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November 2006 - ECDL Foundation Global Licensee Awards Results Announced

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The winners of the ECDL Foundation Licensee Awards were announced at a gala dinner event in Dubrovnik, Croatia on 2nd November, 2006. These prestigious Awards were established to reward excellence and leadership among the ECDL and ICDL Licensees that deliver ECDL Foundation's range of computer skills certifications at a national level in 146 countries around the world. The ECDL Foundation Licensee Awards recognise ECDL Foundation's Licensees who demonstrate best practice and innovation in the implementation of ECDL Foundation's programmes in the areas of Social Contribution, Product Marketing, Public Relations and Operational Excellence.

ECDL Foundation is the leading provider of end-user computer skills certifications worldwide and is the global governing body and licensing authority of the European Computer Driving Licence (ECDL), the internationally recognised standard for end-user computer skills. In addition to the ECDL / ICDL, the ECDL Foundation has a rapidly expanding product range which includes certifications catering for every level of computer-use experience from complete beginners to expert end-users and users with specialised interests. ECDL Foundation's product range is delivered at a national level by ECDL and ICDL Licensees around the world who are licensed by the ECDL Foundation based on a strict set of standards and quality guidelines.

All ECDL and ICDL Licensees were invited to submit projects for assessment in these Awards by an independent panel of international experts which included Antonio Herrera, Networking Academy Manager, Europe, M East, Africa and Latin America, Cisco Systems; Paul Skehan, Deputy Secretary General, Eurochambres Academy; and Kurt Gladh, former Chairman and Director of ECDL Foundation Board and ex CEO ECDL Sweden.

Speaking at the Awards, ECDL Foundation's CEO Mr Damien O’Sullivan said, “The ECDL Foundation Licensee Awards have been established to reward exceptional Licensee activities in the areas of Product Marketing, Operational Excellence, Social Contribution and Public Relations. Each of our winning Licensees has shown a real commitment to excellence and leadership in their activities in these areas and we rightly salute them for that. These Awards represent a real achievement for the winning Licensees and demonstrate the high level of commitment to best practice and leadership within the ECDL/ICDL global organisation. It is these qualities which have helped to build our considerable reputation and have made us the leading organisation in the field of end-user computer skills. I look forward to building on that achievement and continuing to foster and reward excellence with these Awards.”

The Award for Social Contribution was designed to showcase remarkable client wins or programme roll-outs that demonstrate the capacity of the ECDL / ICDL to add value and make a difference to society and/or the lives of individuals. This Award was presented to ICDL South Africa in recognition of its work with the Namibia Ministry of Education. Together, they have put a programme in place which will go far past the education of learners in ICT - the programme is called Tech/Na and it will see all teachers in Namibia gaining their ICDL. In parallel, all School leavers and those who were not able to complete 12 years of education will be given an opportunity to gain their ICDL. As a result of this, it is hoped that Namibia will be a country able to embrace the opportunities which computer competency can offer. This initiative has attracted backup and support from 50 different companies, government departments and NGO’s in Namibia.

The Public Relations – Importance of Digital Literacy Award is presented to the Licensee that has started and participated in debate about the importance of Digital Literacy generally and who can also introduce their own solutions to the problem. This Award was presented to the British Computer Society (BCS), who took their marketing and promotion with e-Citizen a step further. They analysed the statistics for the users who the e-Citizen product would be targeted at (on the whole non-computer users) and found that the ‘traditional’ style of marketing using images of computers or prompts to start using the Internet was not suitable. This was deduced on the basis that this group of individuals did not see the need to use the Internet and such advertising would not work for them. Therefore the BCS decided to start a campaign which would give the potential e-Citizen Candidates an idea about some of the more ‘interesting’ and relevant information which could be found on the Internet. As well as creating brand awareness, the campaign resulted in a significant increase in Candidate registrations. It was a successful initiative in attracting non-computer users to the market and illustrated the importance of Digital Literacy to this vital section of market. The Public Relations – Value of Certification Award is presented to the Licensee that has emphasised the value of certification over simple product training which helps to distinguish what the ECDL Foundation does from the activities of its competitors. This Award was presented to ECDL Hellas who along with “Skills for Life and Skills for Career” successfully co-ordinated various PR campaigns across all media, including TV and radio. ECDL Hellas is considered to be the only certification body that can assist people to understand the value of certification in general in Greece and is the best known skills certification in the market. One particular TV advertisement which promoted the importance of the ECDL certification was very effective. The advertisement portrays an ECDL Graduate who is actually interviewing companies about jobs rather than being interviewed. This humorous role reversal emphasises how this Candidate would have a competitive edge over Candidates who are not ECDL certified.

