VQManager reports
 
 
 

SkillWise News & Views 

VQManager reports

SkillWise News & Views    

Find out what's been going on at SkillWise HQ 
August '17 - Why should you use an independent e-portfolio? 
Increasingly, Awarding Organisations (AOs) are not only offering their own e-portfolios, but suggesting to their customers that these are the only e-portfolios they should use. 
But what happens if you deliver qualifications from a number of different AOs?Providers are faced with a potential situation where they will need to run multiple  
e-portfolios, to satisfy the different AOs. That means people having to be trained on different systems, some people being trained on multiple systems and the technical integration with your learner management system, that will have to be solved multiple times too. 
 
Even if you only use one AO, what happens if you want to switch to a different AO? Your users will all need to learn a new system and you may also be ransomed by your previous AO because you’re relying on them to commit to provide you with ongoing access to your historic learner data. 
 
Clearly either of these would be a very unsatisfactory situation. 
 
VQManager is entirely independent and has been accredited by all the major AOs. Independent means that we can load qualifications and standards from any AO, or even programmes designed by yourselves. If you use VQManager and decide to change your AO, you keep your existing e-portfolio and you keep your data. Isn’t that a better solution? 
 
June '17 - Congratulations DA Training 
When you see the high quality of their delivery, and realise that they have qualified over 600 learners, it's hard to believe that DA Training is just five years old. 
It was my pleasure yesterday to travel to Eastleigh to attend their annual awards ceremony, which  
also coincided with their fifth anniversary. 
 
The venue, filled with very enthusiastic and complimentary employers, and very motivated and impressive learners, reminded me how proud I am of our association with DA, and how genuinely excited I am for the prospects of the excellent young apprentices they produce. 
 
A recurring theme within the apprentices' stories was one of them not just gaining a qualification, but also of making huge gains in their own confidence and rapidly becoming high performing and valued team members. 
 
What a great testimonial that is - DA Training we wish you all the very best for the next five years! 
 
January '17 - SkillWise UK celebrates 5 years in South Africa 
 
This month, SkillWise UK is very proud to celebrate the 5 year anniversary of the relationship with our sister company in South Africa, Green Rainbow. 
SkillWise MD Paul Greenhalgh says "Green Rainbow has been incredibly successful in  
negotiating important operating agreements with the sector-controlling SETAs, as well as agreeing valuable commercial agreements with South African customers. The SA version of VQManager, called Assessment Manager, is proving invaluable to a number of organisations involved in the delivery of South African qualifications". 
 
If you have an interest in the Southern African region, please go to Green Rainbow's website at www.greenrainbow.co.za 
 
Sept '16 - VQManager celebrates its first decade! 
Wow, how time flies! Exactly 10 years ago this month, the very first version of our e-portfolio VQManager went live at Edinburgh City Council. 
Since the, VQManager has become the preferred e-portfolio of many colleges, private training  
providers, employers, government departments, NHS regions and a legion of overseas organisations - all delivering competancy-based qualifications. 
 
Guided by our customers' feedback, development of the e-portfolio has never ceased and of course with legislation changes still being a big part of our lives, that development is occuring as rapidly now, as it ever has. 
 
We look forward to continuing to work with our existing customers, as well as welcoming a raft of new customers over the next ten years. 
 
May '16 - Welcome to the new website! 
We are very proud to officially launch our new look website. It has been designed to provide you with as much information as possible. 
If you are a potential new customer, you will be able to find plenty of information about how VQManager, our flagship e-portfolio, is helping organisations just like yours to  
deliver work-based qualifications easily and efficiently. You will also find contact details – we would love to speak with you to provide any further information you require. 
 
For our existing customers, you will see that we have restructured the Support area to provide even quicker access to the training or help items. We will continue to add resources into this area, particularly around the training videos that are proving to be so helpful to so many of you. This area is password protected; if you need help with the password please don’t hesitate to get in touch with either your Centre Administrator or with our SkillWise Webmaster kari@skillwise.net 
 
We hope you find the site informative and interesting – feel free to give us your feedback. 
 
April '15 - SkillWise Grand Prix 
SkillWise was once again proud to celebrate its partnership with Capita Further and Higher Education by attending both of Capita’s annual conferences this April.  
To bring out the delegates’ competitive spirits, we ran the SkillWise Grand Prix at both the  
 
Huddersfield and Reading conferences. We are pleased to confirm that the winners were Neil Parry (Huddersfield) and David Cox (Reading). Not all the driving was up to quite such a high standard as the winners, however, and we sincerely hope that people had safe journeys home! 
 
February '15 - SkillWise Support of Internet Explorer 8 
Microsoft will cease to provide support for its browser product IE 8 in January 2016. IE 8 has a well-documented history of security concerns and we would advise any remaining users to cease using it as soon as possible, and by January 2016 at the very latest. 
So that we can focus our development time on building functionality that will have the longest possible life expectancy, during the final 12 months of any browser’s life we do not guarantee that all new SkillWise development will be compatible with the outgoing browser. 
 
VQManager will of course continue to be fully supported for all of the most common current browsers (including more recent versions of Internet Explorer), of which there are many. 
 
If you have any functionality issues which are related to your use of IE8, we would be very happy to advise you of alternative browsers. 
 
