APMG, a specialist accreditation and examination body, has announced announcing the scheme for ITIL v3 qualifications at the official launch of ITIL v3 by IT developer, the Office of Government Commerce (OGC) this week.

The new ITIL qualifications scheme recognises the value of existing v2 qualifications and introduces a system that enables an individual to gain credits for ITIL v2 and v3 courses. Once candidates accumulate a sufficient number of credits they can be awarded the ITIL Diploma in IT Service Management.

There are four levels within the new scheme namely: foundation level, two Intermediate levels, and advanced level, which is currently under development. To achieve a diploma, candidates must achieve 22 credits, two of which can be gained at foundation level.

The foundation level focuses on knowledge and comprehension to provide a good grounding in the key concepts, terminology and processes of ITIL v3. At this level, the qualification remains very similar to the ITIL v2 Foundation qualification.

In the new intermediate level, there are two streams: a lifecycle stream and a capability stream. The lifecycle stream is built around the five core v3 OGC books: service strategies, service design, service introduction, service operation, and continuous service improvement.

The intermediate capability stream is built around four clusters: service portfolio & relationship management; service design & optimisation; service monitoring & control; and service and support.

Both intermediate streams assess an individual’s comprehension and application of the concepts of ITIL v3.

Candidates are able to take units from either of the intermediate streams. These units give them credits towards a diploma. There is a course – Managing across the Lifecycle - that brings together the full essence of a lifecycle approach to service management.

Once someone has gained the requisite number of 22 credits through their education at foundation and intermediate level they will be awarded the ITIL v3 Diploma. No further examination or course is required to gain the diploma.

The Advanced Level Diploma will assess an individual’s ability to apply and analyse the ITIL v3 concepts in new areas. This higher Diploma has not been developed at this stage. Individuals with existing ITIL v2 Qualifications can use those qualifications as credits towards the diploma.

Any ITIL v2 manager who wishes to gain the v3 Diploma can take a bridging course and pass an examination. The three day course covers the new concepts within ITIL v3 and fully integrates the benefits of the lifecycle approach. There is a also a one day bridging course at foundation which covers the differences between v2 and v3 and allows someone to take an exam to demonstrate their understanding of the ITIL v3 approach.

ITIL v2 Practitioner qualifications count towards the ITIL Diploma in Service Management. Depending on whether an individual holds a single topic certificate or a clustered certificate the credits will vary.

It is recommended that candidates discuss their current qualifications in ITIL v2 with their Accredited Training Organisations to establish how many credits they hold towards the Diploma.

Richard Pharro, managing director, APMG said the work by its examination panel was key in developing the idea of a credit system leading to the award of a Diploma in ITIL service management. "This provides clear structure for an individual to develop their professional understanding and career. In particular it enables both individuals and companies to establish inspirational personal development programmes within an internationally recognised framework of qualifications," he said.