NOCN Group (including One Awards and Jobcards) is a national awarding body that supports the education and skills sector through their development, quality assurance and certification of qualifications, apprenticehip standards, bespoke accreditation/short courses and competency cards for employment.  Staff at NOCN Group work across the country and some from home following an office closure during COVID. 

NOCN Groups’ Learning at Work Week was designed to boost morale and support colleagues at a time of challenge caused by the pandemic. The team focused on ensuring all staff could take part and benefit from the learning on offer, so they would be inspired to learn further.   

 The team created a schedule of activities which included a mix of work-related learning and wellbeing support. All staff could access sessions on diversity and those linked to performance reviews. Topics included Building Confidence in Using Online Forums, The importance of Interpersonal Skills and The Concept of Innovation. The team also created ‘Smarter Working’ and ‘Apprenticeships standards awareness’ sessions.  They worked with partners to provide training in Financial Wellbeing and Working from Home. To strengthen leadership and management, a bespoke leadership programme was offered.   

So that staff felt comfortable in attending and taking time to learn during the week, the trustees and Group MD led the event from the top. The Senior Leadership Team actively participated which also promoted the importance of workplace learning. To create flexibility and ensure more people could attend, the team put on sessions at different times online.  

The team started their online communications campaign two months before the week including regular emails. This gave people plenty of time to book sessions before other work matters filled their diaries. The Group MD talked about the week in group briefings and managers discussed the sessions with team members to see how these would support personal development plans. The team used highlights from their previous Learning at Work Week of colleagues’ learning to further encourage participation. 

Staff valued the opportunity to learn and develop, and particularly welcomed the wellbeing support. The financial wellbeing sessions were very popular and colleagues feel more confident in dealing with financial aspects such as pensions and home budgeting. More staff are aware of apprenticeships and how they can support both individuals and the organisation. As a result four colleagues have signed up to a newly created internal apprenticeship programme for existing staff supported by the business. One Awards has benefited from colleagues developing a wide range of skills and understanding, from online and smarter working to diversity and equality. The home wellbeing sessions have proven to be very beneficial too. The week has contributed to the organisation’s culture of learning where staff feel valued and invested in.