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The benefits of achieving Taught Degree Awarding Powers

Having gained Taught Degree Awarding Powers (TDAP) in June 2016, NCG became the first FE institution in the UK ever to be able to develop and award its own honours and masters degrees.

Here we speak to Ann Baxter, Director of HE at NCG, as she explains the benefits of gaining Taught Degree Awarding Powers.

“TDAP represents a great opportunity for students to benefit from a wider range of degree level provision and puts NCG on an equal footing to universities in the degree awarding market.

“It helps us to build on our strengths as a vocational HE provider, developing degrees which are more responsive and meet the skills needs of employers. It also supports the Government’s increased focus on higher level apprenticeships and offers more opportunities for students from all backgrounds to progress into higher education.”

The ground-breaking development followed on from an intensive scrutiny process by the Quality Assurance Agency for Higher Education, who recognised that HE provision at Newcastle College, West Lancashire College and Kidderminster College provides a high quality offer to students equivalent to that of a university and that NCG is a mature organisation capable of setting and regulating its own quality standards.

Ann continued:

“At an organisational level it also enables greater autonomy and self-governance, gives recognition of the maturity and ability of the organisation and provides increased flexibility to manage opportunities for employer engagement and work based learning.

“It also provides us with HE module certificates, power to validate others, influence at a national level and full control of higher/degree apprenticeship development.

“Our colleges already work closely with employers to develop provision that addresses local and national skills gaps. Degree awarding powers enables us to be more responsive to the demand for higher level skills as well as supporting the local economy and more people into jobs.”

Since being awarded Taught Degree Awarding Powers, NCG has already developed and validated its first BA Hons degree. This is the first full degree award to be validated by a college group in the UK.

The new BA (Hons) online degree in Leadership and Business Management saw its first cohort of online learning students in January 2017.

NCG already offer more than 85 Foundation Degrees and Honours Degrees in a wide range of subjects. It was also one of the first to be awarded Foundation Degree Awarding Powers in 2011 and has a well-established, successful track record of providing learners with a fantastic learning experience. Since 2014 over 1,000 graduates each year have had their degrees accredited solely by NCG and not a partner university.

NCG will enrol students on to a number of new programmes which have recently been validated as part of our Taught Degree Awarding Power. These include: BA(Hons) Dance; Masters in Business Administration; BA(Hons) Fine Art; and a Post Graduate Certificate in Education.

NCG was also recently awarded a Teaching and Excellence Silver award for the quality of its Higher Education teaching. The Teaching Excellence Framework (TEF) was introduced by the Government to build evidence about the performance of the UK’s world-class higher education sector.

NCG was awarded the silver award due to its excellent outcomes for students and outstanding progression to highly skilled employment or further study.

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Employee Engagement – Creating brand advocates

The good relationship between an organisation and its employees can be the key to a successful business.

At NCG, we strive for engaged employees who are passionate about their jobs and passionate about the company. We speak to our Director of Learning and Organisational Development, Elouise Leonard-Cross, to hear about how NCG are engaging colleagues, and the affect this has had on the business.

Why is Employee Engagement important?

“Within any organisation if you don’t have colleagues that are engaged it impacts on outcomes for customers and business performance. Engaged colleagues are more creative, more able to deal with challenges and tend to enjoy their time at work more – easy to see how all of these things make a big difference to customers!”

How are NCG engaging their employees?

“It’s a gradual process. As an organisation you can’t ‘click a switch’ and expect people to be engaged. It happens over a period of time but is fundamentally built on trust and respect. One approach to help us understand how engaged our colleagues are, and learn about how things can improve, is the Great Place to Work survey. As the survey is externally managed and anonymous it provides honest feedback that can be used to consider how we continually improve as an organisation.

“In 2017 we have introduced a new workshop for all our managers that have people management responsibility called The Art of Being Brilliant. This interactive workshop is built around how valuable great managers are to a successful organisation and offers tools that can be used positively with teams and individuals to support creativity and high performance.

“Recognising what we do well as a business and sharing this widely is also important. For that reason we have launched the NCG Excellence Awards in 2017, which builds upon the previous success of the Teaching & Learning Awards and extends the opportunity to colleagues in all types of roles. We had an overwhelming response this year with 567 nominations, and will celebrate with finalists at the awards dinner on the 27th June.”

How important is it for an organisation to have values?

“The most important thing for an organisation to have is a shared basis they build from. Organisational values are a great approach but only if they are shared, understood and underpin all activities, decisions and the way we work day to day.”

What advice would you give to a business wanting to engage their employees?

“It takes time! Starting small, being consistent with your values and listening to colleagues is important. I also believe that taking the opportunity to have some fun is critical too – we do so many positive things for our learners and it is important this happens for our colleagues too.”


About Elouise Leonard-Cross

Elouise Leonard-Cross is the Director of Learning and Organisational Development at NCG. She is an Occupational Psychologist who has worked in various fields over the last 15 years including HR, Recruitment, Teaching, Learning & Development & OD.

I love working in Learning & OD at NCG as I truly believe some of the things we can put in place can really make a positive difference for our colleagues. My most recent role was with Home Group, a housing charity, where I worked on a project for the last 5 years to build engagement.” ~ Elousie

Follow Elouise on Twitter.

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