National Skills academy framework backed by UK employers

New IT Professional Profile allows employers and candidates to benchmark skills against professional IT standards

UK employers, across the IT sector, have come together to back a new skills framework from the National Skills Academy.

Free for IT professionals to use, the online IT Professional Profile enables individuals to benchmark their skills against professional IT standards, find training and qualifications to help them progress in their careers. This can then be shared with employers through a web link.

Employers can use the tool to upload job descriptions, providing details about the skills and knowledge needed.

Employers supporting the profile so far include HP, the John Lewis Partnership, Metropolitan Police, Morrisons, National Grid, Royal Mail, Tata Consultancy Services, Telefonica/02 and UBS.

Paul Coby, IT director at John Lewis, said the retailer is now using the IT Professional Profile as part of its recruitment process.

He said: “Comparing the profiles of individuals to our job roles is helping us to identify the best candidates, and the detailed skills definitions within the profile enable us to probe capability more easily, with more objective questioning at interview.”

National Grid, another company using the profile said a business depends on the skills of the people within. 

“With the IT Professional Profile we can start, for the first time, to assess our skills against external benchmarks, aggregate our skills across the whole team, and identify the training we need to achieve the skills profile we must build as an organisation,” said David Lister, global CIO of National Grid.

Many of the companies backing the scheme are using it for contracting too, as many rely on external resources to support IT projects.

Richard Thwaite, group head application management utility at UBS, said: “We see enormous potential for the use of the IT Professional Profile in contracting. Successful IT projects are all about the skills of the people.

“When we buy IT services we are buying capability and the profile gives us an objective way of assessing and comparing skills against our needs.”

Craig Wilson, regional vice-president, UK and Ireland at HP agreed: “We have decided to encourage contractors to provide an IT Professional Profile so that we can more easily evaluate their skills against our needs. We will also be extending this request to job applicants.”

According to Karen Price, chief executive at e-skills UK, the IT industry has long needed a way of benchmarking skills “against consistent external standards in a highly dynamic environment.”

Commenting on the IT Profile, she said: “It will not only enable employers to save time and money, but will also help individuals to achieve their ambitions. It will help us establish the professionalism that will attract more talent into the sector.”  

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