BCS plans certificate in consultancy skills

An independent qualification in consultancy is being planned for staff in both IT departments and services companies following high demand for a BCS...

An independent qualification in consultancy is being planned for staff in both IT departments and services companies following high demand for a BCS consultancy skills course.

The proposed Certificate in Consultancy Skills will cover not only the basics in this area but also techniques, including personal and presentation skills, plus issues ranging from managing assignments to running a consultancy practice.

All the topics will be covered in three training sessions, each lasting three days.

The certificate is being worked on and will be overseen by the BCS Information Systems Examinations Board, which in the last six months has seen a doubling of demand for its independent certificates and diplomas in topics ranging from development methods and software testing to IT service management and project management.

"The proposal for a certificate in consultancy skills has its origins in the Professional Development Portfolio training courses that the BCS has been running over the last four years with ICL's KnowledgePool training subsidiary," says Colin Thompson, BCS deputy chief executive.

"They cover mainly non-technical skills for technical people, such as finance, managing staff and communication skills, and the most popular course has been a three-day consultancy skills workshop.

"It has become clear that people attending would like some form of certificate to cover the knowledge and skills they acquire," he adds.

"The idea of certification is also supported by employers: Professional Development Portfolio courses have been run both publicly and for individual companies, including Sun Microsystems, Compaq, Sybase and Computeraid.

"In-company delivery has been particularly successful, with courses running both in the UK as well as Munich, Madrid, Singapore, Beijing and Sydney," Thompson says.

"The consultancy qualification will be open to anyone, but it's likely that the main demand will come from IT services suppliers and internal IT departments."

Information and details on the Professional Development Portfolio and all the IS Examinations Board's certificates and diplomas are available.

What is in the consultancy skills course

The course is split into three sessions:

  • The first course covers meeting clients, research, structured interviewing, planning and structuring an assignment, identifying the requirement, preparing proposals, building and maintaining relationships, making recommendations, and planning for disengagement.

  • The second session, on consulting tools and techniques includes personal image and impact, interviewing skills, facilitation skills, solving problems and making decisions, writing reports, project management essentials, team working, and managing client expectations.

  • The third course, on managing consultancy, includes building long-term relationships, understanding organisations, managing change, selling consultancy services and bidding for contracts, managing assignments, building and managing a consultancy team, and principles of managing a consultancy practice.

  • Students will be assessed continuously by tutors but will also complete tests and an exam at the end of each course.

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