Expansion is on the cards this summer for awarding organisation NOCN, with a new acquisition from the Construction Industry Training Board, which it claims will transform it into one of the biggest AOs in the UK.

Cskills Awards, currently a division of the CITB, will officially move to NOCN on August 1 and will bring with it around 4,000 apprenticeships a year.

The construction focused AO is the second largest in its sector after City and Guilds, holding a 25 per cent share of the market and providing 271 regulated construction qualifications from entry level to level seven.

Norfolk-based Cskills Awards had 97,500 learner registrations and 69,000 qualification achievements in 2015/16.

The acquisition will broaden the range of NOCN’s offer to include construction qualifications such as ‘license to practice’ and professional development, as well as English and maths, functional skills and the new T-Level technical qualifications from autumn 2019.

The new combined operation will provide apprenticeships, qualifications and assessments across the construction industry.

NOCN told FE Week that CITB sold Cskills in order to focus on its primary function as an industry sector skills council and to remove any conflict of interest as it develops skills standards for the sector.

Graham Hasting-Evans, managing director of NOCN said: “As someone who started out as an apprentice first time around and who has worked in the building and construction sector for many years, I find this new opportunity very exciting.

“I am looking forward to working with Cskills Awards personnel to incorporate their product expertise and their technological distinctiveness to NOCN.”

He added: “NOCN has a wide range of qualifications that will meet the future skills needs of our combined customer base, new employers, and accredited centres operating in the construction sector.”

The collaboration would aim to “create new opportunities, re-address the skill gaps, re-balance gender inequality and support a strong growth for the construction industry in the UK”, he said. 

Sarah Beale, chief executive of CITB, said: “The sale of Cskills Awards is the right decision for the construction industry.

“NOCN has a commitment to continuing to service the breadth of products and services and maintain quality levels.”

She added: “In addition NOCN will be able to greatly expand the range of qualifications on offer to customers, beyond construction occupations, as they are not subject to the same restrictions as CITB.

“Our thanks and good wishes go with our colleagues who have not only served CITB well, but I am sure will continue to deliver excellent support to the industry through NOCN.”

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