Why Develop DIVA?
High quality skills in ICT and digital media are fundamental to providing the solid platform for economic growth originally envisioned in the 'Smart Successful Scotland' strategy.
These skills are not only relevant in the specialist creative and digital industries, but also for employers in general, for citizens in their everyday lives as well as in employment, and not least for the future workforce. The Scottish Qualifications Authority is therefore committed to giving the people of Scotland the best available opportunities to develop world-class competencies in ICT and digital media.
To do this, high quality curriculum and awards are needed for users and professionals that are both relevant to current employer requirements and capable of addressing emerging industry trends across a number of programme areas.
The 2009 Review of DIVA drew the following conclusions:
- There is still strong interest by both vendors and practitioners in the aims and objectives of the DIVA partnership
- The SQA initiative in this area delivers against key policy objectives in Scotland to increase the amount of high quality industry-led vocational qualifications
- There are a number of relevant and timely vendor opportunities in relation to industry trends that the DIVA programme could exploit
- A broader collaborative approach and more responsive communications would help to strengthen the DIVA partnership and address the challenges of keeping up to date with industry developments
A review of key learning and skills policy in Scotland and the UK looked at whether DIVA is relevant and has a specific role to play in meeting policy objectives. It identified a good fit in a number of areas, notably:
- Skills for Scotland – A Lifelong Skills Strategy, published in 2007, references the Scottish Government’s commitment to the Lisbon Agenda and in particular the European Commission’s e-Skills Strategy to grow highly skilled ICT practitioners and users in order to develop a more competitive ICT sector. Much of the strategy resonates with the principles that lie at the heart of the DIVA programme, in terms of high quality vocational learning opportunities that will better equip learners for employment.
- Qualifying the Information Age, the Sector Qualifications and Learning Strategy for IT and Telecoms, published by e-Skills in 2008, affirms the value placed on vendor awards by employers and therefore the importance of formally recognising them in the awards system. Addressing this issue is one of the target areas for action in the e-skills Strategic Plan for Scotland 2009-2014, which emphasises development of qualifications and units that enable recognition of IT vendor awards within the SCQF. The DIVA partnership is referenced in the Strategic Plan as a contributor.
- The Sector Skills Agreement for the Creative Media Industries Scotland Update 2008-11, published by Skillset, likewise emphasises accreditation of industry training and recognition through the SCQF. In the associated Sector Qualifications Strategy Action Plan for Scotland, Skillset states that it would like to explore with SQA the means of accrediting industry training programmes valued by the sector and credit rating them on the SCQF.
- Digital Inspiration: Strategy for Scotland’s Digital Media Industry, published by The Scottish Digital Media Industry Advisory Group, calls for greater ambition and highlights the importance of international partnerships and collaborative networks to fuel innovation. The DIVA alliance of global industry vendors and associated network has potential to support this step change in sector development, in collaboration with the Skillset Academies.
- The HMIe Aspect Report on Computing, published in the autumn of 2009, covers vendor related awards in the IT and interactive media areas and comments favourably on SQA’s collaboration with vendors through DIVA to add value to HN awards and benefit learners.
- Creative Britain: New Talents for the New Economy, published February 2008, calls on industry and academia, ‘to build ever-stronger links in the interests of bridging gaps in skills provision.’ The DIVA alliance already embodies these links.
- Digital Britain followed in 2009, along with the associated skills gap analysis by e-Skills and Skillset reported separately in: Digital Britain: creating the Skills for the Digital Economy. There is no explicit mention of vendor qualifications, but there is a strong emphasis on meeting industry requirements including reform of the school curriculum. The range of vendor-linked awards developed through DIVA includes some exciting developments in the school curriculum with potential for delivering new Curriculum for Excellence objectives.
- The DBIS report New Industry, New Jobs, published in April 2009, specifically mentions technology as a driver that will determine skills investment. This corroborates the SQA DIVA strategy of collaborating with global vendors to benefit from their investment in new curriculum and certifications to support advances in technology.
SQA is of the opinion that partnerships with leading ICT and digital media vendors are a vital component in gaining an understanding of industry trends and requirements and in creating in reality the kind of responsive framework at the heart of the Lifelong Learning Strategy.