175 years of shaping smarter learning | NCFE

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175 years of shaping smarter learning

NCFE 175th anniversary logo

NCFE was born in 1848 from the belief that no learner should be left behind – and today, 175 years later, we’re proud to be continuing to take up this cause with new energy.  

If you’ve got a story to share about NCFE, we’d love to hear from you – join in on socials using the hashtag #NCFE175Years. 

Take a look at our 175th-anniversary event!

On 7 February 2024, The Glasshouse International Centre for Music in Gateshead played host to a momentous occasion – our 175th-anniversary celebration. The event brought together colleagues, guest speakers, partners, and friends for a day of reflection, celebration, and conversation about NCFE’s long history, enduring impact in the region and beyond, and vision for the future. 

Guest speakers included Chief Executive Officer of the North East Chamber of Commerce John McCabe, The Apprentice's Tim Campbell MBE, the CEO and Principal of London South East Colleges Dr. Sam Parrett CBE, and Multicultural Apprenticeships Ambassador Kasim Choudhry.

Perhaps the most impactful session of the day, however, was hearing from NCFE learners past and present. Six learners shared their stories, aspirations and talents, with one pupil – music technology student, 14-year-old Freddie Vokes – even playing the piano for guests in the foyer of The Glasshouse before the event got underway. 

Watch our 175th anniversary event' video now

NCFE colleagues in the foyer of our 175 event

NCFE learners seated on stage taking part in a panel discussion

NCFE celebratory cupcakes

Watch – 175 years of shaping smarter learning

As we mark this occasion, we’re recognising the contributions of our fantastic partners, collaborators, leaders, colleagues, educators and employers that have helped us get to where we are today, through shaping smarter learning and helping to impact the lives of millions of learners. 

Key statistics 

1 years

We were born 175 years ago, way back in 1848


We've invested £1m through our Assessment Innovation Fund

1 countries

Outside the UK, we operate in 20 countries worldwide

Read more about NCFE’s social impact

Hear from our partners and customers… 

“We have worked with CACHE and now NCFE since 2006, and it’s been an amazing relationship. It’s the only awarding organisation that I feel listens to us, supports us, and understands the sectors we work in.  Congratulations NCFE on your NCFE anniversary from all the team at Professional Training Solutions Ltd.”

– Jackie Denyer, Managing Director at Professional Training Solutions  

“Working with NCFE and Cache over a number of years has been beneficial to understand what is happening in the sector and how we can support and drive change. NCFE has provided us with a voice in government to ensure we are being heard.”

– Sandy Silvester, Customer Service Director at Busy Bees Education and Training 


“NCFE has such a rich and long history of delivering social impact via education and skills. 175 years is such an amazing achievement to be delivering literally life-changing services to learners and communities. They’ve been providing 'levelling up' via education and skills since 1848 – I can't quite get my head around that! Talk about being cutting edge.”

Gavin O'Meara, CEO and Founder, FE News  

Our constant – our learners 

Help us to celebrate those that have been our constant throughout our history – our fantastic learners. Read about their achievements here: 

Aspiration Awards 2022 - Against All Odds Commended: Freddie Vokes
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Learner stories: “Being an air traffic controller – that's my main goal”
Read more
Learner stories: "Thank you, NCFE, for igniting my love of coaching"
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Learner stories: "I'm doing something that I'm really passionate about"
Read more

In the last year:

1 providers

We've worked with over 4,500 providers

1 learners

We've certificated more than 375,000 learners

1 apprentices

We've supported 6,000 apprentices to complete EPA

Read more about NCFE’s social impact

175 years of research and insight

To mark our anniversary, we’ve created a new Sector Spotlight series of reports that explore the current and future skills challenges across different sectors.

Alongside skills gaps and demand data, the reports feature contributions from sector experts, as well as the voices of those working on the frontline of their respective fields.

Our reports – which focus on the landscapes of the further education (FE), social care, early years and digital sectors - can be downloaded now.

Read our reports

Sector Spotlight: Further Education front cover

Sector Spotlight: Social Care front cover

Sector Spotlight: Early Years front cover

Sector Spotlight: Digital front cover

The NCFE museum

175 Museum 1
175 Museum 2
175 Museum 3
175 Museum 4
175 Museum 5
175 Museum 8


Want to learn more about our 175-year history?

Read more

Our areas of expertise 

Since 1848, we’ve established ourselves as a leader in vocational and technical learning – one that serves to support learners from all backgrounds, of all ages, and who aspire to progress within a variety of different sectors. Find out more about our products, which have been shaped by almost two centuries of expertise:  

You can also read our latest news, research, opinion pieces and more by visiting our Media Centre. 

Finally... a big thank you! 

We’d like to say a huge thank you to every individual who has played a part in helping NCFE to shape smarter learning and impact the lives of learners here in the UK and across the world. 

Whether you’re a partner, collaborator, educator, provider, assessor or colleague – current or historic – we want to share our gratitude with you. 

NCFE colleagues talking at an all staff event

NCFE colleagues at an all staff event

NCFE colleagues at an all staff event