Coronavirus update for customers

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Coronavirus update for 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.

All our staff are working from home, so we will still be offering front line support, through telephony, email and web chat as usual.

At this time, NOCN aims to provide as full a range of our services as possible, where these can be delivered remotely, and where possible we will use remote or recorded assessment methods. We will do this in a way to maintain 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 will be providing digital on-line support to you, this may include the ability to offer WebEx interviews, develop online invigilated exams in place of physical papers, and certain digital content support. Please contact us to discuss how best we can support you.

As you will know, 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:

Business Development
Regulated Qualifications
Quality Assurance
EPA for Apprenticeships
Job Cards in construction (CPCS)
Access to HE Diplomas
Bespoke Accreditation
International

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 nocn@nocn.org.uk 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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Coronavirus Update for Customers 30th April

The current climate is unprecedented, and changes will continue to be fast-moving, CPCS will do our utmost to continue to support industry whilst complying with government guidelines.

Whilst the government continue to support construction projects CPCS will remain open and support industry during these times. NOCN/CPCS want to continue to support test centres and the industry during these difficult times.

Any centres that remain open must action the following guidance:

  • Centres must risk assess all activities and ensure that they can follow the government’s Guidance, on necessary travel and social distancing, this applies to any activity that is undertaken at any test centre (or off centre testing), if you cannot meet government guidelines you must not continue.
  • All machine controls and access points where people touch must be wiped down using an approved COVID-19 disinfectant, cleaning agent, wipes. Where dexterity is not affected gloves should also be worn. Please ensure that this activity is also risk assessed so that no persons are put at risk.
  • All practical tests must be video recorded and kept for the same period of times as is required for theory recordings.

The Quality Assurance team will continue to support centres and monitor notifications and activities, Quality Assurance staff will also contact centres to ask them to provide, Risk Assessments, Audio Recordings and Video Recordings.

We realise that some centres will find the measures difficult to follow. However, as the leading card scheme for construction plant industry we have liaised with industry and asked them what they would like from the services the CPCS offer. Having taken their advice, we will continue to support all stakeholders as far is as reasonably practicable, providing government guidance can be met.

Any test centres who require further clarification on video requirements or any other support during COVID-19 please use the following contacts

For sectors 1 to 6 + 12 & 13
Due to COVID-19 we are currently operating limited resources, if you need to speak with a member of the quality assurance team please contact: Andy Rankin on 07920 806565 or Andrew.Rankin@nocn.org.uk

For sectors 7 – 11
Due to COVID-19 we are currently operating limited resources, if you need to speak with a member of the quality assurance team please contact: Billy White on 07494 680743 or billy.white@nocn.org.uk

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/social-distancing-in-the-workplace-during-coronavirus-covid-19-sector-guidance


Theory Test Validation Period

The current rule is that a theory test lasts up to 6 months, we understand that this will affect candidates and potentially disadvantage them, therefore we will relax this rule, please contact the sector EQA team for guidance. We will keep the Test Centre management System Open. Please continue to notify in the normal way, any deviations from existing rules must be approved by the sector Quality Assurance team.


Test Centre Management System “notifications without valid HS&E tests”
During this period we will allow tests to be notified in the system for individuals who have an out of date HS&E test (2 years), you will be able to issue them a 90 day letter of achievement however CPCS will not issue a card until the HS&E test is complete. Please see the Emergency card above for an alternative.
For individuals who have never held a HS&E test, notifications will be held on the system but cannot progress and these individuals will not be allowed an Achievement Letter or an Emergency Card. We will review how quickly CITB and Pearson Vue can react after these events and what we can do to better support the sector.


Refunds
CPCS will not be issuing refunds for cancelled tests, however, we have previously communicated that the tests can be rescheduled free of charge, we urge all centres to apply this policy to their candidates. We would urge Centres to not retain any fees they have taken from candidates who cancel their tests, but instead reschedule to a later time, we can be flexible on this. Please see the cancelled/missed test paragraph on the last update.


Card Printing
CPCS will continue to work with our printers to get as many cards out as we can, our printers have assured us that for now they have sufficient measures in place and will continue to print cards, however, as you will appreciate there may be delays in this process at some point which may slow down card production and delivery. If card verification is needed, then please ask people to use card checker which is updated within an hour of card processing and so will continue even if card production slows. For further information about CPCS please see https://www.nocnjobcards.org / Or contact NOCN’s CPCS team on 0300 999 1177 (Option 2), or email: enquiries@jobcards.org

 

Pearson VUE Test Centres
Pearson VUE test centres are currently closed due to COVID-19.
If you have been rescheduled a test or cannot make a test for any reason you have the following options.

  1. Reschedule the test(s) for a new date/location
  2. Cancel the test and receive a full refund in 10 days. (on the card you paid with)
  3. If the test was booked via the voucher system, then as soon as the booking is cancelled the voucher will become live again and can be used at a later date.

Please also note that the Pearson VUE 72-hour cancellation policy has been removed and tests can be cancelled at any time prior to the test taking place.

Unfortunately, NOCN/CPCS cannot cancel any Pearson Vue test for individuals, this has to be done by the person who made the initial booking Please call Pearson VUE 0344 499 1900.

If employers want to ensure individuals have current HS&E knowledge, they can use the following

We will also be looking to see what we can do to provide an HS&E test if there are ongoing issues with Pearson VUE.

 

Named Contacts
Named contacts continue to work from home and support our network of CPCS Test Centres:

COVID-19 Emergency Cards
Some of the UK contactors have asked CPCS to produce am Emergency Card for those who can’t undertake HS&E test due to testing centres being closed. Therefore, we have launched an Emergency COVID-19 CPCS Card for individuals who want it, but this is entirely optional.
Please see this link for more information: https://www.nocnjobcards.org/CPCS/cpcs-mergencycovid-19-card/

 

Progress on Card Production
The CPCS team have been working very hard to resolve any issues that we have had with systems and card production. The backlog is significantly reduced there are very minimal numbers that remain to be printed these are mainly where Data does not match, and HS&E can’t be found.

We are confident that you will see vast improvements in the service we are able to offer our customers moving forwards.