IT apprentices armed with a PC and a modem will be able to take part in online tutorials if discussions between the Information Technology Industry Training Organisation and BT go according to plan, Network Week reports.
Gordon Ewan, chief executive of ITITO expects the electronic conference to support the Modern Apprenticeship scheme which enables young people in the workplace to attain National Vocational Qualifications in IT skills.
IT NVQs are specified by ITITO together with industry bodies. The objective is to provide nationally recognised standards in IT skills that can be used by employer and employee for appraising performance and career planning.
With electronic conferencing, "The idea is that we would be able to wheel in industry gurus to share their ideas on technology with apprentices. The experience gained would help participants gain their NVQ," Mr Ewan explained.
The online tutorials are seen as a response to February's Dearing report on the first 100 NVQs, which blamed low take-up on a lack of marketing. They would promote generic technology skills, which Mr Ewan fears are being passed over in favour of certification schemes operated by suppliers like Microsoft and Novell. These qualify a software engineer as competent to deal with a product suite. "All too often certification is linked to a version of a product and can be very shallow," Mr Ewan said.
Debbie Walsh, marketing manager for the Microsoft certification programme, said: "We support the idea of a broad, cross-industry qualification but customers are asking for qualification on Microsoft products".