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 university, you may recognise that one of the gaps in using technology well (especially for students) is lack of IT skills to help them to make the most of the technology sitting on their lap. So although you may want to forward this onto somebody in the curriculum side, it might equally be something that you see as an opportunity to help deliver a better student experience through your own IT services. Although it’s got ‘IT’ in the title, the IT Academy is actually all about skills development and helping your students/staff (and potentially others in the community) to gain handy technology skills as well as 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 universities, colleges 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 raise their skills and give them a kick-start as they head out to employment – either business or technical roles.

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, or getting your CV to the top of the pile.

But this isn’t just about student qualifications – it can also be used to provide training and qualifications for the wider community on campus, 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 universities and colleges offer the IT Academy programme. So it could be that your university is already doing it, and you could expand your use of it to meet more needs.

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 from around £1,100 for a university to become an IT Academy. And 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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