MoD adopts framework to assess IT staff's skills

The armed forces are planning to change the way they assess the IT skills of their defence and civilian staff in an initiative...

The armed forces are planning to change the way they assess the IT skills of their defence and civilian staff in an initiative the Ministry of Defence said could have significant benefits for staff deployment and training.

The MoD is one of the first government departments to commit itself to the Skills Framework for the Information Age, an initiative to create a UK-wide consensus on the skills needed for every IT role.

Businesses that have adopted the framework have been able to reduce their headcount and their reliance on contractors by using existing skills more efficiently.

High street retailer Woolworths said the SFIA allowed it to reduce the number of roles in its IT department from 40 to 12. The framework also allowed the firm to ensure its staff are kept up-to-date in the skills the company needs for future projects.

The MoD plans to move the job specifications of 4,000 civilian IT staff and thousands of military staff with IT roles over to the Skills Framework by April 2004.

Pilot programmes underway at the Defence Communication Services Agency and the Army's directorate of information are expected to be complete in April next year, when the scheme will be rolled out more widely.

The scheme will bring civilian and military IT staff under a single skills framework for the first time and will provide the MoD with a clear picture of the IT skills it has at its disposal.

The framework will make it easier for project managers to assess which skills they need for particular projects, said Stephen Smith, the MoD's head of profession for IT civilian specialists.

"It will help line managers specify which competences they need for a certain post, irrespective of whether they are in the services or civilian sectors. There will be much greater clarity," he said.

Smith said the SFIA would lead to significant improvements in staff training and would make it easier for staff to map out the career path they want and identify the skills they need. It would also make it easier for military staff to find work in civilian life.

What is the SFIA?

The Skills Framework for the Information Age gives employers a framework which they can use to measure the skills they already have in their workforce against the skills they need, and to then identify the gaps.

The framework is suitable for IT practitioners in businesses of any size. For more information, go to:

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