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NOCN Group (National Open College Network)

With a growing backlog of IT needs, NOCN Group needed a full-time team to help improve their operational efficiency using online solutions.

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NOCN Group is an educational charity whose core aims are to help learners reach their potential and organisations thrive. The group includes business units specialising in regulated UK and international qualifications, End Point Assessment, Access to Higher Education, assured short courses, SMART job cards, assessment services, consultancy, and research.

NOCN case study test Centre Search Tool


Traditionally NOCN Group had outsourced their IT needs on a project by project basis. However, with a growing backlog of requirements, they were looking for more reliable, regular support that would act more like an internal team than an external provider. As NOCN Group did not have an existing IT infrastructure they needed to work with an agency to provide the full support they required and, with IT agency costs in the UK too high for their budget, they looked at outsourcing their IT overseas. After completing two initial trial projects Secret Source was selected as their partner.

Working closely with the group head of IT, Secret Source built a team to work exclusively on the NOCN Group platforms. The team consists of an IT project lead / backend Laravel developer, a frontend REACT developer and junior Laravel developer supported by a part time scrum manager and an on-demand UX/UI designer. In 2021 this team added a second front end developer.

NOCN case study Request Emergency Cards


Since day one we have been able to offer value to the NOCN Group. From urgently needed new brochure sites to custom web applications that have significantly cut down manual processes, Secret Source have been able to work through their lengthy backlog and rapidly build new products as needed.

Examples of work we have built include:

  • A test centre search tool to allow users to quickly find their nearest testing centre
  • A brochure site for the Indian arm of the business
  • A card checker tool so users can check the status of job cards online
  • In response to the COVID-19 lockdown, in just 2 weeks we built an online application form for users to request emergency cards.
NOCN case study Request Emergency Cards


Gareth Cutts - Group head of IT

From the very beginning Secret Source have worked hard to understand our business and tailor their offering to meet NOCN Group’s specific requirements. The Secret Source approach has built a strong team ethic across the whole team (UK and Las Palmas) and through this we have delivered over 20 projects. Our Agile approach has allowed for flexibility and a rapid delivery of incremental change which has been invaluable in driving our business forwards and proving the benefits of this strategic investment.


Working with NOCN Group is a real pleasure, we get to work with a great team at NOCN Group and build new, interesting products every week. We are looking forward to a long and fruitful relationship. We are currently working on a single sign-on app that will link together the various online services that NOCN Group offer their customers into a centralised hub.