BCS trumpets success of its end-user qualification

More than 500,000 people in the UK have now registered for the European computer driving licence (ECDL), run by the BCS. The...

More than 500,000 people in the UK have now registered for the European computer driving licence (ECDL), run by the BCS. The society believes employers will soon be demanding that their staff hold such independent IT skills qualifications, writes John Kavanagh.

The BCS is now issuing more than 1,000 ECDL certificates a day to successful students. The scheme was launched in the UK just over four years ago and this country recently became the leader in terms of take-up.

"This is a significant milestone in the BCS' major campaign to raise the standard of computer literacy through the ECDL," the society says. "It also indicates that more employers and employees are learning to appreciate the importance of computing skills in the workplace."

BCS chief executive David Clarke says the qualification has emerged at just the right time for employers and individuals.

"Over half the UK workforce is now expected to operate a computer as part of their job, yet less than 10% have received any formal training or can offer prospective employers a qualification as hard proof of their computing proficiency," he says.

"Business is becoming reliant on low staff costs but very powerful systems, so under-trained staff - and that includes a large part of the UK workforce - can seriously undermine a company's drive for greater efficiency, or make costly mistakes.

"The time is not far off when a computing skills qualification such as the ECDL will be demanded by the majority of employers as a prerequisite for most jobs. Just as we currently expect people to be able to read, write and count, so will society also expect basic computing skills for all as a necessary personal core skill.

"More employers are now insisting on a formal computing qualification from prospective job seekers; this is why the ECDL is taking off in such a big way. It enables employees at both senior and junior levels and across all age groups to gain a real grasp of computing skills that they can quickly put into practice.

Clarke adds, "We are also encouraged to note that a growing number of mature workers are applying to register for the ECDL as part of a mid-career retraining schedule. We believe this will greatly increase their competitive edge in the job market."

The ECDL has seven modules: basic concepts of IT, using the computer and managing files, word processing, spreadsheets, database, presentation, and information and communication.

Advanced ECDL qualifications in word processing and spreadsheets were introduced recently, again finding instant demand - well over 1,000 certificates have already been awarded.

Major employers including the National Health Service, IBM and the Bank of England are adopting the ECDL as a standard in the UK.

A recent UK survey of 10,000 people who have registered for the ECDL found a 95% satisfaction rating and that more than 80% took it for work-related reasons, with almost 40% seeing it helping them to do their current job more efficiently, 22% looking for promotion or a new job, and 22% asked to take it by their employer.

ECDL modules

  • Basic concepts of IT

  • Using the computer and managing files

  • Word processing

  • Spreadsheets

  • Databases

  • Presentation

  • Information and communication.

  • Word processing

  • Spreadsheets.


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