E-Skills is the Sector Skills Council for IT. I came down to London yesterday morning to attend two meetings with E-Skills, relating to standardising the awarding bodies' approach to delivering NVQ/SVQs. Yesterday's meeting was about their IT Professional Standards (called ProCom) and today's meeting is about IT User Standards (called ITQ).
SQA's relationship with E-Skills is not quite the same as other awarding bodies due to the different roles Sector Skills Councils serve in Scotland compared with other parts of the UK. But it's always interesting to meet with my counterparts from other awarding bodies, such as City & Guilds, EdExcel and BCS.
The qualification sector outside of Scotland is pretty complex, regulated by OfQual, which has a lot of rules and regulations about qualifications that awarding bodies down here have to adhere to. So it's interesting to me to see how this market works.
One of the most interesting things for me was the discussion on new areas that E-Skills should consider for including in their Standards. It was pleasing to see that many of the new areas being proposed came from Scotland, which appears to be ahead of most of the UK in this respect, such as our qualifications relating to e-safety and computer games.
Another interesting outcome was that E-Skills is going to require paperless evidence i.e. it must be in digital format. This doesn't mean that centres must use formal e-portfolio systems but some form of digital evidence must be provided. Free services such as Google Docs or Microsoft SkyDrive were suggested.
The HN review will make extensive use of E-Skills Standards (for IT Professional) and Genny Dixon of E-Skills is serving on the Qualification Development Team.