Wednesday, April 09, 2008

Qualifications for ICT Professionals

The New Zealand Government's Wintec - Business Development Unit has issued a request for Information for an "ICT Qualifications Steering Group":
This proposal originated from a Growth & Innovation Pilot Initiative (GIPI) led by the Institution of Professional Engineers in New Zealand (IPENZ) and Massey University, funded through the Tertiary Education Commission.

The GIPI addressed the issue of "Developing Well-qualified Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Professionals" and resulted in the issuing of two reports: a Research Report and Project Proposal which were published in August 2007 (reports can be found at:

The research project identified the issues facing professionals working in the ICT industry without a degree qualification and the resulting Project Proposal set out a programme of work aimed at enhancing the recruitment and retention of top-class people as ICT professionals in New Zealand.

An ICT Qualifications Steering group has been established to progress the Project Proposal. The Steering Group’s first priority, through this RFI process, is to identify a suitable lead organisation capable of overseeing the development and taking ownership of it.

The first objective for the lead organisation has been identified as being to develop an ICT Competency Framework that will form the basis for the development of a quality mark for ICT professionals. This Framework could also underpin the development of a professional accreditation process. Subsequent aspects of the Programme are the development of a resource centre, advisory council and marketing programme.

It is intended that, where ever possible, existing courses, projects and initiatives will be mapped into the Programme, creating a collaborative as opposed to competitive working environment. ...

From: ICT Qualifications Steering Group", Request for Information, GETS Reference: 21492, Wintec - Business Development Unit, The New Zealand Government, 2008

A Steering Group has been formed to provide oversight and governance to the delivery of the Project Proposal. It is comprised of representatives from:
• HiGrowth Project
• Ministry of Education
• NZ Qualifications Authority
• ITP New Zealand
• Department of Labour
• NZ Computer Society

And will also include representation from Universities, Career Services and Ministry of Economic Development.

The Steering Group's first priority is to identify a suitable Lead Organisation to host the Project, after which the Steering Group will assist the Lead Organisation with funding requests and other matters to assist the Lead Organisation to deliver on the project. The role of the Steering Group will be kept under review as the programme becomes established and the focus shifts to implementation through the lead provider.

As outlined in the Proposal document:

" A suitable home will need to be found for this programme. It is likely that there is an existing national body in a position to give governance, infrastructure and administrative support to its delivery. Care has been taken to avoid stating possible options as an open and contestable process should be entered into. In providing a home for the Programme it is envisaged that its physical infrastructure needs i.e. office space, phones etc - would be provided by the Lead Organisation."
This is not envisaged as being an onerous undertaking.

The proposed programme can be separated into 4 parts:

ICT Competence Framework

A key deliverable of the programme will be the establishment of an internationally benchmarked Framework that would define the competencies expected of both competent practitioners and ICT Graduates and would form the basis for the development of a quality mark for ICT professionals.
It would encourage a national approach to the development of courses leading to the development of framework competencies (or Graduate Attributes) and could form the basis for a professional accreditation process, or provide a greater outcomes focus for existing academic accreditation processes.
Specialist technical courses, wherever possible, would be developed by expert providers and shared through a blended delivery model on a national basis. Qualifications could be gained in "bite sized" chunks with employers clearly able to recognise the skills and competencies gained by achieving each course. Industry experts would be engaged to assist with course delivery and a means of moderating their input also developed.

Resource Centre

An independent advisory resource to provide both online and over-the-phone expert advice to employers and employees on issues like assessing current skills, deciding which courses to take or provide, and supporting the introduction of training, scholarships, mentoring etc. The centre should support a comprehensive web-based resource including some form of register of courses that are aligned to the framework.

Advisory Council

Regional advisory councils with representation by stakeholders from education, industry, recruitment, careers advisors and appropriate government agencies. These councils to be established according to a best practice model based on existing advisory boards and feed into a national advisory council, which would meet annually and create future strategic direction for the programme.

Marketing programme

Promotion of ICT careers and qualifications and the ICT “brand” itself. The marketing initiatives should support raising the status of ICT careers and training with all stakeholders and include promotion of the programme itself. ...

On the basis of this project wishing to build on the existing environment, it is expected that the Lead Organisation will consider:

• The Digital Technologies Framework being developed for senior secondary schools
• The work being undertaken by the NZ Computer Society including its utilization of the SFIA Framework
• The NZQA technology qualifications framework (Levels 4-6)
• NACCQ qualifications
• Industry provider qualifications i.e. Microsoft and Cisco
• Courses provided by Polytechnics
• Courses provided by the relevant Industry Training Organisations and
• Any other relevant competencies, qualifications or frameworks the successful contractor may identify. ...

Research paper ... and the Project Proposal report ... paying particular attention as to how their Organisation could particularly support the initiatives and process outlined.

ICT QUALIFICATIONS STEERING GROUP, LEAD ORGANISATION, Request for Information, GETS Reference: 21492, Wintec - Business Development Unit, The New Zealand Government, 2008

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