The Skills Funding Agency needed to guarantee delivery of a high profile project to develop the online service in challenging timescales. Intended as a single integrated service with three delivery channels (web, telephone and face-to-face), one of its objectives is to build lifelong relationships with its customers, to encourage them to use the service throughout their lives and not just in times of crisis. This requires that every adult can open a Lifelong Learning Account, which gives them clear information and advice on skills, careers and financial support in a single, personalised online space. The website also contains self-service sections which can be used independently of careers advisers to access careers information and plan and implement career development activities.
Trustmarque supported by Yard Partners, a digital communications specialist, worked alongside Microsoft Services and Capgemini to develop the new NCS website to the highest standard. The new site included an improved user interface and enhanced customer journeys to provide a seamless user experience. New and improved tools such as CV Builder and the Skills Health Check were delivered and Rich Media used to make the site more engaging and interactive. The site was made mobile compatible to provide a mobile friendly platform with continually updated content for accessing learning and work related information on the move, helping service users to develop a CV, search for work, prepare for an interview and more.
The website provides Interactive career tools including a CV builder, a skills assessment package and an action planning tool. People aged 18 or over can register on the website to create a Lifelong Learning Account, a personal online space that can store the output of the interactive tools, details of current qualifications, course search results, and funding information. There are also careers advice pages with information and advice on a range of subjects related to learning and careers. The website also provides the facility to email an adviser or talk to an adviser by webchat and has online community areas including forums.
Within the constraints of an extremely tight deadline, Trustmarque delivered the project early to ensure the service was ready and well tested ahead of the official launch of the NCS service. Capable of serving the needs of approximately 20 million UK citizens looking to improve their career prospects, the site is seen as a key NCS resource for 3,000 careers advisers who provide advice face-to-face, or by phone, web chat or forums. In its first year, NCS advisers have provided expert guidance to over 800,000 people supported by online services including 705,451 Lifelong Learning Accounts. In addition, the website had over 7 million visits to use an array of tools and resources, including over 750 job profiles, job market information on over 130 sectors and details of over 150,000 courses provided by government-approved organisations.