EDUCATIONAL awarding body NCFE is creating 65 jobs in the North East as young people look to get work rather than study for university.
The Newcastle-based business is increasing its headcount from 115 to 180 and is looking ahead to another year of growth in 2013.
Chief executive David Grailey said: “We’re growing. The jobs are across the organisation in different teams from serving customers to the significant growth in our IT team.
“The jobless rate in the North East is higher than the national average, so we’re delighted to be able to serve our local community by providing rewarding opportunities for employment at this time.
“We’re continuing to improve our internal systems and our product portfolio to ensure that, during what has been a tough time for the education sector across the UK, we remain successful and that’s why we need to invest in passionate, talented individuals to help us move the organisation forward.”
A combination of rising university fees, a greater emphasis on apprenticeships and alternative ways of obtaining qualifications has boosted NCFE’s workload.
Its core business is providing vocational learning and training opportunities, with the emphasis on employability and tackling unemployment.
It worked with 340,000 learners from over 2,000 colleges during 2012. Grailey said: “We have a reputation nationally for our customer service and our product mix. It really matches what the further education (FE) sector needs: employability qualifications and qualifications for the health and social sector.
“Our portfolio goes up to level three. We tend to help people at the beginning of their educational journey, the equivalent of an A-level.”
NCFE has won customers from rival qualification providers and is seeking to further expand through innovation. It is currently working with recruitment giant Reed on a scheme for college leavers, which works on their mindset as well as their skills. A team will help the young people prepare for interviews and match them with suitable job vacancies.
“They have a 300% greater chance of getting a job if they do this,” said Grailey.
NCFE has also launched new qualifications this year, including mobile app design and computer games development to keep pace with demand from these growth sectors.
“Our people, who we value very highly, have helped to make NCFE one of the top national qualifications providers in the UK by demonstrating commitment, innovation, and sheer hard work every day,” said Grailey who described 2013 as “another exciting year” when growth was expected to continue.