For over two years, and wearing my Biztech hat, I have been serving as an advisor to an Institute of Coding (IOC) panel charged with changing the way in which computing courses are taught within Higher and Further Education.
It is a good example of the sort of role that members of the Biztech Management Board can find themselves involved in.
The panel was convened because organisations employing computing graduates have long been critical of the quality on offer from Universities and Colleges.
The reasons why graduates struggle to meet the standards required are something of a mystery. They acquire a great deal of knowledge during their three or four-year program of studies. Many also gain work experience in the industry.
Rather than diagnose the problem, the panel opted to turn the whole basis of course accreditation on its head.
The focus for accreditation so far has been upon the course rather than the individual student – based on the assumption that, upon completion, the student will possess all the attributes that the course promises.
Under the Panel’s proposals, the student will still be awarded a degree (assuming that they have cleared all the hurdles involved). Each student will also, however, receive one or more ‘badges’.
These badges will be unique to the student and will be linked to a framework of role descriptions and competencies used by industries across the world.
They will therefore indicate to a future employer that the student is emerging into the world of work armed with evidence of knowledge, skills, and competencies that are a close fit with those required.
This approach to accreditation should greatly improve the ability of graduates to hit the ground running when they step into their first employed role. The impact upon industry should not be understated.
Employers will now be able to spend less time and money on training their graduates to bring them up to the capability required. Those graduates will also be involved in productive work from day 1 rather than after a period spent bringing them up to speed which can be measured in months.
The role played by Biztech (and continues to play) involves bringing the voice of the employer to the Panel – in particular, that of the tech SME upon which so much of the country’s future growth depends.
The skills and competencies that employers will need in the future may be very different from those on offer today.
It’s down to technology hubs such as Biztech to make sure that the employer’s voice continues to be heard.