Within the Assess Plus project, content development is ongoing across all partners. As INQS is developing content for O1 – around national skills accreditation in Ireland, we thought that we would share some of the developed content which is aimed at supporting skills accreditation practitioners:
For young people, including school leavers, youth organisations are primarily involved in the provision of activities related to skills audits. One leading example of same is http://www.youthreach.ie/index.html, which seeks to provide young people who may or may not have left schools with “opportunities for basic education, personal development, vocational training and work experience.”. The youthreach support is now overseen by regional education and training boards in Ireland (https://www.etbi.ie/) which provide a variety of means of supporting the youthreach process, including learner assessment and career planning. At the level of Higher Education, the development of systems for Recognition of Prior Learning (RPL) has been progressed through a range of leading HEI institutions, including the Cork Institute of Technology (www.cit.ie), who have identified processes for the assessment of skills gained through formal and non-formal education. The role of RPL and systems for same are outlined in Annex 2, but for the purposes of this report, the European definition of RPL is offered – “RPL incorporates prior formal, informal and non-formal learning and that which is validated within the context of a specified destination award from level one to ten on the national framework of qualifications” (p. 3, European Commission, Cedefop, ICF International; 2014).
There are a range of initiatives in the ICT sector aimed at collaboration with HEIs to identify processes around skills audits with a view to employer and industry needs. One example of a large scale skills audit undertaken across a specific sector is FIT – which is an industry-led initiative which works with government departments and HEIs, training agencies (both national and regional) to support the provision of high-quality IT graduates. This process includes “tech apprenticeships” to support an apprentice-orientated approach to IT jobs and the process for applicants involves attending an aptitude session, attending an interview, participating in CV and interview workshops. A key element within this was a national ICT skills audit which FIT undertook in 2018 (https://fit.ie/wp-content/uploads/2019/08/10170- FIT-2018-ICT-Skills-Audit-Design-F.pdf). This was conducted to gather detailed data on the skills needs of ICT companies nationwide and ensure that education and training provision in ICT is relevant and responsive to actual needs. The approach adopted was a pragmatic, bottom-up one, asking employers what their actual hiring plans were and what specific skills they are looking for.
For more on the Assess Plus project, please see http://www.assess-plus.eu