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 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 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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Cskills FAQs

Cskills FAQs

Q.Why does CITB think NOCN is the right organisation to take over Cskills Awards?

NOCN has been an Awarding Organisation (AO) for many years and knows the construction industry well. It is also one of the leading Apprentice Assessment Organisations (AAOs) for End Point Assessments on the new apprenticeships (funded by the new Levy). It has been working with employers on a wide range of the new construction apprenticeship standards. NOCN’s business strategy is to grow the business further and it firmly believes that the purchase of Cskills Awards will complement its existing portfolio. With this wider portfolio, NOCN/Cskills Awards will be able to offer a much broader range of qualifications to more trades in the construction industry and will be free from the constraints of the Industry Training Board scope order, to innovate and be flexible to industry needs – something NOCN does well in other markets. This is a good fit for everyone and is great news for the construction industry and NOCN looks forward to working with Centres further in the coming months.

Q.What happens next?

You will continue to receive the same range of services that you currently enjoy. NOCN and the Cskills Awards staff will be doing everything to ensure a seamless transition for Centres and Learners. Please be assured no Learner will be disadvantaged by this change. The two businesses need time to transition into one. NOCN/Cskills Awards will remain at its current Bircham Newton site to facilitate a smooth and efficient transfer.

Q.How long will it take for the change to take place?

We hope to have the transition completed within 12 months and you as our valued customer will be regularly updated on progress.

Q.How will this impact upon my Centre?

CITB will transfer all current Cskills Awards centres to NOCN in a managed process. For the first six months, it will be ‘business as usual’ and the systems and processes you use will not change, after which there may be new systems and ways of working gradually introduced as the two organisations become one and seek to harmonise how they work.

Q.What are the advantages to training centres like us from this sale?

The combination of NOCN and Cskills Awards will produce a market-leading AO that has construction as one of its main focuses. It will also offer a much wider range of products and services to support your business, including such supporting qualifications as Functional Skills and management skills. The removal of the CITB restrictions will mean that NOCN/Cskills Awards will be able to offer its centres a wider range of products such as electrical and other occupational qualifications within the construction industry. There is also a lot of change occurring within the training and qualifications sector and this merger will provide the best platform to support the industry through these changes. This includes providing End Point Assessments for reformed Apprenticeships and other Government initiatives.

Q.Will the prices and fees I currently pay change?

There is no plan to change the current pricing model at this time.

Q.Will the way Cskills Awards conducts external verification and quality management change?

NOCN/Cskills Awards sees the current model of having directly employed, full time construction external verifiers who are supported by contracted specialists, as best practice and there are no plans to change this.

Q.Will Cskills Awards/NOCN still provide low volume qualifications?

Yes - NOCN is committed to supporting the current Cskills Awards centres and the smaller segments of the industry; including specialist skills. NOCN/Cskills Awards will continue to provide the widest range of construction qualification of any awarding organisation and will provide all qualification that have sustainable volumes.

Q.Will the people who we work with at Cskills Awards change?

There will be continuity of staffing and many of the people you currently have contact with will transfer over, so you should be working with people you know.

Q.Will the certificates look different?

There will be some changes, as NOCN will be the owner not CITB. You will therefore see certificates issued after 1 August which are from Cskills Awards part of NOCN Group. NOCN will send you more details on this.

Q.If I am already an NOCN centre does this mean I now have my accounts merged?

No – NOCN/Cskills Awards will continue as a separate AO in the short term, wholly owned by NOCN rather than CITB. This is likely to change in 2018 when it is planned to merge into a single AO. At this point you will benefit from being a Centre with a single market leading AO.

Q.Will I need to re-register Cskills Awards candidates/learners?

No, the systems and data on them will remain the same for up to six months and then there will be a data migration onto NOCN systems.

Q.As both a Site Safety Plus and an Awards centre, how will this affect me?

In the first six months, you will notice little difference in terms of systems, however, you will receive separate Quality Assurance, support and billing from NOCN/Cskills and from CITB for Site Safety Plus, which will continue to provide this product. Both organisations will use the Awards Online System for the initial six-month transition period for both products.

Q.Will the way I contact NOCN/Cskills Awards change?

We are endeavouring to change as little as possible to begin with to ensure continuity. We will inform you of any necessary changes well before they happen, which may include the email addresses and phone numbers you use to contact NOCN/Cskills Awards.

Q.Will the CITB Grant payments still be available to employers for Cskills Awards/NOCN qualifications?

CITB Grant will continue to be available to in-scope employers.

Q.Does CITB appreciate that these changes cause Training Centres costs in terms of rework and reprinting?

We are fully aware of this. This change has been significantly considered before implementation. To minimise the work and cost to centres, NOCN will be providing a clear statement of how it intends to change branding in the future.

Q.Why was the announcement made just before the new academic year?

The announcement was made as soon as the contract was signed. We understand that Centres have a long planning period which we were unable to fit in with. CITB and NOCN feel that the changes announced should not affect training centres’ ability to deliver the current suite of Cskills Awards Qualifications.

Q.Will Petrol Driven Cut Off Saws (PDCOS) still be a deliverable course via the CITB? Or will this be moving with CSkills?

PDCOS is being retained by CITB as it is not a regulated qualification and will therefore continue as it does today. The current Centre contract will cover centres currently delivering this qualification.

Q.Does this mean that other CITB products will be sold off?

CITB is undertaking a review of its products and services to ensure it provides a portfolio that provides maximum benefit to industry and is value for money, that review continues.

Q.What are the other NOCN products we can benefit from?

NOCN offers a wide portfolio of products including: Regulated qualifications, End Point Assessments, Apprenticeship frameworks, Functional Skills and ESOL, Endorsed programmes, Consultancy, Online testing and delivery. For information on these please go to

Q.Will NOCN generate a report in the same style as the CSkills Report, where the candidate history will be available?

All NOCN/Cskills Awards Systems will remain the same for six months with the same functionality. There will then be a managed transition on to an industry leading qualification management system that will be conducted in collaboration with centres.

Q.Will the NVQs be visible to CPCS for the generation of Blue CPCS Cards?

NOCN and CITB intend for this to continue so that there is a quick fulfilment of CPCS cards.

Q.Cskills Awards did a number of local roadshows providing information and advice from the verification team. Will these continue?

Cskills Awards and NOCN are keen to continue this engagement and will be planning to run a series of roadshows towards the end of the year.

Q.Can NOCN service this extra work load?

The capability currently required to manage and deliver the Cskills Awards business is being transferred to NOCN and will be retained in the future to support construction centres, so customers will see little change in service until improvements are made to better support them.

Q.How will the Grant be triggered when a learner completes an NVQ when Cskills awards is part of NOCN Group

Employers will be able to apply for the Grant in the normal manner as per training courses and other achievements.

Q.Will the completion of AWD057 (L1 Health & Safety in a Construction Environment) after transition trigger a CSCS Green card application?

This will not initially be automatic. Individuals will be able to apply via the normal Card application process.

Q.Will the NOCNs systems show the same information as currently displayed on awards on Line? e.g. cards issued, H&S tests etc.

For the first 6 months this will be unchanged. The new NOCN systems introduced in 2018 will be market leading systems that will provide an enhanced experience for training centres, however, it is unlikely to show the CITB data such as cards issued and H&S tests passed.