BCS online career development services help companies keep track of staff skills

Online career development services for IT staff and a skills management system for employers are being launched by the BCS to...

Online career development services for IT staff and a skills management system for employers are being launched by the BCS to support its drive to double its 40,000 membership in the next three years.

The Skills Manager, launched this month, helps companies keep track of the skills of individual IT staff, identify skills gaps in individuals and companies, put together project teams and plan recruitment and training.

The system uses a version of the national Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA), which defines IT roles at different levels. The BCS version, SFIAplus, includes suggested tasks, knowledge, skills, training, professional development and qualifications for each level.

Managers can use the standard role definitions or set up their own job descriptions by combining characteristics from different roles: for example, a senior project manager's job might include all the features of the SFIAplus project management role at level six and also some account management tasks from the SFIAplus section on IT sales and marketing. These can be brought together with a few mouse clicks.

Skills Manager is accessed through a browser and can be run on a company intranet or as a hosted service by a third party.

A typical price is £5,000 for the first year for 50 registered users: these are normally IT staff who can assess their skills against a role and level in SFIAplus, and put themselves up for vacancies in teams.

"High-quality IT resource management is a critical part of improving the overall effectiveness of the profession," said BCS chief executive David Clarke. "BCS Skills Manager helps employers make the best use of their IT resources."

A further system, Career Developer, will be launched in the autumn to help companies set up, record and manage training and other staff development.

Individual IT staff will soon have the Careerbuilder service, which the BCS said "enables IT practitioners to take control of their own career development programme".

Careerbuilder will give online access to SFIAplus - for BCS members only - so they can review their IT skills against the industry standard, create a personal job description, plan career goals, training and development.

Freelance IT staff will be able to access the Experience Verifier service early next year, which they can use to quantify their experience and CV information and support personal development.

Staff at companies who have their training and development schemes assessed by the BCS can get a fast track to professional grade membership of the society.

IBM has become the first company to sign up for the scheme after the BCS looked at what IBM calls its "IT architect technical profession".

"This service gives IBM staff a fast track to BCS professional membership and gives IBM an independent verification of its internal assessment programme," Clarke said. "We see many of these partnership schemes coming to fruition in the near future."

IBM IT architect profession leader Alan Hewitt said, "This is a major step for IBM towards achieving improved external recognition of its professional capability.

"The BCS is a highly respected body and its endorsement of IBM procedures and standards as a benchmark demonstrates the value of our expertise, as well as the importance IBM places on promoting professionalism.

"IBM encourages employee membership of bodies such as the BCS, as it can offer numerous opportunities for personal and career growth."

www.bcs.org/skillsmanager

www.bcs.org/benefits

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