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IT qualifications for all?


Moves are afoot for the Learning and Skills Council to try to make IT qualifications a closer match with the needs of IT employers.
Malcolm Wicks
The joint initiative by the LSC, NTOs and the Adult Learning Inspectorate unveiled by Lifelong Learning Minister Malcolm Wicks will assess the skills of IT workers who have recently undertaken national qualifications and courses offered by 'vendors' to establish how closely the skills they have match those needed by their employers. The project is being led by four local Learning and Skills Councils – West London, South London, South Yorkshire, and Birmingham and Solihull. The E-Skills National Training Organisation is also playing a leading role.

The aim is to develop qualifications targets for those people currently using IT regularly in their work - estimated to be around 20 million people in the UK. At present only around 1 per cent of the UK workforce has a full IT qualification. The project will also consider whether IT qualifications could be split into modules, to rationalise assessment and other costs.

Welcoming the Learning and Skills Councils E-Skills plans, Mr Wicks said: "E-skills are essential to the future of our economy. If we are to create the world leading knowledge economy that the Prime Minister wants, then we need to make sure that there are far higher levels of IT training and qualifications over the years ahead...It is unacceptable that our workforce has much lower levels of IT skills than comparable countries. Far too many people just try to 'get by' in computers without having any real skills. This skills gap could risk the expansion of UK businesses and it is time this was taken seriously."


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