N-C-R-WHO? The answers to life’s big questions for the inquisitive prospective student

As the nights draw in, and we begin to hibernate as soon as the working day is done, you may be looking for a new challenge to keep you occupied on the cold, wet evenings ahead, or even just an excuse to avoid those inevitable trips to see the in-laws over the festive period.

Someone may have sent you our website to have a look at, or your boss has suggested looking into different qualifications, but you are a little bit hesitant. You’ve had a look at our FAQ page already, but feel it doesn’t quite answer the questions you have – your life is different.

Fear not! We thought it might be helpful to ask those ‘in the know’ exactly what it is you are all dying to ask and provide a complete rundown of all the answers to these questions. According to our dedicated support team, the questions below are the most common questions they are asked – meaning we can guarantee at least one of them has cropped up in your head before now. So get ready because here come all the answers…

1) ‘I haven’t studied since school and that was years ago – I’ve not done a degree or anything like this before – will I be able to cope?’

You’re not alone!

Our learners come from a massive range of backgrounds, and that means lots of different educational experiences. We have individuals in their 60s, who left school without a single qualification. Others have four degrees, a PhD and thought the MENSA IQ test was too easy even for their dog. Some are comfortably in between, but the fact of the matter is you are all welcome. 

Our qualifications are designed to be appropriate for real life, which means it doesn’t matter what your CV says, your assessments will be marked as if you have approached a real scenario in a real workplace.

We must stress that this is not an easy qualification though. We aim to challenge, and you may find times where you struggle to wrap your brain around whatever it is you have just read in your workbook. But this is what our extremely knowledgeable tutors are for – they will help turn those murky moments of despair into clarity and inspiration. 

We try our best to provide you with the support you need throughout your qualification and as our students often feedback to us, we do try to keep things fresh and engaging – which is a big compliment for a health and safety course! 

In our Lisa’s Journey to Level 6 article, we talk to one of our students who felt this way just before enrolling – it is definitely worth reading this if you are looking for another student’s perspective.

2) ‘ I don’t know whether I should start with your Safety for Managers qualification, or just dive straight into your diploma. What do you think?’ 

Undertaking a qualification is a big, very personal commitment and you have to feel that it is right for you. 

To answer your question though, you don’t need to do Safety for Managers before the diploma, if you don’t want to. Safety for Managers is a lower level, shorter qualification designed for managers and supervisors in any industry, whereas our diploma is much more in-depth and technical. The diploma is aimed towards those who are already working in a health and safety capacity (or looking to increase their h&s responsibilities or move into safety management positions). It therefore completely depends on where you are at in your life, and where you want to be in the future. We don’t have any pre-requisites for either qualification, so, while earlier experience on other training courses may be useful, we will start you with the basics and build you up.

It’s worth bearing in mind too that our diploma can be studied in individual units, with the first two achievable as standalone certificates. This means that if you are worried about committing to a self-directed model of study, you can simply enrol onto our HSD1 Certificate in Applied Health and Safety, or Safety for Managers, and see what you think before really taking the plunge! 

There really is no wrong route to learning about health and safety though and by simply enrolling onto either qualification you will almost definitely gain confidence. 

3) ‘I work full-time, have a family, a dog and we are currently doing major renovations on the house. How will I balance all of these things and do your qualification?’ 

Other variations of this question include ‘I work offshore and am often shipped out at the last minute’ and ‘I am also doing my master’s degree part-time too’. All sounds very exhausting.

Time management is a fine and mysterious art, and it seems that despite being told there are 24 hours in a day, those 24 hours often trickle away faster than time itself. We get that life for many people can be really hectic, and that there is always going to be something going on, so for that reason we implemented qualification time limits which allow time for real life to happen too. 

For Safety for Managers we allow up to 6 months to complete the course. The diploma has up to 3 years, and individual units for the diploma are given up to 18 months each. 

