How Do I Become a FITS Training Partner?

At The FITS Foundation we provide several levels of training to both technical and non-technical staff in educational establishments, some of which are accredited through the SQA (Scottish Qualifications Authority). These training courses are delivered either through training partner organisations or through training consultants working on a freelance basis for us and are covered by our FITS Foundation Services Agreement.
There are several requirements that must be met before you can be accepted as a FITS Foundation training partner organisation. This document outlines those requirements, many of which are requirements placed upon us by our awarding body, SQA.

Training Partner Requirements

One of our main considerations in appointing a training partner is whether we consider them to be a good fit for the role of delivering the FITS courses and accreditations. It is important for us that the training partner can remain impartial when delivering and invigilating courses and examinations.

The examinations are conducted under normal closed book examination conditions and invigilated by the course trainer. It is important that the trainer conducts that invigilation as if he/she were a member of the SQA or FITS Foundation staff. Candidate results are monitored closely to identify any unusual activity.

Knowledge of the Market

Training partners, and more particularly their trainers, must have a good understanding of the education sector and technical support within that sector. In order to provide the best learning experience to the candidates it is vital that the trainer can relate to the role of the technician or member of school staff on the course.

Site Selection Survey

Having satisfied ourselves that the proposed training partner is a good fit, we then undertake a site selection survey at the training partner’s premises. This survey identifies that the partner organisation has adequate health and safety policies in place. We require copies of the their health and safety policy which should also include details of their fire evacuation procedures, details of trained first aid personnel and contact details of local accident and emergency facilities.

Confidentiality

The FITS Foundation enters the minimum personal candidate data onto the examination system to enable them to sit an examination. We need assurance from the site that any personal data passed to them will be handled in a confidential and secure manner. Evidence of registration with Data Protection or similar will suffice here.

Accessibility

It is important that all candidates have equal opportunity to undertake our courses and examinations. As part of the Site Selection Survey we require details of facilities for disabled access to the training and examination rooms, whether you have special large key keyboards and special mice available for visually impaired and those with difficulty using a traditional mouse.

Access to equipment, materials and staff

Finally, the Site Selection Survey identifies contact details of your support personnel should the trainer need help with using the equipment along with any support materials (such as user manuals) that may be needed.

Course candidates

The training partner is expected to source the candidates for their own courses. They will normally do this as part of their normal marketing activity to the education sector. However, The FITS Foundation also undertake marketing activity and from time to time may ask the training partner to include on their courses some of their candidates that The FITS Foundation has identified.

Training venue

The training partner provides the venue for the courses and examinations and this venue or venues are included in the Site Selection Survey to ensure that they conform to the standards required. The training partner will provide refreshments for candidates that will normally consist of tea/coffee on arrival, morning and afternoon tea/coffee breaks and a buffet lunch.

Trainers

The training partner will normally provide one or more trainers to deliver and accredit the FITS courses. In some instances, the training provider may opt for the FITS Foundation to provide a trainer and we are happy to do that where possible.

To become an accredited FITS Foundation trainer individuals are required to attend the train-the-trainer course applicable to the course they will be training and sit and pass the relevant examination. We currently have two main levels of FITS training, Practitioner and Advanced, both of which include an NVQ equivalent examination. The FITS Courses are now listed on the Qualifications and Credit Framework (QCF) at level 3 and level 4.

To deliver training for both courses the trainer would need to attend both train-the-trainer courses and pass both examinations. The current cost of train-the-trainer courses is £500 plus vat for both the Practitioner and Advanced courses. Following completion of the train-the-trainer course and successfully passing the relevant examination, the trainer then delivers their first course where their presentation is assessed by our training manager. There is a cost of £500 plus vat for the invigilation exercise. If that goes well they are then accepted as an accredited FITS trainer and awarded The FITS Accredited Trainer certificate.

They are then assessed annually to ensure that they are still up to standard and can have their accreditation renewed for a further 12 months. There is a cost of £500 plus vat for these assessments.

Marketing

As mentioned above while we undertake a certain level of marketing of our services centrally, we do expect all of our training partners to source training candidates from their own contacts within the sector. To help you with that we have created a range of marketing material that we make available to you.

FITS Accredited Courses

There are currently 2 FITS accredited courses that training partners are able to deliver. The first of these is the Level 3 ICT Support in Education – Practitioner. This course runs over 2 days and is priced at £510 plus vat. It consists of 1 ½ days of teaching/classroom work followed by a revision and examination.

