What is End Point Assessment?

End Point Assessment involves a series of tests an apprentice must take to prove their ability to do the job they have been training for. These tests take place at the end of an apprenticeship following a period of training and development often referred to as the 'on-programme' period. Apprenticeship Standards and Assessment Plans are being continuously published and End Point Assessment Organisations (EPAOs) are being approved on an ongoing basis.

What does the role involve?

End Point Assessors are required to evidence knowledge, skills and behaviours of an apprentice at the end of their Apprenticeship. Many assessors will be from the Further Education sector, but a significant proportion will come from industry.

What do you need to know?

If you are thinking of becoming an assessor, here are a few hints and tips to make the jump into End Point Assessing for a leading EPAO, such as NOCN:

  1. Understand what End Point Assessment is in your field of expertise

    There will be a greater need for an increased number of End Point Assessors and for those currently working as experts in their field, it will be important to understand the intentions and practice of EPA, identify the standards that apply to the Apprenticeship in their professional field and learn about the different types of assessment methods such as professional discussions and portfolios, etc.

  2. Ensure you can meet the specific assessor criteria on the relevant Assessment Plan

    In every Assessment Plan that is published by the Institute for Apprenticeships (IfA) there is a section that outlines what qualifications, occupational expertise and knowledge End Point Assessors must hold to be able to effectively assess apprentices.

    When NOCN review applications for End Point Assessor roles, this is the first, main ‘quality check’ we complete as NOCN need to ensure that these points are covered at the sifting stage of our recruitment process.

  3. Always maintain and keep your CPD (Continual Professional Development) up to date and in line with current industry standards

    This is the first check we perform to ensure an applicant’s currency. It’s important as any End Point Assessing Organisation approved to conduct EPAs are looking for people who, on a regular basis, are either work shadowing colleagues or volunteering in their chosen sector. You will need to have recent experience in the industry in which you want to assess. If you don’t have this in place, it is going to be difficult to get accepted for the role.

    For instance, A Retail End Point Assessor who keeps ‘hands on’ by volunteering in a Sue Ryder charity shop every four to six weeks and maintains their occupational competency this way, in areas such as customer interaction, cash and payment handling and teamwork. They also attend our Standardisation meetings which is another a key activity to ensure competence when End Point Assessing.

  4. Attend workshop sessions on assessment methods and practice

    Try and find good networking opportunities at the numerous nationwide-held events and workshops. Don’t be afraid to ask and gain further understanding from End Point Assessing Organisation contacts. In October, ITC Skills held the L3/L4 Education and Training Standards: Delivery and EPA event in Sheffield which was sponsored by NOCN. This event gave End Point Assessors and other interested parties from colleges an opportunity to go through the Learning Mentor and Assessor Coach Apprenticeship Standards in more detail.

    NOCN has in the past and continues to provide direction to would be End Point Assessors on how to maximise their chances of becoming an EPA. We have done this by recommending they visit websites of organisations who offer qualifications such as the Award in Undertaking End Point Apprenticeship or the Certificate of Assessing Vocational Achievement.


To find out more about becoming an End Point Assessor, we can recommend the following websites;

https://www.assessorsguild.co.uk/
https://www.protocol.co.uk/
http://www.strategicdevelopmentnetwork.co.uk/

If you are interested in becoming an End Point Assessor for NOCN please contact Sarah Whitham for more details - sarah.whitham@nocn.org.uk