It isn’t for us to say whether or not this is enough time for you, and if you really do have lots going on, please do carefully consider if you can take on all or any of these commitments. If you are ready to get cracking though, it is useful to know that your assessments are requested by you. This means that unlike taught courses with exams, you choose when you are ready to tackle an assessment. You can read, and re-read and re-re-read the same sentence over and over again to your heart’s content, or chat to our tutors as much as you like before taking the plunge. You dictate how you progress.

If you do find that circumstances outside of your control are having an effect on your assessment performance, we do have a Reasonable Adjustments and Special Considerations policy in place. This ensures that students who have a temporary illness, injury or indisposition at the time of the assessment are treated fairly.

4) ‘Can I complete the qualifications faster than the advertised study times? I am hoping to go for a promotion next year, and would love to have a certificate under my belt’.

Of course! As we mentioned before, you can study at your own pace. If you want to take the full three years, you go ahead. If you want to speed through everything, be our guest. You won’t be marked on the speed of your assessment hand-ins, only the quality.

Ah-hah! I hear you cry, But what is the FASTEST you have ever seen anyone complete this course?

This is definitely one of the top questions we get asked and in all honesty, it really does vary from person to person. Generally, most people will take about 9 months to a year to complete the diploma, 3-4 months for a unit, and two days for NCRQ Safety for Managers. The fastest is probably about six months for the diploma – but don’t focus on how fast you can get through this course – it isn’t a helpful standard. We want you to learn and really understand the course content so that you can make your workplaces – and lives – the safest they can possibly be. Remember Aesop’s fable? Be the tortoise, not the hare!

5) ‘How recognised is NCRQ in the workplace?’

In short, very!

We don’t like to brag, but we are the biggest provider of health and safety diplomas in the UK – which means you are more and more likely to meet with fellow professionals who have done one of our qualifications. You will probably recognise them from the spring in their step, and the gleam in their eye. Or from one of our exclusive lanyards.

Many job adverts specifically ask for an NCRQ qualification, as our learning method is preferred by those employers. But you may have also noticed that some state “NEBOSH or equivalent”, which encompasses loads of different types of health and safety qualifications – NVQs, MScs, diplomas, degrees etc.

Some employers state this when they mean ‘any health and safety qualification’ because, rather like ‘Hoover’, a brand that has become synonymous with ‘vacuum cleaner’ (despite the fact you are more likely to own a Dyson) so too has ‘NEBOSH’ become a replacement for health and safety qualifications because of they were formerly the only option available.

We are working to educate employers and recruiters about the diversity now in the marketplace, and out of 180 job advertisers we contacted in 2020, every single employer recognised NCRQ qualifications, and most of them would give preference to an NCRQ candidate over a NEBOSH candidate as it gave real life knowledge.* It is down to the learning style you find most effective.

We must add though that all our qualifications are nationally recognised, but not necessarily internationally recognised. You are welcome to apply from abroad (whether you are an ex-pat, work a few months a year in some far-flung land, or have never even visited good old Blighty) but you will need to check that our syllabus meets all the requirements for practice in the country you are in, as it is specifically based on UK legislation – and for that reason you will also need to meet our English language requirements.

As a rapidly growing provider, NCRQ qualifications are only going to get more and more recognised. This is great news for those who already have our qualifications as they will find themselves having the edge over their competition at job interviews, promotions and generally when practising in the workplace. All the more reason to start studying with us!

6) ‘When can I start?’

Now? No really, you can start any time you like. 

Once enrolled you will be given access to our online platform within one working day, and your workbook(s) will also be posted first class. There’s nothing like arriving home to be greeted by a brand new workbook, a symbol of your aspirations and tool for creating a safer future. For Safety for Managers, access is instantaneous – so you can even start your health and safety journey at 3am if the mood strikes you.

What are you waiting for?…….

This article was written by one of our friendly support team. If you have any further questions or feel there is anything you would like to see written on our articles page, please get in touch and let us know!

* “If faced with two absolutely identical candidates, one with NEBOSH National General Certificate and one with NCRQ Certificate in Applied Health and Safety, which one would you recruit?”. 153/172 stated NCRQ. 07/11/19.

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