Vendor Certification

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Much of the direction in qualifications of late, or maybe it was ever thus, is toward more employer involvement.  In the post-16 space there has been a big push towards apprenticeships and trailblazers, which TLM have been involved with where appropriate.  Going forward, we are getting more and more employer involvement.  This is an essential requirement for qualifications anyway, particularly when submitting for performance points and public funding and you will see on the qualifications page that there are sections of endorsement from employers and educators.

More than this, we are trying to make our qualifications as relevant as possible to the world of work.  For example, our L2 IT qualification already is a modular qualification with some mandatory units on using IT productively and eSafety, but with a huge range of optional units.  Most schools tend to do office based skills for the optional units.  This is good in and of itself since most jobs now and in the future will involve some office based IT skills.  However, most employers know what Microsoft is, though are not so sure when you start talking about Level 1/2 or start going on about 9-1.  Therefore, we teamed up with the leading providers of Microsoft Office Specialist certification programs to offer a win-win qualification.  Students do our mandatory units, which help them to prepare for our external exam, but then carry out Microsoft Office Specialist units.  These units map to our optional units in word processing, spreadsheets and presentations.  The students pass these and get an industry recognised Microsoft certification, but they also get an Ofqual regulated L2 IT qualification and the school gets league table points.  Everyone is happy. 

We have a similar offering at L2 for colleges where we have a fully funded qualification with 16-19 performance in Linux.  The qualification is a college and school friendly version of the Linux Professional Institute Linux Essentials course.  This is an industry recognised entry qualification for Linux administration.  Given that Linux runs about 80% of the Internet and open source applications are increasingly dominating IT applications and infrastructure this is a good way to get a secure career in IT.  The UK's biggest employer, the government, is using open source and Linux more and more.

This year, for November hopefully, we have created a new L3 qualification in cloud based systems and services.  This follows a similar model to the L2 ITQ, but the L2 mandatory units of IPU and safety are replaced with Cloud Systems and Cloud Applications, as well as a mandatory extended project unit.  The mandatory units can be researched and learned through engaging with a free Cisco Networking system.  There is then a wide choice of optional units and we have teamed up with an industry leading provider of certifications in professional web development CIW.  Schools and colleges can use the CIW teaching materials in things like HTML5, JavaScript and design and use these towards the L3 qualification.  They can then take external exams in these units and gain industry recognised certification in Web Professional areas.

We will endeavour to make sure our STEM based qualifications are relevant and industry backed.

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About the Author
Started work for TLM in August 2014, having known Ian Lynch for many years and collaborated on a number of open source projects and initiatives. Working with Moodle for a number of years after teaching IT to A Level for 10 years.

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