IBM is to offer Power and System z qualification courses to Scotland universities and colleges. Working in conjunction with the SQA, students will be able to develop types of IT skills that clients and IBM Business Partners need to run their businesses, and employers will have access to local skills. Paisley University of the West of Scotland (UWS) is the Lead Centre for the programme.
Gary Kildare, IBM VP & senior executive in Scotland point out “There is a greater demand for technical skills entering the job market. Our clients have told us that they need these skills to help run and build their organisations and students want IBM certification on their CV’s. Through the agreement access to IBM courseware, including software, teaching material, practical lab exercises, etc, are all available free of charge to all institutions through individual teacher membership.”
At SQA, John McDonald, director, Business Development said “It was a great pleasure for me to sign the MoU between SQA and IBM – bringing together two very strong Scottish focussed organisations that are committed to the excellent work of the Digital media and ICT Vendor Alliance (DIVA) programme."
Patrick Afchain, Business Development manager, School of Computing, UWS, said: “We are delighted to be Lead Centre for this initiative and welcome the opportunity to work with IBM & SQA to enhance the skills and qualifications of current and future IT professionals.”
The new courseware will build upon an initial course for IBM System i Operators that was offered in 2007 to 43 colleges in Scotland. In 2009, SQA performed a review of key learning and skills policy in Scotland with particular attention to industry courseware and certification. SQA and IBM Power Systems Academic Initiative programme began negotiations to introduce a Power and System z curriculum into the Scottish Qualifications Framework.
Through the Academic Initiative programme, students can connect via the IBM Student Opportunity portal to peers and professors from around the world. They can place their CV online for clients and IBM Business Partners to review when they are seeking to recruit new staff.
Professors and students can access the IBM certification website, containing information on certifications and mastery tests, on how to prepare for the tests and where to take them.
A greater diversity of courses will be offered and skills mastered. Employers will not have to wait 2-3 years for a student to graduate before being employed. Courses will be available to post graduate students and those already in work who wish to add to their skill set or make a career change.