Leading IT players in higher education and industry training to address ‘most pressing’ skills gap in IT


A ground-breaking collaboration between The Open University and Global Knowledge, a worldwide leader in IT and business skills training, has today launched a new Postgraduate Certificate (PGC) for IT Service Managers (ITSM). The Postgraduate Certificate in Advanced Professional Practice (IT Service Management) combines existing Information Technology Infrastructure Library (ITIL®) best practice education with modules developed by The Open University. It aims to support ITSMs increasingly important role and asks them to assess how they apply what they learn in the workplace.

The certificate will benefit both employers, by focusing staff development on broader business objectives, and individuals, who receive a transferable academic qualification that recognises experience gained through the existing ITIL® best practise publications, but in a way that demonstrates capability in the workplace.


The importance of finding a new approach to ITSM education can be seen in research published by e-skills UK that found professional (postgraduate) ITSM skills will be the most pressing learning need in the IT industry over the next decade [1]. The report estimates that of the additional IT skills required by the UK PLC up to 2020, 40% will be in service management. Yet whilst some sections of the IT industry are starting to mature, service management has remained an area with little scope for practitioners to prove their worth through robust academic qualifications. ITIL® is the worldwide ITSM standard, owned by the Cabinet Office that provides best practice guidelines but does not require the individual to prove they can apply them in the workplace.


Kevin Streater, Head of IT Industry Engagement at The Open University: “Despite it being the skills 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, The Open University and Global Knowledge are bridging the gap between individuals getting certified and organisations seeing the benefit.”


Allan Pettman, UK Managing Director at Global Knowledge: “ITIL® remains important and as the IT industry continues to mature we need to develop it even further to demonstrate the professionalism in ITSM that is required for broader organisational success. With this new postgraduate certificate we are enabling employees to demonstrate they can apply what they have learnt in their day-to-day role and the tangible difference it has made to their organisation. They also get a more transferable qualification within a recognisable academic framework that proves their capability to existing and prospective employers.”


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


“The 100,000 ITSMs working in the UK today are integral to the success of their organisation, with the resource and responsibility to strategically embed technology to best achieve business objectives. This is a huge change in role and requires modern ITSMS to be great communicators, people managers and strategic thinkers. This must be reflected in how we develop this and future generations.”

The new PGC builds on Global Knowledge’s ITIL® training curriculum with modules jointly developed by The Open University’s Business School and Faculty of Mathematics, Computing and Technology.  The certificate provides students with full Open University and Global Knowledge tutor support throughout the one year course, and recognises their existing ITIL® experience. The certificate can also be counted towards a Masters in Technology Management, an MBA or other Masters level learning programmes.


This initiative from The Open University and Global Knowledge represents a new model for innovative commercial and academic partnerships that can be rolled out across industry to address critical skills gaps in other areas.


Whilst IT continues to interact with the rest of the business, it has created a need for IT Professionals to develop a more ‘rounded’ set of business competencies. Global Knowledge has aligned its portfolio to IT skills standards in order to help organisations develop the skills of their workforce. They offer learning programmes in areas such as Project Management, enterprise architecture frameworks (including TOGAF) and Business Skills for IT Professionals – which is part of its ‘building performance’ series.