Trainers make NVQs more relevant to work

Training organisations are to make National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) more relevant to IT employers by incorporating...

Training organisations are to make National Vocational Qualifications (NVQs) more relevant to IT employers by incorporating supplier examinations from Microsoft, Cisco, and Novell into the syllabus.

Bill Goodwin

The move, which will be unveiled by Microsoft and government-funded training body e-skills NTO next week, could cut the time taken for trainees to complete their NVQs by as much as a 20%.

The programme is designed to encourage IT workers to combine technical training through supplier qualifications, with on-the-job training in softer skills, such as team working and dealing with customers. It follows research by e-skills NTO that shows youngsters joining the IT profession often lack the skills necessary to deal with people.

Under the initiative, trainees will be able to use their Microsoft's Certified Professional exams and other supplier qualifications to offset modules in their NVQ assessments.

"Employers are looking for rounded individuals, not just technologists. This qualification allows them to achieve both," said Andrew Gibbons, project manager at e-skills NTO.

Caroline Seldon, technical training manager at ICL, said she hoped that the scheme would make NVQ's part of the natural career progression for people moving into IT.

"Microsoft and other supplier qualifications give people the technical skills. But the NVQ shows they are able to apply those skills," she said.

Robert Hudson, a 17-year-old junior technical engineer with Techland Systems, said the new NVQ could save him three or four months of work. "It will save a lot of time and make the training more interesting," he said.

The programme follows an extensive mapping process last year, which identified the common areas between the supplier qualifications and NVQs in customer systems support, IT systems development and providing a telecoms service.

Over the next six months more supplier qualifications and more NVQs will be added, said Gibbons.

Read more on IT jobs and recruitment