Coronavirus update/alternative arrangements for 2020/21

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Coronavirus update for customers

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.

As you will be aware the government imposed a third national lockdown from Tuesday 5th January 2021. You will find out more operational detail on the implications for each of these services through the following links:

Please note that NOCN Group will be following the guidance issued by the ESFA, IfATE, Ofqual, CCEA Regulation, 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.

Update 29th March 2021

On 24th March, Ofqual published the VTQ Contingency Regulatory Framework (VCRF) which allows NOCN to provide centres with awarding arrangements for learners who have had their training and assessment disrupted in 2021. To view more information on the arrangements in place by NOCN, please click here.

Using Xbox to Access Online Learning

It is possible for learners to access their online work from home using a gaming console. For guidance on how to do this please download the document here.

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Adult Education Budget (AEB)

The AEB funds education and training for adult learners +19. Access to the AEB is through local training providers or colleges.

The AEB enables adults the access the skills and learning needed to provide opportunities for career progression or equip them for an apprenticeship.

Employers can utilise the AEB to reskill and upskill their current workforce to solve skills shortages, improve employee's knowledge, performance and productivity.

Learners can make use of the AEB to gain new skills to support their career progression in their current role or support a career change. It can also be used to help prepare learners for an apprenticeship.

AEB can be utilised in the following ways:

  • Fund learners aged 19-23 to gain a full level 2 or 3 qualification, if they do not already hold one.  Learners aged +24 may need to contribute to some costs.
  • Fund low-waged learners aged +24 to gain their first full level 2 or 3 qualification.
  • Fund learners who are unemployed for any qualification or course up to level 2.
  • Fund any low waged learner whose first language is not English, up to level 2.
  • Fund English and maths, up to and including level 2, for individuals aged +19, who have not previously achieved a GCSE grade A* - C or grade 4, or higher.
  • Fund traineeships for unemployed learners aged 19 - 24 years.  Additional units, awards and certificates traineeships can be funded to support trainees with specific occupation knowledge and skills.
Training providers need a contract with the Government via the Education and Skills Funding Agency (ESFA) to deliver qualifications to learners aged +19 in order to access the AEB.  There are two main funding streams:
  1. Local flexibility - Is the tailored provision for adults. It includes regulated qualifications and their units, and/or non-regulated learning, from entry level to level.
  2. Legal entitlement - The entitlements allow learners aged: 19 to 23 to be fully-funded if they study for a first qualification at level 2 and/or level 3. 19 and over, who have not previously attained a GCSE grade C/grade 4 or higher, to be fully-funded if they study for a qualification in English or maths, up to and including level 2.

Funding Rules and Eligibility

The government website offers useful advice, guidance and a full breakdown of the rules for the use of the Adult Education Budget.