The Norfolk Proficiency Tests Committee, an assessment centre for land-based City & Guilds qualifications in Norfolk and surrounding areas, has enhanced its service offering and opened up new opportunities for business growth with the launch of its first-ever website.

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The Norfolk Proficiency Tests Committee (NPTC) has launched its first-ever website to provide a one-stop resource for clients, partners and prospective customers who require information about its assessment services for land-based City & Guilds qualifications. Following a creative pitch involving four agencies, the NPTC selected Norwich-based 101 Websites, Apps & Email Marketing to design and build the new website.

The NPTC is an independent, not-for-profit organisation founded in 1994 to help individuals and businesses within the land-based sector. They provide National Proficiency Tests Council - City & Guilds assessments throughout Norfolk and surrounding areas. The NPTC provides assessment services to businesses, individuals and candidates from several established training providers including Easton College, Suffolk Rural College, Tree Logic and Chainsaw Training UK. They also offer an advisory service for those who require training or assessment in land-based qualifications in the region.

Jessica Skidmore from the Norfolk Proficiency Tests Committee explains:

“Many types of organisations come to us when they need Certificates of Competence for employees. There’s often a legal requirement for workers to have land-based qualifications proving competency to carry out particular tasks. Insurers often insist upon employees having the relevant Certificates and membership of Farm Assurance Schemes requires evidence of competency. We offer assessment in over 80 land-based qualifications in forestry and arboriculture, pesticides, land-based and plant machinery, and livestock!”

Jessica explains that the launch of the NPTC’s first-ever website is a major milestone for their organisation:

“We’ve operated a very successful business for nearly thirty years, supporting thousands of individuals to get certified, but we realised that the time had come to massively boost our online presence. The launch of our first-ever site is a big milestone for us and we’re really pleased to have made this investment in our future, with 101’s help.

“With the new website, it’s now much easier for clients to access assessment information quickly and easily, without having to call us. Previously, they had to phone us during office hours to enquire about assessments. Coming from a farming background myself, I know how difficult it can be for our clients – many of whom work long hours, mostly outdoors – to find the time or space to get in touch during normal working hours. Now they can get the information they need whenever and wherever they want, via computer, tablet or smartphone!”

The Brief

The NPTC approached 101 to develop a website that would provide quick and convenient access to information about their assessment services at a time to suit clients. It was important to give clients a means to research the necessary information outside office hours and remove the need for them to contact NPTC until they were ready to book an assessment.

The NPTC also wanted to promote itself more effectively online and boost its profile beyond the close relationships that it enjoys with current training providers. Until the website launch, the only way to find out about the NPTC was via their listing on the City & Guilds website or via word of mouth.

As Jessica explains, the website brief evolved following early discussions between 101 and NPTC:

“During our initial conversations about the brief, 101 gave us plenty of practical advice that went beyond simply designing our website. They advised us to make the site a useful, one-stop source of information about the qualifications for which we provide assessments. That way, clients have easy access to the information they need, all in one place and don’t need to navigate away from our site to search for this elsewhere. Not only is this helpful for clients, but it also makes good business sense to encourage them to stay on our website.

“In addition, 101 advised us that by including links to respected training partners and asking them to include reciprocal links on their sites, we will not only drive more traffic to our respective websites but could also boost our website’s domain authority and improve its ranking by search engines.”

Following discussions with 101, the NPTC extended their brief to include the requirement for the website to provide supplementary information such as downloadable qualification handbooks, FAQs and assessment overview sections including pricing and links to training providers, to give clients access to all the information they need in one place.

The Solution

101’s team of designers and developers have created an attractive, easy-to-navigate website that serves as a one-stop resource for clients and prospective clients who require information about the NTPC’s assessments and associated services. Web visitors now have immediate access to detailed information that would have been difficult to obtain via the previous phone-based enquiry system and less convenient to receive by email or the postal system.

Jessica outlines how the new website will benefit the NPTC’s clients:

“After listening carefully to our needs, 101 designed the website homepage to provide well-organised, clearly signposted links to key information elsewhere on the site so it’s really easy for visitors to reach the content they need. The website is organised by qualification and contains all the information we’re normally asked about when people phone us – and much more! Clients now have immediate access to this information and because it’s available as an online resource, they can revisit the page whenever they like and share it with colleagues as required.”

A powerful feature of the site is the ability to download the qualifications handbook for each City and Guilds Certificate of Competence offered by the NPTC. Other features include assessment prices, links to training providers and FAQs. Thanks to the new website, the NPTC team expects to receive fewer general enquiries over the phone because clients can find all the information they need on the site. With less time taken up by phone calls, the team intends to allocate more time to enhancing their service provision, as well as to raising the profile of NPTC to reach a wider audience so they are able to support more individuals and organisations.

Jessica continues:

“101 gave us helpful advice and ideas about other digital marketing opportunities such as SEO, social media and advertising. Now that we have a professional and informative online presence for existing and prospective clients, we intend to get more active with our promotional activity, including establishing ourselves on social media platforms like LinkedIn and advertising with relevant publications such as Farmers Guide.”

Client Testimonial

“We invited 101 to pitch for our website business following a personal recommendation from a friend who has been a 101 client for many years. However, it was important to us that our agency selection was the result of a competitive pitch, so we also invited three other local agencies to respond to our brief. 101 stood out as the most proactive web agency during the pitch process. Their MD, Holly Stibbon, took the time to call me for a discussion about our objectives for the website. 101 put together a detailed proposal which included clear costings and a mock-up of their design ideas for our website.

“We were impressed by 101’s approach, especially as they were the only agency that took the time to ask us about our business and our goals, as well as putting together an initial design at the proposal stage. While the other three agencies quoted a lower price for developing our website, we selected 101 based on the quality of their proposal, their proactive approach during the pitch – including their desire to really understand our business and our goals for the website – and their relevant experience in related industries. 101 has a proven reputation with clients in the horticultural and agricultural sector, so we knew their advice would be based on solid industry experience and knowledge.

“101’s website consultancy and general marketing advice have been invaluable. They made really good recommendations including advising us on ways to promote visitor engagement. 101 provided excellent practical guidance on copyright issues and data protection and put our minds at rest about how to be compliant. They have in-house data protection specialists who explained about data policies and privacy notices.

“I particularly like the way 101 has designed our home page. It conveys our professionalism in an attractive and engaging manner, with clear signposts to key information on the website. The Training Providers page is another way in which we can support our web visitors with easy access to relevant information. At the same time, we’re supporting partners and inviting reciprocal links from them that will also boost traffic back to our site.

“I’ve been really pleased with 101’s website design and development service. I’m excited to see the full impact of the new website following its launch. I’m certain it will boost business by bringing in new clients who discover us online, as well as enhancing our reputation amongst existing clients whose lives will be made easier thanks to quick access to the detailed content they require at a time that’s convenient to them.

“101 is very responsive to our needs. During the design and build process, they took a highly collaborative approach, coming up with several great ideas to enhance the usefulness of the site. I didn’t have any previous website experience and 101 was very supportive when it came to training me on the content management system, which turned out to be straightforward to use. I’m looking forward to continuing to work with 101 as the website evolves, and it’s good to know that their team is only a phone call away whenever I need support or advice on anything relating to the website or digital marketing in general.”

Jessica Skidmore, Norfolk Proficiency Tests Committee

Visit Norfolk Proficiency Tests Committee to explore their new website and discover the services they provide to individuals and businesses within the land-based sector throughout Norfolk and surrounding areas.

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