OCN NI November Newsletter

A note from the CEO

There have been many exciting developments over the past few months to tell you about, firstly OCN NI has now made it into the top 10 Awarding Organisations in Northern Ireland (source:Ofqual Vocational Qualifications Statistical bulletin, published 15 October 2015).  I would like to thank all our centres for helping to make this possible and positioning OCN NI as one of the leading Awarding Organisations in NI.

The Regulated Qualifications Framework (RQF) was unveiled by Ofqual at the beginning of October and is designed to be more descriptive and less prescriptive than its predecessor, the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF).  The new RQF replaces the QCF and is a single framework for describing all regulated qualifications in England and vocational qualifications in Northern Ireland.  In the short-term, you will not see any changes to our qualifications as not every qualification is required to change to adhere to the regulated framework. However, for new qualifications “QCF” will not be attached to qualification titles as a suffix.  For existing qualifications that have QCF in the title, all Awarding Organisations must remove “QCF” by December 2017. 

There will also be slight changes to the way in which Awarding Organisations describe the size of qualifications by using new terminology – Total Qualification Time (TQT).  TQT is, essentially, an indication of how long a typical learner might take to study a qualification, including the time spent on their individual study and on assessment. It also includes Guided Learning Hours (GLH), which is the time spent being taught. As some learners will study faster or slower than others the TQT is really a guide, rather than an absolute. However it is useful to have an estimate of teaching and assessment time, to help plan timetables.  For all existing qualifications a measure of size using TQT will be assigned to qualifications no later than 31 December 2017.  To read more about the changes to regulated qualifications please visit our website which includes further information and a link to a useful 6 minute video presentation.

Lastly, OCN NI would like to congratulate former Board member and Director of TIDES, Mary Montague for winning the 2015 International Bremen Peace Award under the category of public engagement.  The Schwelle Foundation recognised Mary for this award and stated that “Mary has dedicated her life to peace. For decades, she acted as a mediator in the Northern Ireland conflict and made a significant contribution to reconciling the communities. She also mediated in other areas of crisis throughout the world".  Once again many congratulations on behalf of the entire OCN NI team.

With best wishes, 
Martin Flynn
Chief Executive Officer

Learner Focus

Congratulations to Mr King from Currie Primary School on completing the OCN NI Level 3 Award in Leadership in Forest Schools.

The OCN NI Level 3 Award in 
Leadership in Forest Schools is an innovative educational approach to outdoor play and learning experiences in a woodland or natural environment with trees, where people can develop a range of skills such as self-confidence, communication and team working by participating in outdoor tasks and activities. 

From left to right: Mr King, (Currie Primary School), Mr Brian Poots (NIFSA - Northern Ireland Forest Schools Association).

Compliance and Audit

OCN NI’s Compliance and Audit team have recently reviewed arrangements around the Conditions of Regulation on mitigating risk of an Adverse Effect (A6.2). Subsequently, we are keen to remind centres that they should notify OCN NI if they suspect any issues relating to malpractice and maladministration. As part of our commitment to meet conditions A6.2 and A8.1 the compliance team have released a presentation video on reasonable adjustments. The new video addresses specific aspects of malpractice and maladministration and is intended to be informative and supportive. Appropriate centre Quality staff are encouraged to log in to the "Centre Login" area on our website and access these resources. If you have any queries please contact us at compliance@ocnni.org.uk


OCN NI is endeavouring to reduce the amount of paper we use in
our organisation, both internally and externally.

To help us achieve this we are hoping to move to e-invoicing for as
many of our customers as possible.

A large proportion of our customers have already agreed to e-invoicing.

If you haven't signed up to e-invoicing and would be willing to accept your invoices by email please contact me at wlynn@ocnni.org.uk or by telephone 028 9046 3990.

OCN NI Level 1 Award in Progression to Employment 

 This new qualification is aimed at those learners who are seeking first
 time employment, or who are currently unemployed and keen to
 improve skills to assist them to return to the work place, whilst also
 meeting the needs of employers.

 This award is a 3 credit qualification offering learners/ centres a wide range of units to choose from, allowing learning to be tailored to the individual’s needs.  

To find out about the units available in this qualification, please check it out on our website.

Latest Qualifications

We are delighted to announce the approval of 3 new qualifications in a range of curriculum areas, which will be of interest to Further Education Colleges, Voluntary and Community organisations and Vocational Training Providers.  

If you have any questions, or are interested in finding out more about any of our new qualifications please go www.ocnni.org.uk/qualifications or alternatively, please contact our Customer Support Team on (028) 90 463 990 or your designated Business Development Adviser. 

Qualification of the Month

The OCN NI Level 1 and Level 2 Award in Digital Fabrication has been designed to support the demands in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM). 

These qualifications have a particular emphasis for learners in the development and understanding of digital fabrication to include 3D printing.

The intention of the qualification is to target individuals who are wishing to pursue a career in design or engineering, in a range of subject areas, from creative arts to manufacturing. Learners would benefit from this qualification and gain skills in the application of digital fabrication. 

For more information on the Level 1 click here, and for Level 2 click here.

New Centres

OCN NI would like to welcome the following new centres:

Holy Trinity College Cookstown
Network Personnel
St Colm’s High School
Learning Works
Acceptable Enterprises

Employee Feature

Charlotte Fegan (OCN NI HR Manager) has now been with us for just over a year! We caught up with Charlotte to find out how this year has been for her...

"Time really has flown by since joining OCN NI a year ago!  Some of the best things I feel about working here is the friendly culture and team spirit shown by everyone.

 My highlight to date has to be achieving Investors in People accreditation. Not only is this an excellent recognition of the standard of people management  and values within the organisation, it also recognises the high performance  and commitment shown by every member of OCN NI and we are truly  delighted to have met this standard.

In the next year….I look forward to no longer being the new girl and to supporting the team as OCN NI continues to grow."