Another take on qualifications – have you thought about the Microsoft IT Academy?

IT Academy Programme 2 b If you’re running the ICT systems in your college, and NOT involved with delivering the ICT curriculum, then you may want to forward this onto somebody in charge of curriculum side. Although it’s got ‘IT’ in the title, the IT Academy is actually all about curriculum development and helping your students/staff (or potentially others in the community) to gain commercially valuable qualifications.

imageI’ve spent a few hours in the company of the team who promote the Microsoft IT Academy scheme in the UK. Basically the scheme offers colleges, universities and schools the chance to deliver Microsoft’s IT training and qualifications to your students, staff and your wider community. The qualifications that you can deliver will help your students (or parents in your community) raise their skills to prepare for employment – either business or technical roles as web developers or systems administrators.

The chart on the right (click on it to see the BIG version) shows the routes to the qualifications that students can attain. And because the qualifications are instantly recognisable in the commercial sector – like MCSE qualifications – it is an instant help with preparing for employment.

But this isn’t just about student qualifications – it can also be used to provide training and qualifications for the wider community, and this is exactly how some of the current IT Academies use it – to generate a revenue stream and to increase community and business engagement.

Once you’ve signed up to be an IT Academy, the scheme includes:

  • Free Microsoft eLearning (over 300 courses)

  • Free Microsoft software licences

  • Big discounts on Microsoft Certifications and Courseware

  • Free MSDNAA & TechNet Plus Subscription

  • Free Microsoft Certified Trainer Membership

Currently about two-thirds of UK colleges and universities offer the IT Academy programme. So it could be that your college is already doing it (in which case you might have some of these benefits already).

But the key question I asked the IT Academy team was about cost. Because although they describe everything above as ‘free’, I’d assumed that the annual fee would be prohibitive. The actual answer is that it costs around £1,100 for a college to become an IT Academy. Especially if you factor in the cost of an MSDNAA & TechNet Plus subscription, this is a great deal.

Although there’s tons of information about IT Academy on our education website, I think there’s probably too much info there, so instead of reading it all I’d recommend giving the Prodigy team a call, or dropping them an email, to get them to explain it to you in plain English. (Just like buying software, IT Academy works the same way – you get access through our partners, rather than directly from us. In this case the partner is Prodigy)

Email the IT Academy team or call them on 0845 3991553.

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