ICT SPN Minutes of Meeting 23.04.08 - readingroom.lsc.gov.uk - / by oFI8D8h



Date          Wednesday 23 April 2008
Subject       West Midlands Specialist Provider Network for ICT
Location      Worcester College of Technology
Time          10am – 12pm

Present       Nigel Gaynor (LSC)                       Wayne Russell (Fusion-ICT)
              Steve Astington (LSC)                    Ben Sweetman (E-skills) by telekit
              Paula White (LSC)
              Chris Swan (Worcester College)
              Jane Sell (Warwickshire College)
              Ted Bailey (Matthew Boulton College)

Fiona Hudson-Kelly (Fusion-ICT), Dawn Christie (Telford College), Fred Bentley
(Businesslink), Sandra Anderson (Zenos), Tracey Brown (LSC), Linda McQuade (Stoke

Minutes of the last meeting were agreed as an accurate record.

Nigel Gaynor (NG) mentioned that he had not yet received any comments from SPN
members for ideas of how to take the Support of Excellence Programme forward. NG is
keen that QIA work with sector focus networks to help drive employer engagement.

There is a need to promote benefits of apprenticeships to employers and promote a work
experience programme linked to diplomas. Steve Astington (SA) requested that SPN
member’s provide case studies of apprenticeship success stories for inclusion on
the regional ITQ website.

SA encouraged providers to explore ITQ has part of an apprenticeship.

Jane Sell (JS) to share information on STAR awards at the next SPN meeting.

JS requested marketing support to attract more 19-24 year old students. NG
mentioned the National Apprenticeship Service and that the Learning and Skills Council
will be responsible for mapping all apprenticeship frameworks to Universities and Colleges
Admission Service which should attract this particular age group.

SA to contact George Anderson in relation to a letter he was writing to Stephen Gardner,
Director of WBL and David Cragg regarding the reduction of 38% in Advanced
Apprenticeship funding.

Learning and Skills Council Birmingham & Solihull
15 Bartholomew Row, Digbeth, Birmingham, B5 5JU
T 0845 019 4143 F 0121 345 4503 www.lsc.gov.uk/birminghamsolihull
Ben Sweetman (BS) gave an overview of the new qualifications being developed and
encouraged the adoption of QCF qualifications.

IT Professional vendor based modules have been added to the list of qualifications to
meet employer demand.

QCF units have been aligned with the apprenticeship framework.

A clear sector offer for Train to Gain will be available through QCF.

SPN members are to send ideas of software development units to BS via e-mail.

E-Skills UK are in support of “growing your own graduates” and confirmed that Level 4
ICT qualifications will be available through QCF. BS to send details to SA.

In terms of IT User qualifications there will no longer be duplicated units on the Learning
Aim Database.

BS stated that the NVQ National Code of Practice will no longer be the only option for
assessment and awarding of NVQs. SPN members raised concerns.

The ITQ will offer a small award at each level to align with contributing qualifications such
as ECDL. BS to send information in relation to ITQ changes.

Training Quality Standard (TQS) is now the official name for New Standard. The launch is
scheduled to take place on 8 May in London.

NG reported that 33 providers including 4 employers have achieved TQS. Universities
are also in the process of applying for TQS to align themselves with employer demand.
NG encouraged SPN members to create links with local Universities to explore this

The Framework for Excellence is a key component in the drive to improve the quality of
learning, by moving the FE system towards a culture of self-improvement. Providers who
demonstrate that they are responding well to employers within the Framework will have
the evidence base to put themselves forward for accreditation against the TQS and will
automatically receive a grade 1.

Paula White (PW) reported that there had been a large increase in IT provision in the
West Midlands at period 7 of 07/08 with 59,007 enrolments. The top ten courses shown
on the report were the only courses which had enrolments by thousands and ITQ was the
third highest delivered qualification with 6,081 enrolments.

Data showed that a numbers of Black Country providers were now delivering ITQ in the
Birmingham and Solihull area. PW encouraged more Birmingham and Solihull providers
to adopt ITQ delivery.

There has also been a marked increase in ITQ delivery under the Train to Gain funding
stream with 1046 enrolments in period 7 of 07/08 with the top providers being Fusion ICT
with 217 enrolments.
A breakdown of Work Based Learning delivery showed that NVQ in Contact Centres had
dominated a large percentage of enrolments with Vodafone being the main deliverer.

Zenos were the main deliverer of NVQ for IT Professionals with 238 enrolments and
Warwickshire College were the only college with significant WBL enrolments.

Events took place in Rugby, Stourbridge, Birmingham and Stoke on Trent and from an
LSC prospective the events were successful. There will be ITQ network events starting
from June which will encourage providers to work together and share best practice.

Fusion ICT are nearing the end of the Leisure and Tourism and Public Sector ITQ projects
and will be hosting a Leisure and Tourism lunch on 28 April and Public Sector lunch on 21
May. WR encouraged SPN members to view the Leisure and Tourism website
www.myitq.co.uk/leisureandtourism username: ITQ and password: fusion.

Zenos reported that 25 companies have expressed an interest in the SME development
Programme. 50-100 learners have been scoped for the project and companies are ready
to start the programme. Zenos are awaiting their Train to Gain contract with West
Midlands LSC.

SA mentioned proposed projects for 08/09 which involved supporting flexible delivery of
ITQ, marketing campaigns to develop employer awareness of ITQ, Increasing IT
professional delivery and arranging an ICT employer dinner.

NG reported that the purpose of the SPN review is to carry out a comparison of the
various SPN’s to gauge how successful the current SPN network is on sharing key
communications and to review membership. SPN members were encouraged to
complete the questionnaire and return by 2 May 2008.

NG mentioned that the Train to Gain service is merging with the WM Brokerage Service.
AWM are trailing the IT Advisory Service which is promoting business adoption of ICT.
The Adroit Report was also mentioned which shows how important the ICT sector is to the
uplift of the regional economy.

The next meeting will be held at Warwickshire College, Leamington Centre, Warwick
Road, Leamington Spa, CV32 5JE on 24 June 2008 at 10am – 12pm

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