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Primary and secondary ICT teachers have been taking advantage of the opportunity to learn new skills from employers at a series of training days organised by e-skills UK.

The sessions, part of the Vital Specialist programme, have been hosted by a number of large IT employers, including IBM, Oracle and Microsoft.

IBM hosted three separate days to help teachers develop their project management skills. Delivered by IBM project managers, the attendees were taken through the steps in a project lifecycle, based on a set of activities for a fictional project. Over 50 teachers attended.

In addition, Oracle hosted sessions in London and Solihull focusing on multimedia and apps development, which included a presentation from a professional apps developer.

At Microsoft’s training day, held at its Reading HQ, teachers were shown how to use the free software and resources that Microsoft Research and the Microsoft “Partners in Learning” initiative make available to education. Over 60 teachers attended on the day.

The training days are part of e-skills UK’s work to help ICT teachers at key stage 4 and 5 acquire specialist ICT skills they need for the classroom, as part of the Vital teacher CPD programme run in partnership with the Open University.

Industry connections

Research has shown that specialist teachers need industry insight as well as regular updates as to what is new in IT, and e-skills UK has been working with employers to provide this through these workshops.

Karen Price, CEO of e-skills UK, said, “Bringing in employers to support the delivery of the Vital Specialist programme is particularly valuable to teachers, giving them unique insight into how the industry is using technology and providing them with plenty of ideas as to how to share these experiences with learners.”

The next workshop, on the 1st December (tomorrow) at the Open University offices in Gateshead, will focus on project management and will be led by north east IT sector employers.

Last week, the BCS warned that schools ICT learning was not good enough. It welcomed the government's proposed review of the national curriculum as an opportunity to address its concerns.