In two weeks’ time we are hosting the UK Finals of of the MOS World Championships here at our Microsoft UK HQ in Reading. Next week we’ll tell you more about the second group of 10 finalists (you can find out who is in the first group here), but this week we’re going to look at the lasting impact of working towards the MOS Certification, and the tangible employable skills that students acquire along with the qualification itself.
Learning is just as much about skills development as it is about building a bank of knowledge about various topics, and in today’s technology-led workplaces, it’s important that children learn how to get the most out of the tools and resources available to them. But even before students leave school and enter the world of employment, these skills are put to use in other subjects.
MOS certifications are recognised qualifications from Microsoft that allow students to demonstrate their proficiency in a number of Office applications, including Word, Excel and PowerPoint. Despite being recognised as a standalone qualification in its own right, a the skills and experience students gain from undertaking the certification add value in other areas of study. For example when processing data or carrying out various statistical analyses from science experiments or a survey, knowing your way around Excel and being able to make the spreadsheet work for you is a huge timesaver and allows you to make otherwise complex tasks much simpler, or when it comes to writing up and presenting a large project, having the same depth and breadth of knowledge in Word and PowerPoint will put you in similarly good stead.
For a real life example of the continuing benefits of taking MOS certifications, we just need to cast our gaze over the Severn Bridge, and towards Treorchy Comprehensive School within the Rhondda Cynon Taf district of South Wales. For the sixth-form students working towards their final exams, the next choice will be whether to continue their studies through into Higher Education, or to go straight into the world of employment. Robert Cook is one who chose the latter, by way of applying for an internship working within the NHS in a non-medical role.
The good news for Robert is that he was offered the position! In fact he has already started his apprenticeship within the NHS on rotation in Pontypridd, but is still studying for his upcoming exams, via remote learning. Matthew Davies - who many readers of this blog will be familiar with as a Microsoft Innovative Expert Educator (#MIEExpert15) - is deputy headeacher at Treorchy, and was kind enough to provide us with this quote from Robert:
"The NHS valued my MOS qualifications and it enabled me to be narrowed down from 365 applicants to one. After talking with my employer, who is the head of software development at Cwm Taff, he said he valued my Microsoft experience greatly and it made me stand out."
Rhondda Cynon Taf and Microsoft IT Academy
Robert’s story, however, is just part of the success that teachers and students of the Rhondda Cynon Taf LEA have been enjoying thanks to their involvement with the Microsoft Education. Through the Microsoft IT Academy, Teaching with Technology, Microsoft Certified Educator, 21st Century Learning design and other continued personal development courses that have been used in various combinations across every school in Rhondda Cynon Taf, teachers and students have been able to not only improve their own ICT skills, but put to those skills to use in other subjects, and ultimately for the students, improve their employability prospects.
Below, teachers from the region talk about how the Microsoft Certifications have benefited Rhondda Cynon Taf Council schools through their IT Academy programme both for teacher continued professional development and for their students in helping prepare them for 21st century careers: