When we were first commissioned to undertake work for this organisation, they were named OCN Eastern Region and part of the network of OCN awarding organisations. They had, however, just been awarded a licence to independently develop and accredit their own qualifications. This opened up an opportunity for OCN Eastern Region to deliver qualifications better tailored to local need, and, where appropriate, offer qualifications nationally. The aim of the research was to review their qualifications and service offer and identify how it could be develop in the future.

We designed an approach involving a blend of desk and qualitative research. We began the project with a desk-based analysis of market intelligence held by OCN Eastern Region. Following this we facilitated a workshop with senior managers at OCN Eastern Region to take account of the internal perceptions of the organisation. The outputs from the workshop and the desk research fed into the main stage of qualitative research, including discussion groups with customers and non-customers in FE colleges and private training organisations.

We presented the analysis and findings at a staff workshop for all staff to help them develop a strategy that to move the organisation forward. We then undertook a further stage of qualitative research to support the development of their new identity as Gateway Qualifications.