The National Outsourcing Association (NOA) has launched an outsourcing course that will be the equivalent of a GCSE grade A* to C.
According to the association, the NOA Award in Outsourcing Excellence "provides the first broad-based standard for the UK’s 3.1 million employees in organisations which deliver outsourced services to the public and private sectors."
The core areas of the course are: commercial awareness in an outsourced role; delivering service excellence in an outsourced role; and contributing successfully to outsourcing relationships, with a firm understanding of the client brand and adherence to ethics.
On-the-job training will form 75% of the course.
UK outsourcing company Capita has become the qualification's first learning centre. The company did a three-month pilot with 60 employees and is working with the NOA to ensure the course is relevant to the industry.
NOA CEO Kerry Hallard said the course will provide a standard grounding in outsourcing and contribute to making it a recognised profession.
“Outsourcing has often been viewed as the accidental profession – something people find themselves in. This qualification recognises excellence in outsourcing skills and helps position outsourcing as a professional career of choice,” she said.
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The qualification is also aimed at existing staff in the outsourcing sector.
"The course will upskill the three million-plus people working in outsourcing in the UK and help grow and improve this dynamic industry’s performance in the UK economy," said Hallard.
Andy Parker, Capita chief executive, said following the pilot Capita plans to embed the qualification in its employee learning and development programme.
"The qualification will serve as a differentiator for talent in the industry, provide assurance to customers of outsourcing services, bridge the skills gaps for people transferring to outsourcing companies from the public and private sector, and recognise excellence across the industry," he said.
Lee Ayling, KPMG partner and former managing director at sourcing consultant Equaterra, which was acquired by KPMG in 2011, welcomed the course.
“I think outsourcing is a competency and we have about 600 practitioners. There are skills relevant in outsourcing that are relevant in any functional area such as IT, procurement, finance and accounting.
"There are currently lots of industry bodies that teach components of outsourcing but do not do it in its entirety,” he said.