BTEC/Skillset or both?
BTEC are an examination board who fall under the Edexcel brand. Edexcel are a learning organisation who offer many vocational and general qualifications. The BTEC syllabus for Interactive Media is quite a vast document containing the required outcomes and content for each unit of study. They also provide advice on how to deliver each skill and give further guidance such as helpful websites and further reading exercises.
Skillset on the other hand are a Skills Council for the Audio Visual Industry. They are jointly funded by both the industry and the government and aim to make sure the industry has the right people with the right skills. From my point of view as a student they provide a helpful set of National Occupational Standards which state what skills you will need to work in the industry. This is quite wide ranging from Core Skills that are needed in each sector of the industry through to more specific areas such as “Manage Intellectual Property Rights” and “Design Electronic Games”.
The obvious difference between the two is that BTEC is an educational authority whereas Skillset is directly linked to the industry. This means that they both have quite different aims which both need to be taken into consideration by students leaning Interactive Media. The main aim of BTEC is to educate and train students to enable them to pass the course by meeting a selection of learning outcomes. The main aim for Skillset however as stated previously is to make sure the industry contains the right people with the right skills.
The BTEC syllabus contains learning outcomes for each unit with the aim of providing students with certain skills. The outcomes are quite broad however so can be interpreted in a number of ways. A good example of this is in Unit 22: New Technologies in Interactive Media. One of the learning outcomes for this unit was “Using new technology, produce a proposal for an interactive media product”.
Another main difference between the two is that unlike BTEC the Skillset Standards do not state how you would learn skills or provide additional support. The BTEC syllabus provides instructions on how each unit would be passed and provides support materials such as helpful books. One problem with this however is that the BTEC syllabus has not been updated since March 2005. This may mean that the support materials given are no longer appropriate. Due to the fast moving nature of the Interactive Media industry I feel that more regular updates are essential in order to maintain relevance with the industry.
I feel that relevance with the industry is a key concept when comparing BTEC with Skillset. The main aim of BTEC is to give students the appropriate qualifications to gain employment. The main aim of Skillset however is to make sure the industry remains competitive by containing people with the right skills. I think that they both compliment each other very well and both need to be taken into consideration by Interactive Media Students.