NOCN Group is a leading awarding organisation and top Government-approved Apprenticeship Assessment Organisation (AAO) that has been creating opportunities for over 30 years. As a progressive educational charity, it is at the forefront of vocational skills development, apprenticeships and champions UK productivity and social mobility.
In the lead up to the introduction of the Apprenticeship Levy in April 2017, NOCN tasked Engage Comms with raising its profile as a trusted thought leader and credible partner to both training providers and employers, specialising in End Point Assessment of apprentices. Since 2017, we have continued working as an extension of the marketing team as the NOCN Group acquired NOCN India Skills Foundation, CSkills Awards, One Awards, and the Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS).
On an ongoing basis, we work collaboratively with the in-house marketing team to provide strategic marketing support where required, including ad hoc thought leadership blog content, creation of printed materials, event maximisation, and crisis comms.
A project in 2022 involved us designing and facilitating a ‘brand awareness workshop’ where key NOCN customers were invited to share their experiences of working with the organisation. We devised a programme for the day to glean valuable insight and then presented back a full report including communications recommendations. In 2023, we were asked to provide crisis communications training to the senior team and middle managers to ensure that the organisation can protect its reputation in an increasingly complex and highly regulated market.
In 2019, NOCN Job Cards acquired the Construction Plant Competence Scheme (CPCS) – the leading skills certification scheme for plant within the UK construction industry – from CITB. CPCS from NOCN Job Cards provides proof that individuals have the required training and qualifications for the type of work they carry out.
There were a number of challenges with the transition which led to the customer support team receiving queries via a combination of NOCN social media channels, emails, and telephone calls. To help streamline the communication, we developed an insight-based social media strategy and set up dedicated Facebook, Twitter, and Linkedin pages specifically for CPCS from NOCN Job Cards which were proactive rather than reactive to the needs of the customer. To understand the customer base better, we examined the nature of the queries received up to this point in a research project to ensure that the new channels would bridge the gap and provide all the answers to the most frequently asked questions.
We also developed a bank of content that could be shared from the channels with useful messages and branded graphics so that they would be instantly recognisable in the social feeds and help to build trust and credibility with both new and existing customers online.
In preparation to handover the new channels to the in-house team, we delivered a social media training session to cover everything from the tone of voice to dealing with negative commentary in the public domain. This provided the CPCS team with everything they needed to strategically manage the platforms themselves going forward with our support as a ‘critical friend’.
We have also worked with organisations within the NOCN Group on campaigns to promote Access to Higher Education and maximisation of digital technologies into college courses to improve student retention. We used a combination of highly targeted email marketing and social media to engage hard to reach audiences and drive footfall at key events.