Flying start for new information-technology qualification

Industrial and Commercial Training

ISSN: 0019-7858

Article publication date: 1 December 2004



(2004), "Flying start for new information-technology qualification", Industrial and Commercial Training, Vol. 36 No. 7.



Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Copyright © 2004, Emerald Group Publishing Limited

Flying start for new information-technology qualification

Flying start for new information-technology qualification

E-skills UK, the sector-skills council for information technology, telecommunications and contact centres, in partnership with the Learning and Skills Council (LSC), has rolled out a new information-technology qualification (ITQ) with support from industry.

ITQ is a module-based qualification established to recognize and address the variation in IT skills needed by employees across a wide range of industries. It is the first of a new breed of national vocational qualifications (NVQs) designed in partnership with employers in response to the increasing demand in the workplace for computer skills. Research conducted by e-skills UK shows that more than 90 per cent of new jobs in the UK require the use of information and communication technology, yet more than half of UK employers feel that their staff do not have sufficiently developed IT user skills.

A key feature of ITQ is the flexibility to customise training to meet employers’ needs and to adapt the qualification to the individual’s skill levels. Participants can tailor each of the programme’s modules according to their existing skill level, to fill skill gaps and to meet an employer’s need for particular expertise.

The extensive customisation for sectors, integration of bespoke software modules and ability to link ITQ with other qualifications such as the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL), CLAIT and e-quals, have attracted support from awarding bodies, training providers and a wide range of public and private-sector employers.

To date, 3,500 ITQ learners from more than 300 employers have been registered as part of the trials across various UK industry sectors. One third of these learners have used e-skills Passport – a Web-based service that enables candidates to self-assess their IT user skills and competencies – to evaluate their skill level and identify areas that need training.

“ITQ has been tailor-made by employers for employers and recognizes that IT is the new literacy requirement for the twenty-first century,” said Karen Price, e-skills UK chief executive. “Employers who worked with us to develop ITQ are extremely enthusiastic about the way it will be able to tackle occupationally specific skills through appropriate training and qualifications. It is good to see so many early participants using e-skills Passport accurately to assess their skills and training needs.”

“Almost all businesses are using information and communication technologies on a daily basis,” said David Way, national director of skills at the Learning and Skills Council. “Most members of the workforce in the UK need to improve their competence and skills in the use of IT, and ITQ is a unique way of tackling this issue. Not only does it allow candidates to focus on specific topics and improve their individual skills sets, but it will also help businesses to target areas of need and base their IT qualification around what is important to them.”

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