The second FITS accredited course is the Level 4 ICT Support in Education – Advanced. This course runs over 3 days and is priced at £710 plus vat. It consists of 2 ½ days of teaching/classroom work followed by a revision and examination. It is a requirement that candidates have sat and passed the Practitioner course in order to attend the Advanced course.

The cost of both courses includes the course delivery, a bound course reference manual (300+ pages), comb bound courseware and exercise work and the entrance fee to the SQA examination.

All of the administration work involved in providing course material to the training partner and registering candidates on the examination system is undertaken by The FITS Foundation centrally. The examination certificates are posted to candidates direct by SQA.

Benefits of FITS to the candidate

Although technicians attend many manufacture specific courses, like the Microsoft MCSA, there was no recognised service management qualification available. The FITS accreditations provide internationally recognised qualifications that carry credits towards higher qualifications and are highly prized by technicians.

During the time that FITS was being supported by Becta, technicians were constantly asking for a recognised qualification. The FITS Foundation has now provided that.

Benefits of FITS to the school

We have seen time and again that the implementation of FITS in a school saves on the cost of ICT support, provides improved teacher confidence and has a positive impact on teaching and learning experiences and outcomes. One of the long term users of FITS, Tower Hamlets, report a saving of up to 25% on the cost of their ICT support.

Wykersley High School and Sports College are now able to provide hands-on technical help in the classroom as a result of FITS freeing up technician resource.

Benefits of FITS to the training partner

The ICT Services Framework that was put together by Becta and is now managed by the DfE, stipulates that all managed service providers on that framework must qualify their in-school support staff to Practitioner level, must have advanced level staff available and have all of their support staff with a working knowledge of FITS.

Accredited Training partners are the only organisations allowed to deliver this training. Over time schools will insist that all technicians providing technical support in their schools have this level of qualification. That provides the training partner with excellent opportunities for on-going business.

The number of technicians that have qualified through our courses is growing all the time. We are now starting to see FITS qualification as a requirement on technical support job specs in schools. FITS is rapidly becoming the de facto standard for service management in education both in the UK and internationally.

Summary

Since its formation in September 2009, The FITS Foundation has made great strides in raising the awareness of the tremendous benefits of a structured, standard approach to technical support through FITS. Over 600 technicians have passed the Practitioner examination and many of those have gone on to pass the Advanced qualification also.

FITS is now being rolled out in Australia where FITS has been highly regarded for many years. Regular courses are being delivered and candidates are sitting and passing the same examinations as those in the UK.

The Norwegian Centre for ICT in Education is a more recent training and strategic FITS partner. To date 35 technicians have undertaken the FITS Practitioner course which is delivered in Norwegian there. Additional trainers are being sourced to enable them to roll out FITS training across Norway in 2012.

The budget constraints imposed by the difficult economic times that we are experiencing require all educational establishments to get the very best value for money available. Implementing FITS has shown time and again that adoption of a structured, consistent approach to technical support not only saves money but has a positive impact on teaching and learning experiences and outcomes.

The whole purpose for any of us being involved in education should be to provide the best possible teaching and learning environment for staff and pupils. We are proud to be able to say that FITS contributes to that aim.

Leave a Reply

Keep Safe Online – Internet Safety Course

News Update

We have now included the FITS Internet Safety course within the FITS members area providing even more value for our members.
If you are not already a FITS member or your membership has expired we encourage you to join now to get the Internet Safety course at a much cheaper rate than it was previously.
Check out the Internet Safety course with us

News

Ruby on Rails - Serious exploit
This item is a heads up in case you are running Ruby on Rails. There is a serious exploit for RoR out in the wild. Full information is posted here

If you are not running any Ruby on Rails websites then this does not affect you.

Testimonials

"... Indeed I do see FITS as an adapted for education variation of ITIL, as the industry standard (ITIL) is quite hard to implement "by the book" in an educational organization"
- Todor Kotsev - ICT Services Manager/ITIL Service Designer




“… absolutely perfect content for our current IT environment. Extremely relevant.” “… George was a brilliant presenter. If we were to have any further training we would like to request him."
Taryn Hauritz – Director of Learning Technologies

Request Our Report




The FITS Foundation sponsors