EMEA10: Commercial certification in Further and Higher Education (developing your workforce)


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Over the last ten years, across the UK, innovative Schools, Colleges and Universities have worked with CompTIA amongst other vendors to offer commercially recognised certification and industry desired skills as part of their national qualifications and degrees.

The seminar is an exploration of the depth of what our national educators are able to offer and how employers can utilise this resource for the development of their workforce. With the demand for information technology skills forever present, this seminar is an exploration of how employers small and large can utilise a range of education programmes to upskill their workforce.

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EMEA10: Commercial certification in Further and Higher Education (developing your workforce)

  1. 1. Commercial certification in Further and Higher Education (developing your workforce) Andrew Smith The Open University
  2. 2. Commercial Certification in Further & Higher Education (Developing Your Workforce) Andrew Smith a.smith@open.ac.uk
  3. 3. Why me … • Worked over ten years with vendors in placing commercial certifications in further and higher education • Current work as part of a team on vendor courses at the Open University – Chair post-graduate Cisco Courses (CCNP) • Senior Standards Verifier for the Edexcel BTEC – Currently placing 48+ vendor certifications in BTEC Nationals and HND suite of qualifications • Sit on eskills UK ICT Skills Action Group • Member of eskills UK vendor group
  4. 4. The story so far … • The advent of academy programmes and ‘academic initiatives – Cisco Academy Programme – Microsoft IT academy – CompTIA E2C – Oracle Academy – VMware – And others • Overcoming the tradition of ‘academic imperative’ • Ensuring vocational and technical relevance for students • Putting industry recognised certification into nationally recognised qualifications • Giving students what many employers want
  5. 5. What is happening in further education (1) • QCF (Qualifications and Credit Framework) – Starts September 2010 (this month) • Exchangeable credit, – from Level 1 (GCSE D and below), to Level 5 (Degree Year two) • The Work Based Study Solution • Professional Competence, available from City and Guilds, Edexcel, OCR – Can include up to 66% vendor based certifications for apprentices – Can be used in ‘traditional education’ from 14+ (25% vendor) – Level 3 Equates to 100 UCAS points (Like an A level grade B) – Covers all the levels (1-5)
  6. 6. What is happening in further education (2) • The Centre Based Study Solution, BTEC – Equips Schools and Colleges – Reflects National Standards – BTEC, IT, can equate to 120,240 or 360 UCAS points at level 3 – BTEC, IT, can equate to 4 GCSEs at level 2 – Up to 33% vendor (this qualification is 3x larger) than Procom – Many non-vendor units designed to accommodate vendor study – Mix and match paradigm – Few (no) restrictions – Allows for • Web Dev, Gaming, mobile app development, • Networking, Systems support etc
  7. 7. What is happening in higher education • All universities have their own ‘validation powers’ – They can opt-in or not, for any vendor solution – Some will encapsulate and present degree credit against the vendor study – Others, have a different view – Many do not • But, there is an acknowledgement that for many ICT/Computer Science Degrees there is now less recognition than the vendor certifications in the employment space. – Many students vote with their feet – Yet many do not know, as yet the value of these certifications
  8. 8. What is happening in distance higher education • Already available – Since 2005, Cisco CCNA, with 3000+ students and rising – Since 2009, Cisco CCNP as a full postgraduate MSc, over 300 and rising – Since 2010, Linux+ (CompTIA and LPI), over 500 and rising • To come – Microsoft Server Technology (400 expected next month) • In the pipeline – VMware virtualisation technologies – Security+, CISSP, CCNA-Security postgraduate bundle • Why – Suits employers and employees work commitments – Maintains technical relevancy and workforce skills – Offers a range of higher education options
  9. 9. The move towards apprenticeships • Traditional education is good • So is work based experience and training • Each supports different workforce expectations • The cost-benefit of an apprentice is now considered to be a higher value proposition than a graduate recruit. – Creation of a continual Train>Work cycle from the outset – Using an individual skilled in terms of high value for your workforce • Normally someone you take from college/university still has to be trained and coached TRAIN WORK
  10. 10. Commercial certifications in play • Currently Available (far too many to list in detail [and remember]) – Cisco CCNA, CCNP, CCNA-Security, IT essentials – Microsoft MOS, MCTS, MCITP – CompTIA A+, N+, Security+, Server+, Strata, Linux+ – Oracle OCA, OCP – VMware VCP – LPI (Linux Professional Institute) 101, 102, 201, 202 • Coming – ComputerPrep CIW – Apple? – Former Sun certifications • The options are open
  11. 11. What does education need? • The encouragement to embrace these – There are many that do – There are also many that should • To hear from local, national and international employers that this is part of the skills they want from students • Students (and parents) to understand the value for career and employment prospects • They are facing funding challenges, as we all have to accept financial realities, but support of employers goes a long way towards mitigating this
  12. 12. What employers gain? • The assurance that many students with nationally recognised qualifications already have the skills, experience comes with time • The opportunity to use college level applicants in their work force • The opportunity to maintain the workforce via blended distance learning • Alternate routes to education and workforce professional development
  13. 13. Questions A university professor set an examination question in which he asked what is the difference between ignorance and apathy. The professor had to give an A+ to a student who answered: I don't know and I don't care Thank You