Memorandum from Computeach (ILA 40)
"Computeach welcomes the possibility of
a replacement scheme that will help individuals improve their
chances of life-long learning and help tackle the current skills
crisis within the Information Technology industry."
ILA holders have enhanced their mathematics
and IT skills to a sound understanding of principles combined
with basic practical skills
The scheme has proved there is a
massive demand for IT skills training
The ethos of designating a bank account
specifically for the facilitation of learning is principally sound
The initial approval process designed
to screen the quality of training provider was not sufficiently
stringent. Limited liability insurance is not a measure of an
organisation's ability to deliver quality training.
The process for checking the validity
of the trainee's application was questionable. An applicant did
not have to provide a national insurance number.
The level of qualification listed
for the higher level of ILA funding was too low and was not therefore
linked to the type of skills necessary to help an individual into
IT employment. The list was exclusive and inflexible. It omitted
most higher-level qualifications being demanded by employers.
A City & Guilds qualification in Typewriter Maintenance was
possibly the most extreme example of unsuitability.
The level of funding available per
person was initially uncapped which lead to some unscrupulous
organisations inflating training costs for relatively low-level
qualifications. Later, when it became obvious that the system
was being abused the level was reduced to a maximum of £200
which is too low relative to the level of fees payable for higher
level career courses.
1. Training providers must comply to
a Standards Charter:
They must be established registered
limited company (or if sole trader/partnership an auditable trading
record must be available) trading for a minimum period of time
They must have a track record in
training and prove their methods are successful eg candidates
achieving qualifications, career progression within existing role
or complete change into IT industry.
They must aptitude test candidates
prior to enrolment to ensure their suitability for training.
Training providers must be approved,
monitored and controlled by a government department that is expert
at the audit process eg Inland Revenue or Customs & Excise.
2. Individuals must sign up to a Statement
of Personal Development:
Individuals must promise to devote
a minimum number of hours per week to training and personal development.
They must prove that they are UK
nationals, have contributed to the income tax system and provide
a national insurance number
3. A replacement scheme must offer at
its heart, a route to achieving in-demand skills (eg programming,
systems analysis, networking and internet technologies) and secondly
link to relevant qualifications. The Computer Weekly Survey of
Apointments Data and Trends lists those most in-demand and Computeach
delivers training involving all of the top ten skills.
Presently, the IT industry is dominated
by a handful of software vendors such as Microsoft, Sun Microsystems,
CISCO systems, Oracle and so on. Most of these organisations offer
certification tracks that have been adopted by employers as industry
standard. If qualifications are to become a criterion within a
replacement scheme it is therefore imperative that these well-recognised
vocational qualifications are included. These qualifications can
only be delivered by quality organisations with established infrastructures!
4. The amount of funding dedicated to
an individual's learning account is key to the success of the
The individual must be encouraged
to complete training by incentive and therefore they must contribute
the "lion's share". A learning programme of sufficient
substance to facilitate a new career in IT will cost in excess
of £3,000.00. The level of contribution awarded by the Vocational
Tax Relief (VTR) scheme (preceded the ILA scheme) was related
to income tax at 23 per cent and proved sufficient to encourage
individuals to enrol and complete training. Whilst there is merit
in encouraging lower level skills training eg ECDL, it makes sense
to layer funding depending on the level or grade of skill/qualification
attained. For the upper stratum ie training towards the aforementioned
skills areas, a cap of £1,000.00 would be prudent.
1. Computeach International is the UK's
leading provider of high quality distance learning courses in
2. Established since 1964.
3. Over 4,000 students register to undertake
one of our courses every year but more than 2,000 enquire each
4. Thousands of Computeach trainees have
secured IT employment through the combination of quality training
and proactive job search support.
5. Member of all of the key IT associations
and bodies such as Institute for the Management of Information
Systems, the Computing Services and Software Association, the
British Computer Society and the Institution of Analysts and Programmers.
6. First organisation of its kind to achieve
ISO 9001 quality assurance status in 1994, and is now working
towards the new 9001/2000 standard.
7. An independent report by SWA Consulting
and University of Hull (July 2001) for the DfES regarding Career
Development Loan Defaults effectively endorses the type of training
offered by Computeach. It concludes that lower defaults were experienced
when students undertook "longer courses," and when "taking
out loans in the range of £1,500-£2,500" and "lower
rates for primarily distance learning courses."