E-Skills UK is the Sector Skills Council for IT. Once very quarter, it convenes a meeting of all of the awarding bodies involved in delivering S/NVQs. I attended the final meeting of 2009 today in London. SQA is one of a number of organisations that attend, including City & Guilds, EdExcel and BCS. I find it particularly useful since it is an opportunity for me to catch up with what is going on in the rest of the UK. There were several things of note at today's meeting.
It's not just Scotland that has problems with the teaching of Computing. OfQual has recently been critical of much the same issues in England. As a result, a new initiative called Vital has been launched by the OU and E-Skills to try to improve teaching and learning. The idea, if I understand it correctly, is for this project to collect useful resources and advise on teaching approaches. Although it is intended for England, the resources will be freely available. It will initially target the 14-19 age group. This initiative will be officially launched at BETT in January.
E-Skills own Skills Academy is progressing. The focus for this iniative is higher level IT skills. A pilot phase website will be available in April with the full launch in September or October.
There was also information provided about Online Basics, a training programme designed for the digitally excluded. It was pointed out that 29% of UK adults have never been online. This programme, which is part of the Digital Britain initiative, is designed to try to address that problem. It will be initially piloted in 39 UK Online centres in England and Wales.
Finally, a guy from Google gave a talk about a new initiative called Getting British Business Online, which, as the name infers, is about getting the 30% of SMEs with no web precence to use the Internet. The target is ambitious -- 100,000 extra business online within a year and it looks like there will be a big effort behind this in 2010. Google will provide every business that participates with a free domain name and website. Expect to hear more about this in the near future.