The Open University (OU) has launched a postgraduate certificate in IT service management to help address the IT skills gap.

The OU has joined forces with training firm Global Knowledge to launch the Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Professional Practice (IT Service Management), which combines existing Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL) best practice education with modules developed by the OU’s business school and faculty of mathematics, computing and technology.

The university said the certificate will benefit both employers, by focusing staff development on broader business objectives, and individuals, who will receive a transferable academic qualification "that demonstrates capability in the workplace".

Research published by e-skills UK found that professional ITSM skills would be a pressing learning need in the IT industry over the next decade, where 40 percent of the UK skills required up to 2020 would be in service management.

Kevin Streater, head of IT industry engagement at the OU, said: “Despite it being the skill set IT employers demand most of all, service management has for many years been one of the least covered topics in higher education.

"At the same time industry certificates don’t always convince employers of their successful application. By combining an existing training infrastructure with an independent and robust academic pathway, we are bridging the gap between individuals getting certified and organisations seeing the benefit.”

Ben Clacy, chief executive of The IT Service Management Forum, said: “The e-skills figures from last year represent a growing awareness of the value of ITSM skills in industry, but we also need to improve the profession’s underlying personal development programmes to better reflect the changing nature of the role.”

Clacy said the 100,000 IT service management professionals working in the UK needed to be "great communicators, people managers and strategic thinkers".

The certificate provides students with full Open University and Global Knowledge tutor support throughout the one-year course. The certificate can be counted towards a Masters in Technology Management, an MBA or other Masters-level learning programmes.

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