Key IT professional bodies in the UK have joined forces in an attempt to give the Skills Framework for the Information Age (SFIA) a much-needed boost.
E-skills, the skills body behind the SFIA, has joined forces with the British Computer Society, the Institute of Management Information Systems (IMIS) and the Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers to kick start marketing and help improve uptake of the framework.
The SFIA was launched in June 2001 with funding from the Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) in an attempt to standardise job descriptions and make it easier to hire staff with the right skills and competencies for technical roles.
But disappointing adoption has left the framework in danger of losing momentum.
Terry Watts, chief operating officer at E-skills UK, told vnunet.com: "The problem with the SFIA was that there was no model to make it sustainable and we didn't have a product to help people take the model forward.
"The DTI funding has now run out but we need to be able to market it more than E-skills has been able to do."
Each of the member bodies has contributed £20,000 towards the project, and has committed to using SFIA as a route into their qualifications.
Around 40 companies in the UK, including Woolworths and Norwich Union, have already signed up to the model as part of their recruitment process for technical staff.
"As a framework it's been very well regarded, but people need tools to help them use it in their organisations," explained Watts.
"We don't have the resources within E-skills UK to take the SFIA into implementation. It's two years old now and we need to make sure that it's refined and developed as the industry changes."
Ian Rickwood, chief executive of IMIS, added that the foundation had been formed to ensure continuity of the SFIA.
"We are fully committed to the SFIA. We will promote it internally, and many of our members and students are international," he said.
"There isn't anything else like this in the world. It would be terrific for the UK to lead on this and we're doing everything we can to achieve this."
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