Awarding bodies are an often overlooked wishing-well of opportunity when it comes to getting qualified. There are more education providers than many people realise and employers recognise far more awarding bodies than OCR and AQA. Exploring other options can open the floodgates to qualifications you never knew existed and careers you’d never thought about.
The NCFE is a British awarding body. The organisation focuses on working with schools, colleges and other higher education providers to deliver academic and vocational courses.
History of the NCFE
The NCFE was, until the 1990s, called the Northern Council for Further Education. This council was a happy union between 9 education authorities and 1 council. The earliest incarnation of these parent bodies came in the 1840s, more than 3 decades before education was even compulsory in England. Together, they pooled their strengths and visions to become the NCFE.
T-Levels are a new qualification being introduced in Britain by the UK Government. The ‘T’ stands for ‘Technical’. The qualification is an alternative to A-Levels that offers classroom learning plus a minimum of 315 hours work experience. They are being developed in collaboration with employers to ensure quality work placements that benefit the students and employers. The first 3 T-Levels will begin September 2020 and 7 more will follow in 2021. One T-Level is worth 3 A-Levels. As with BTECs, they’ll be graded Fail, Pass, Merit, Distinction or Distinction*.
This push is primarily to fill skills gaps in UK industries. These industries include education, construction, surveying and finance, to name a few. It may well also be to address the issue with two-a-penny arts degrees that have been the scourge of the 2010s. While these degrees taught valuable transferable skills in time-management, critical thinking and written English, they have often been criticised for lacking in practical skills for industries. Whether this is fair or not, the job market is undeniably saturated with the aforementioned transferable skills. This is resulting in graduates and post-graduates being under or unemployed en masse. Therefore, T-Levels are a practical solution for both employers needing certain skills and young people wanting a secure career path.
NCFE have won 6 contracts from the Institute for Apprenticeships and Technical Education. This means that they’ll be providing 1 of the 3 T-Levels starting in September 2020 and a further 5 of the 7 beginning the following year.
Why are NCFE Qualifications Important?
NCFE gives attention to accessible and vocational skills. Their qualifications don’t just give students a piece of paper, they give them skills that will actively ready them for the world of work.
NCFE is dedicated to social mobility. Their courses are for everyone, from teenagers still at school to graduates needing extra key skills.
The media has been saturated in recent years with reports of underemployed graduates. Unfortunately, many subjects have far too many graduates for relatively few jobs. History of Art, for example, has only a handful of niche curatorial jobs on offer, with very little else in the market that’s relevant for the thousands of History of Art graduates that are churned out each year. Universities will plaster their websites with the few success stories but give no limelight to the high percentage of their graduates working in coffee shops. Why would they? Universities are businesses too. Even those who choose STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) subjects for their degrees aren’t safe. A Government study from 2011 about STEM graduates found that, of the graduates they interviewed working in their chosen industries, “few … used their specific degree subject knowledge a great deal”. Findings from the Royal Academy of Engineering show that only just over half of engineering graduates that year were employed in engineering jobs 6 months after graduation, despite there being a well-known skills shortage in the industry.
It can be hard to find your feet in the world of work. Many people may be qualified for a job but lack the resourcefulness, resilience, people skills and industry knowledge that they need to achieve their career goals. NCFE courses teach specific, applicable skills that can give people the boost they need to hit the ground running in work.
Many of the NCFE’s courses are developed with employers, including Tesco, ROSEN, the Society of Operations Engineers, the Chartered Institute of Logistics and Transport, even the NHS. The organisation works together with these employers to define the skills they want then trains candidates to fit real job roles.
NCFE offers more than just courses. Here are a few highlights from their repertoire of services:
NCFE works with this company to bring GoCalm’s product to schools and universities. The product is essentially a head strap and a computer programme that together reduce students’ stress and anxiety during exam season. This is not only good for their mental wellbeing but allows them to clear their heads and study better. Therefore, raising the standard of their work and their chances of success. Win-win, really.
Ever evolving, NCFE now uses e-Portfolios to streamline their students’ work and keep it extra safe.
The NCFE have developed these in line with the Government’s scheme and with employers. Traineeships are courses that aim to train people aged 16-24 for specific job roles. They include work placements that can be up to 6 months long. Additionally, trainees get essential training to help them thrive in the workplace.
Our Work with the NCFE
We at the College of Contract Management are proud providers of 3 NCFE qualifications. Our courses are live online programmes. Lecturers with expertise and experience in the field give lessons in real time, so you can ask questions as you would in a classroom. This means that you can study for your NCFE awarded qualification from the comfort of your home, while still enjoying the benefits of a classroom. Furthermore, our flexibility and recordings mean that your study fits around your schedule.
Moving into the world of work can be a shock to the system after 12 years of being at school. Simply turning up in the correct clothes is no longer good enough, never mind the lack of regular holidays and days that go past 3 pm. This course is designed to give initial training for those embarking on their career. It will ease the transition into Businessland by training candidates in the following areas:
- Understanding work practices and how different roles and departments function within an organisation.
- Personal manners and appropriate behaviour.
- Professional dress code and office/business etiquette.
- Business-like interpersonal skills.
- Professional and appropriate communication skills.
- Supporting colleagues.
This NCFE course is the next step up from Level 2. It is aimed at early professionals who have basic skills in the workplace and are now looking for more specified skills to help them get ahead.
- Principles of Business
- Business Communication and Information
- Principles and Methods of Administration
Optional (choose 4 units from Units 4-19 listed below)
- The Development and Implementation of Information Systems
- Improving Business Performance
- Developing and Delivering Presentations
- Building, Managing and Administering Legal Files
- Using Business Data and Bespoke Business Documents
- Equality, Diversity and Inclusion in the Workplace
- Managing Performance and Conflict in the Workplace
- Delivering Customer Service
- Digital Marketing and Researching
- Principles of Marketing Stakeholder Relationships
- Principles of Market Research
- Marketing and Evaluation
- Understanding the Customer Service Environment
- Understand the Legal Context of Business
- Principles of Social Media in a Business
- Leadership and Management
Our highest NCFE course offers 18 different modules to choose from, making it ideal for those with experience who are looking to move up the career ladder. This course is particularly beneficial for those hoping to be promoted to a managerial position. In order to achieve the Diploma, candidates must successfully achieve 40 credits, 10 from the mandatory unit and 30 from optional units. 35 out of the 40 credits have to have at least unit level 5:
|01||Principles of management and leadership||10||5|
|02||Management of Change||5||5|
|04||Developing Successful Business Teams||5||5|
|06||Recruitment and Selection||5||5|
|07||Financial Awareness for Managers||5||5|
|08||Marketing Principles for Managers||5||5|
|09||Management Decision Making||10||5|
|10||Leadership in your Organisation||5||5|
|11||Managing Staff Performance||5||5|
|12||Customer Relationship Management||5||5|
|15||Quality Management in an Organisation||5||6|
|16||Principles of Strategic Management||5||6|
|17||Managing Innovation in an Organisation||5||6|
|18||Managing Communications at Work||5||4|