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 Group 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 2).

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 but 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 2).

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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NOCN helps to develop training qualification for drylining in housebuilding

NOCN were delighted to join a working group established through specialist trade body, Finishes and Interiors (FIS) and supported by industry partners to define the skills and agree the qualification training level for drylining in housebuilding.

Housebuilding makes up approximately one third of the drylining marketplace with businesses and individuals focused on delivering exclusively for this demand.

NOCN and CITB were involved in the conceptual agreement across industry. All parties, FIS employers, Home Builders Federation (HBF) members, colleges and training providers formed the working group to define all aspects and enable delivery.

The objectives set for the project included:

  • To develop standardised, formally recognised training that enables the delivery of drylining within housebuilding.
  • To identify and agree the funding available that will enable the delivery of the training.
  • Ensure quality of provision of training in the right locations.

The new English trailblazer apprenticeship is for the commercial world and does not provide flexibility for operatives employed in housebuilding, there is no specific trained outcome for drylining in housing and as such no funding is available. The vocational qualifications also focus on the needs of commercial drylining and those working in housebuilding struggle to obtain the workplace evidence required to complete the current qualification.

NOCN Executive Director of Job Cards and Services, Mark Buckton said:

“NOCN has been delighted to work with FIS on the drylining in housebuilding qualification. At NOCN we know that specialist trades are absolutely vital to the success of the industry and in accomplishing the aims of the nation; like achieving the Government’s housebuilding targets. The drylining in housebuilding qualification fitted perfectly into the new suite of construction Training Qualifications where we have totally redesigned each trade’s syllabus and provided greater teaching and learning materials. NOCN is dedicated to ensuring we provide top quality qualifications for both specialist and the larger trades”

This project has clearly highlighted the gap in drylining training and the need for the new qualification for dryliners in the housing sector. This is now complete and has been ready to deliver since 1st April 2020. With training providers and colleges working alongside contractors and individuals along with the support of the FIS, CITB and main contractors it is unanimously agreed the qualification will be the solution that industry needs.

HBF Home Building Skills Partnership Manager, Sara Cartin, said:

“The new qualification will help to deliver quality workmanship to industry-agreed standards for home buyers. It is another key part of our skills framework and combined with the virtual skills cards we are developing will ensure that training gaps are addressed”.

FIS CEO, Iain McIlwee said:

“It is vital that we move the conversation about skills on to supporting competence within our workforce. As part of this project, we interrogated the current training situation for the housebuilding market and it was clear intervention was needed to support change and help our community meet future skills needs. The key aspect of this is the flexibility that it delivers within a framework.

We often talk of sectors as though they are one harmonious constant, but this is not the case, from business to business and throughout the regions of the UK there are different practical considerations. Within this work we have been mindful of the employer defined competency requirements and with the support of training providers, housebuilders, and specialist contractors ensured this trained outcome can be adapted to meet specific workplace requirements.

We are grateful to CITB and particularly NOCN for their support in targeting and delivering this new qualification. We are confident that it will be a valuable new asset to support the measurement and management of competence in the sector”.

The Drylining in Housebuilding Report can be downloaded from the FIS Skills Hub.