BTEC Higher Nationals Joining forces to fill a skills gap in Cloud Computing
Our journey with AWS started back in February 2020, when we met to discuss the clear skills gap emerging in the Cloud Computing sector. This was just as the COVID-19 pandemic was starting to escalate, which expedited the need for cloud technology even more than we could have imagined. We’re proud of the results that we have achieved together.
In January 2020 a Gartner report stated that "insufficient cloud IaaS skills will delay half of enterprise IT organizations’ migration to the cloud by two years or more. […] This is creating a market where service providers cannot train and certify people quickly enough to satisfy the need for skilled cloud professionals.”
Our collaboration with Amazon Web Services (AWS) resulted in the creation of Pearson BTEC Higher Nationals in Cloud Computing. Together with AWS we launched the qualifications and learning support, to meet increased demand for skills in this sector.
Collaborating with an employer partner
We develop our qualifications with external partners to ensure that we are meeting the needs of industry. In the case of Cloud Computing, we have taken this collaboration even further and worked with AWS to provide a wide range of materials and opportunities for our Higher National students and tutors.
Working with AWS has been collaborative and positive from the outset; regular meetings and communication via email has ensured a smooth process and excellent working relationship.
“Working with AWS on the Cloud Computing qualification was a really great experience. AWS are global leaders in the cloud space and having their expertise to support the development and ensure we embedded the right content and cloud skills into the qualification was pivotal.
The AWS team has been fantastic to collaborate with from the outset, and their knowledge on the cloud sector and the current and future need for cloud skills development has been invaluable.”
- Iram Bashir, Subject Lead for Computing & Technologies
More than a qualification
As well as collaborating to develop the qualifications themselves, we’ve worked with AWS across several initiatives to support our students and tutors. Each partnership is unique, and the below can provide a flavour of what can be achieved.
One of the unique features of this partnership is the provision of the AWS Support Pack; a comprehensive package of cloud learning resources mapped to in-demand IT jobs to support the delivery of the qualification. The Support Pack, available free of charge to centres and students on the Cloud Computing Higher Nationals, is available via the HN Global platform.
In addition, with education becoming increasingly aligned to certain skills, we knew it would be vital to align the qualification to industry certification. Therefore, upon completion of the level 4 Higher National Certificate (HNC), students will be suitably prepared to attempt the AWS Certified Cloud Practitioner exam, although it is recommended that students have six months of fundamental AWS Cloud and industry knowledge before taking the exam. There is also some alignment at level 5.
As established, there is a clear shortage of cloud skills, and in order to ensure that students can advance, we need to support teachers with their continual professional development. That is why we recently developed Bootcamp training with AWS, to support tutors to upskill in the field, and deliver the qualifications with technical confidence.
Embedding resources in the classroom
We’ve been pleased to see a variety of applications from institutions who want to deliver the Higher Nationals in Cloud Computing, across a range of markets internationally. Birmingham Metropolitan College are one of the first to deliver the qualifications, so we asked them to provide us with some insight into their delivery:
“There is currently a huge demand for cloud infrastructure skills, and that demand looks to continue well into the future. We therefore wanted a course that would provide an opportunity for our students to gain skills and experience in this sector. The Pearson Cloud Computing Higher National provides such an opportunity.
As part of the course the students get to use enterprise level systems to gain experience using systems that are used by professionals in the real world, which is invaluable for our students.
The AWS platform and AWS academy resources really aid and support the delivery of the various cloud modules that are part of the course. The exposure to Cloud Computing during the course has already inspired some of our students to pursue a career in Cloud Computing which they would not have considered prior to the course.”
- Ali Ershad, Department Manager Computing and ICT at Birmingham Metropolitan College
Meeting skills gaps with education solutions
Collaboration between education and industry is the future; it’s the most fool-proof way to ensure that learning is relevant. Our Higher Nationals in Cloud Computing are just one example of how strong partnerships with industry bring together expertise and solutions.
All sectors face challenges to meet skills gaps and meet future demands, and we’d love to help ensure that future generations are prepared with the skills needed to enter the future workplace.