SFIA adoption increases in Australia

Skills framework for the information age adopted by ACS, government

Australian businesses are beginning to adopt the skills framework for the information age (SFIA) in an attempt to manage IT staff skills, a consulting company has claimed.

The framework, developed in the UK after its government sought out a model for describing skills and competency levels in the IT industry, has been adopted by the Australian Computer Society (ACS), with Ensys Consulting recently announcing that it is the first Australian IT consulting group to become an accredited partner in Australia.

In a statement to Computerworld Australia, Ensys Consulting’s senior consultant, Keith Butcher, said the move to SFIA standards is increasing across the industry.

“SFIA is really gaining traction across the country,” he wrote. “The ACS has adopted SFIA as part of their Certified Professional Membership. In addition the government have publicly announced they have included SFIA in their overall framework.”

Butcher said the SFIA provides clarity around issues of competency skills in the IT industry, with the commonwealth and some state governments undertaking adoption, as well as Westpac and Queensland Rail.

“After speaking with many senior managers the feedback has been very positive with some managers saying ‘It is a bit like walking into a dark room and switching the light on’,” Butcher said. “SFIA provides clear visibility on the IT skills your resources (assets) have and enables organisations to finally have transferable knowledge.”

The framework uses a two-dimensional model that defines seven competency levels across 90 skill sets and is aimed at ensuring the right staff members are allocated the right jobs, and is aimed at improving recruitment and retention.

Butcher said with the SFIA being the standard for IT skills in both the UK and the US, it is only a matter of time before more organisations will embrace the framework across Australia.

The introduction of the SFIA comes as another skills index, the Clarius Skills Index, found that shortages in business analysts and IT support staff emerged earlier this year, with the expansion of NBN Co being blamed as a contributing factor.

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