Making IT Support FIT: A Course delivered by XMA that every ICT Support Technician Should Attend

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A long time ago in a galaxy far, far away (all right it was Coventry in 2003) FITS (Framework For ICT Technical Support) was created by soon to be closed BECTA. FITS unlike its creator is far from closed and is growing stronger by the day. FITS is a framework for the education IT support sector based on a version of ITIL (Information Technology Infrastructure Library) and every education ICT support technician should have this framework in their arsenal .

About FITS

In 2009 in a smart move as part of making FITS an independently run, international standard for IT Support in education, The FITS Foundation was created as a spin off from Becta, which was a smart move in hind-sight, with the recent announcement of the closure of Becta. This also allowed for FITS materials to be reviewed and relaunched as well, to fit in with FITS becoming an internationally accredited qualification.

The framework is run by the FITS Foundation, they have created a mechanism in order that educational technical staff become certified with an NVQ Level qualification. There are a number of training providers one of which is XMA, Nottingham based supplier of IT hardware, supplies, services & solutions who provide two different levels of training; Practitioner level that is designed for ICT support technicians and Advanced level, aimed at Network Managers who have undertaken the first stage.

FITS Training Course Provided By XMA

I was lucky enough to be given the chance to sample the training off ered by XMA at their training premises in Nottingham by undertaking the FITS Practitioner course. XMA are putting a large amount of energy into providing FITS throughout the Midlands and North of England, They have assembled a team to promote and provide FITS to schools and to provide a truly great experience from when you first book until you leave the course.

As soon as I arrived, one of the XMA FITS team welcomed me and took me over to the training room. Throughout the course there was always someone from the XMA FITS team available to ask questions and to guide and help you.

The first thing to strike me was that XMA do not view this as just another course to sell. Everyone I spoke to at XMA about the course did truly believe the course could really help professionalise the IT support industry within the education sector, even on my course there were eight XMA ICT support technicians from the company’s Birmingham School’s team.

An important part of any course is the facilities especially if spending two whole days there. The room was a perfect size, refreshments were available throughout the day, the location is easily accessible and even the lunch was nice.

The training is split into two days the first day going over each area of the FITS process and how they interlink with each other. The second day involves looking at a number of case studies, dissecting them, time for revision and then the all important exam.

Day 1

Day one started with the obligatory introductions including one from our trainer Steve. They say that a trainer makes a course and this was certainly true in this case. The problem when teaching any framework is that you can risk the training becoming dry. Steve from the outset made the course interesting, varied and most importantly relevant.

In addition, the course materials provided are excellent. Copies of all slides are available and a reference manual for the FITS process carrying a wide range of information, are handed out to assist in implementing the framework within your school.

The course is fast paced yet easy to follow and by the end of day we had covered all but one of the process areas.

Day 2

The first part of day two was a recap of day 1 and followed by covering the final process section.

Then the course gets down to some real work making sure you can put into practice the knowledge you have gained. We then split into groups and given case studies to pick apart and feedback to the class in which we compared and discussed our findings. This was particularly useful as it put the processes into context.

After lunch we were given 45 minutes of revision time while they set up the room for the exam. This was probably the most nerve-racking part of the two days trying to make sure you can remember acronyms used and really understand the information in your head.

The Exam

The exam is taken online and is multiple-choice. The interface was easy to use and understand (a full demonstration is given).

The overall experience of the course provided by XMA was excellent; from all the staff, the facilities (it is on the edge of a nature area which is useful for 5 minutes of peace in your break) to the trainer.

I highly recommend the XMA FITS course to anyone working within ICT Support in education (even if you have done ITIL – the course covers information not on the ITIL exam) as it provides you with invaluable information that can improve everyICT support technician and team.

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Russell Dyas

 I am a technologist.. I am a geek.. Who has a passion for providing honest advice, sharing resources and connecting people and ideas together. Currently working for Rencore.