July '17 - Free Coaster! 
Using VQManager and VQMobile saves you time in your busy working day - so why not take a break, have a cup of tea or coffee and have a free coaster on us! Please get in touch with chrisnewton@skillwise.net and we will be very happy to send you this smart glass coaster
 
 
April '17 - SkillWise supports Capita at annual conference 
In late March SkillWise was proud to support Capita at its annual Further & Higher Education Conference. Unsurprisingly, much of the discussion amongst the delegates focused on New Apprenticeship Standards and SkillWise was pleased to be able to offer advice and share some of the experiences of its clients. Many of the attendees  
were in agreement that whilst not all of the new Standards’ Assessment Plans specifically required portfolios of evidence, an e-portfolio was essential in providing the Training Partner with the confidence that the learner was ready for end point assessment. 
 
November '16 - Autumn User Group meeting 
We have great pleasure in inviting you to join us for our 2016 VQManager User Group. 
At SkillWise, we believe the best way to ensure that VQManager continues to provide the best possible support, is to ask you, the users. User group meetings are an opportunity for  
VQManager users to get together and share experiences. 
 
We will review the many system enhancements that we have developed since the last User Group meeting and we will have an open forum session during which you the users can motivate and vote for the enhancements that you'd like us to carry out over the forthcoming months. 
 
The meeting will be held on Tuesday 8th November between 09h30 and 16h00, with a break for lunch which will be provided. The location of the event is Tuttons, Covent Garden, London 
 
Spaces are limited, so please let us know as soon as possible if you would like to attend:. kari@skillwise.net 
 
April '16 - New Apprenticeship Standards update 
As we are all aware, there is currently significant activity in our industry associated with the impending transition to New apprenticeship Standards. 
At SkillWise we are committed to continuing to provide a tool that supports our customers, 
whether they are delivering current style qualifications, New Apprenticeship Standards or a combination of the two. 
 
As the ‘shape’ of the New Standards - and particularly the Assessment Plans associated with them - have become clearer we have monitored Government, Representative Bodies and end users to gather their thoughts and opinions. It has become clear that the e-portfolio required to support the delivery of the New standards has a different set of requirements to the traditional e-portfolios we have become used to. 
 
Over a year ago we developed a solution for an organisation delivering qualifications that are structured in exactly the same way as the New Standards. The feedback from that project has been consistently outstanding, so we have effectively had the opportunity to trial our New Apprenticeship Standards solution ahead of the broad Standards roll-out. We are extremely pleased that we are in this fortunate situation, where we can offer a tracking solution that doesn’t just look good, it comes with excellent industry in-use credentials. 
 
We will keep you updated in terms of our progress – but in the meantime we’d really appreciate input from as many different sectors as possible. If you would like to offer suggestions, or if you would like to trial our new solution, please just let us know and we will be delighted to hear your thoughts. 
 
October '15 - Apple upgrade in progress 
Users of Apple products will be aware that Apple has just released a new version of its operating system called IOS9. 
As is often the case, the changes Apple makes mean that providers of apps such as ourselves 
also have to make changes in order to ensure continuing compatability. 
 
We are well progresses with the changes that we need to make, but until we release a message saying that they are complete, we would urge all users to delay the IOS9 upgrade. 
 
Thank you 
 
April '15 - Apprenticeship reforms 
This year, the greatest challenge facing any organization operating within the apprenticeship arena will be adapting to the changes brought about through the Apprenticeship Reform initiative.  
Like it or loathe it, it’s here to stay and month by month we are all gaining a clearer picture of  
the structures of the New Apprenticeship Standards and the processes that will be required to successfully deliver them. 
 
Here at SkillWise we have our finger firmly on the pulse, and we are continually modifying our plans to enhance VQManager so that the moment the new qualifications become a reality, your e-portfolio will be ‘New Apprenticeship Standard Ready’ and will continue to support you, just as it has since 2006. 
 
Watch this news section for further updates, and do please let us know if you wish to share personal views or insights in this area. 
 
January '15 - Electronic signature or digital signature? 
There's a lot of discussion at the moment about electronic signature, and its acceptability in a wide range of certification and funding scenarios. 
However, there is also an awful lot of confusion about what electronic signature actually is, and 
how it differs from digital signature. 
 
Electronic signature is in fact nothing more than a facsimile of an ink signature. Whether created on-screen or by scanning a real signature, electronic signatures are a means of attaching a facsimile signature to a document. 
 
By their nature, electronic signatures are particularly weak - how easy is it for a waiter to obtain a copy of your signature, for instance? Accordingly, they are in many cases not deemed to be valid for legal purposes. 
 
A digital signature, however, is quite different. These use typically two components to create an electronic 'fingerprint'. A good example is a bank card's chip and PIN - the PIN is known exclusively to the card owner and so the bank is comfortable authorising substantial transactions for the holder of both the chip and the PIN. 
 
VQManager also employs the use of digital signature - once a user has logged into VQManager using their unique username and password, every interaction they subsequently make during their session effectively has a digital signature attached to it. 
 
So when the topic of electronic signature next crops up, perhaps it's worth checking that everyone really understands the difference between electronic and digital signatures. VQManager's use of digital signature is designed to offer you the very best authentication possible.