History of NCFE

More than 150 years of Vocational Awarding!

NCFE can trace our record of working with colleges and other training providers back to our founding organisation, the Northern Union of Mechanics’ Institutes (NUMI), established in 1848.

NCFE’s earliest incarnation held lofty ambitions. Its first report declared its intention to "become a centre from whence the elements of knowledge and civilisation shall go on with an unceasing progress, conferring intellectual, scientific and moral blessings throughout the length and breadth of the Northern Counties."

From 1920, the Northern Counties Technical Examinations Council (NCTEC or ‘Northern Counties’ as it became affectionately known) supplanted NUMI and, supported by nine Northern Local Education Authorities, provided examinations for technical colleges, schools and other centres for over sixty years until 1981.

Northern Advisory Council for Further Education (NACFE)

In 1981, the Northern Advisory Council for Further Education (NACFE), which was established in 1947 to co-ordinate further education provision throughout the nine LEAs, merged with the NCTEC to become the Northern Council for Further Education.

When the further education sector was incorporated (made independent of the government) in the early 1990s the company felt the old name was incompatible with our new national focus and has since then been identified simply as NCFE with the letters no longer being an acronym.

NCFE today is a national awarding organisation, offering over 500 qualifications at different levels and in a wide range of subject areas. NCFE recognise the skills, knowledge and understanding achieved by a learner at a particular level and in a particular subject.