New undergraduate Computing and IT degrees have been launched by the Open University (OU) in response to perceived employer concern over the competency of the recruitment pool that forces companies to look overseas for IT services.
The BSc (Honours) Computing and IT and the BSc (Honours) Computing and IT and a second subject have been designed to accommodate the individual needs of students at various stages in their career, and employers of all sizes and sectors.
Using a variety of learning and assessment techniques, the courses are aimed at both existing professionals progress their career and computer enthusiasts take the first step on the IT career ladder. They include:
- Work-based learning - offering a salary while students study for an internationally-recognised honours degree.
- Credit for hands-on placements and previous work experience to fast-track experienced (but unqualified) IT workers through to accreditation.
- A vendor certification pathway to ensure graduates can show employers a portfolio of relevant experience and internationally recognised skills certification.
The OU’s engagement with industry has highlighted a perceived lack of business acumen amongst those coming out of education and an inability to put technical skills to use in a work setting, says its executive director for IT and telecoms Kevin Streater: “These courses can help both existing professionals progress their career and computer enthusiasts take the first step on the IT career ladder [and] offer employers an opportunity to up-skill their IT teams without taking them out of the line”.
The new degrees are mapped onto the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) which provides a common reference model for the identification of the skills needed to develop effective Information Systems making use of ICT.