The Award for Best Practice in Product Marketing is presented to the Licensee who can demonstrate innovative and effective campaigns or initiatives focused on one of ECDL Foundation’s products. This Award was presented to the British Computer Society (BCS), who came up with an innovative and unique approach to market e-Citizen. In an effort to encourage interest and registrations for e-Citizen a bright yellow poster with red lettering was designed. Contained on the poster were various snippets of factual information eg: “A snail can sleep for three years……” and text beneath saying that you can find millions of useful (and not so useful) facts on the web and directing them to their nearest test centre. These posters were followed by a range of leaflets and mouse mats which included facts such as: “kangaroos cannot walk backwards” and “the electric chair was invented by a dentist”. The campaign certainly got people talking and as a result, more people visiting centres to see what else was on the web. In addition to this, BCS created a ‘PC Mouse’ - a police constable dressed in a blue tunic and helmet who would guide you safely through the world of the Internet with e-Citizen. They created the concept and then, with the aid of a full size costume, travelled the length and breadth of the UK promoting e-Citizen. From Edinburgh Castle to the House Of Commons PC Mouse drew a crowd and excellent local press, radio and TV coverage. The mouse has now become a star in his own right, with soft toys being created and in development a series of children’s stories. 3

The Award for Operational Excellence – Quality Assurance, rewards best practice within the area of Quality Assurance. This Award was presented to AICA (Associazione Italiana per l'Informatica ed il Calcolo Automatico) in recognition of the effectiveness of AICA’s Quality Management Systems. Included in these are quality management systems for Test Centre auditing plans, focused audits, audit procedures and automatic systems for testing. AICA is also adopting some of the concepts found in ISO 19011 – which include requirements, objective evidence and corrective action. The high performance of these systems in Italy has increased Licensee efficiency dramatically.

The Award for Operational Excellence – Accessible to All, is presented to the Licensee who has worked on continuous improvements to ensure that their programmes can be accessed by everyone. This Award was also presented to the British Computer Society (BCS) in recognition of the fact that they have taken a unique stance in the promotion of inclusion for ECDL and other ECDL Foundation's products. BCS have worked for over five years to ensure that they understand the needs of all their Candidates and look to address the special requirements of those with disabilities. The BCS has championed inclusion for all and worked to develop a process for ensuring that special requirements can be accommodated. The BCS have worked with a range of Subject Matter Experts including the Royal National College for the Blind to create large print, Braille and audio versions of the tests. They have worked with Deafax to create sign language tests and courseware and their partnership with the Professional Association of Teachers of Students with Specific Learning Difficulties ensures that the readability of tests is acceptable to all. In addition to this, the BCS are making progress to develop tools and techniques to ensure that new products are developed with inclusion and accessibility in mind and are in the process of making all existing and new products accessible to the widest possible audience.

The Award for Operational Excellence – Test Centre Network Support, is presented to the Licensee whose support of their Test Centre Network greatly improves the efficiency and promotion of ECDL Foundation's  programmes in their market. This Award was presented to the Irish Computer Society (ICS Skills), in recognition of their efforts in being an organisation that is continuously evolving to meet the needs of their client base and of the country. To do this, ICS Skills have acknowledged that there are many benefits to their Test Centres and are therefore at hand to answer questions, help with planning courses and offer advice on marketing. