IT services group EDS has opened its staff development to independent scrutiny in order to gain formal recognition from the BCS that it meets professional standards, writes John Kavanagh.
The new BCS training accreditation scheme aims to help and encourage organisations to ensure that their training not only meets the needs of each individual and of the business, but also achieves professional standards based on best practice across the industry.
"BCS accreditation enables employers to attract and retain high calibre staff and ensure they achieve a high standard of competence," said the society's deputy chief executive Colin Thompson, in presenting the accreditation certificate to EDS human resources director Rosemary Parfitt at a special ceremony.
"This leads to increased effectiveness of information systems activities - and enhances the organisation's reputation."
Parfitt agreed. "The accreditation is important to EDS because it is confirmation by our industry's professional institution that we give our graduates the highest quality foundation to their careers," she said.
EDS' staff development is based partly on the National IS Skills Framework, put together by the IT National Training Organisation, largely from the BCS Industry Structure Model.
The framework defines IT roles and the tasks, experience and education expected at different levels. It was developed while EDS director Alan Stevens was the organisation's chairman. And he believes it was the most important thing to be highlighted in the recent report by the Government's IT skills strategy group.
"Companies can map their own set-ups onto the framework," Stevens said. "In EDS, for example, it can show what is needed to get to our senior systems engineer level, and also shows how you can qualify for the various BCS membership grades on the way."
EDS was also an early adopter of the Government's Modern Apprenticeship schemes, breaking its tradition of focusing on graduates and instead recruiting 200 school leavers. The company has 13,000 staff in the UK.
Gaining BCS accreditation meant laying out the training scheme for a panel of BCS assessors made up of senior IT professionals in the highest membership grades of member or fellow.
The accreditation will last two years. As part of the scheme a BCS inspector will visit EDS each year.