Government to relaunch IT NVQ

Brief: The UK should have a comprehensive alternative to vendor IT qualifications by the end of this year

UK professionals should have access to a comprehensive vendor-independent qualification designed to replace the unpopular National Vocational Qualification (NVQ) by the end of this year.

NVQs, sometimes referred to by critics as standing for 'Not Very Qualified', are an attempt to create a competent and transferable IT qualification that concentrates on general skills rather than on developing proficiency in the products of one specific vendor.

In cooperation with the Learning Skills Council, the UK sector skills council for IT e-skills and a number of major vendors, the new qualification is intended to provide IT professionals with a transferable, flexible certification independent of any one vendor.

Steve Lloyd, a senior consultant for independent examination organisation City & Guilds, said that the new IT professional NVQ programme, yet to be named, would build around the work done on the new user-level NVQ qualification,which is due to launch at the beginning of August.

Speaking to ZDNet UK at an event to publicise the new user-level NVQ qualification, the Information Technology Qualification (ITQ), Lloyd claimed that the existing IT professional NVQs had suffered from poor uptake and lack of interest. "The uptake has been fading rapidly as they don't provide what industry wants. Now we have a delivery philosophy," he said.

Lloyd said that the new NVQ will have the ability to integrate with vendor qualifications, which have always had much more credibility in the industry. "No more will we have this brick wall between vendor and open qualifications," he said.

The new NVQ style qualification is still very much in development but will be tailored to a variety of IT professional roles, from software development to network management.

Speaking at the ITQ event, Karen Price, chief executive of e-skills, said that the new user-focused ITQ qualification is transferable and that she hoped it would  have real creditability with employees. "My wish is that we take this forward and make a bigger difference to UK plc."