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Before a new programme is considered for commissioning the NCC programme development team research our customers to see what is wanted and what is required. By discussing development opportunities, this helps to ensure that what we do end up producing will have a value to future customers and will generate business revenue. This research includes the use of Social Media such as Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn and Google+ to gather information. Further, we work closely with Colleges of Further Education, a range of employers and Awarding Organisations who update us on their requirements and development opportunities.

Once a final decision on a new programme has been made, we research all available channels of information to ensure that the learning objectives for that programme are appropriate for the learner. This includes correspondence and interaction with government organisations as well as charities, sector skills councils and other not-for-profit organisations. Additionally, further discussion with Awarding Organisations is beneficial as they may also have similar pipeline developments, whether planned or in production. A check against the OFQUAL register will also confirm whether an Awarding Organisation already has a Qualifications Credit Framework (QCF) Award, Certificate or Diploma available. This can be extremely helpful as if there is a qualification available, this effectively provides the framework for NCC’s development.

Research cannot be overestimated as it is vitally important that we are producing is what our customers want in order to aid their personal development. Production of learning resources which are not suitable to our marketplace will take from our development budget and will tie up resources that could be better utilised in other areas.

Many of NCC’s research decisions are progressed to the development stage and then become live projects, the costs of which are then calculated and commissioned accordingly.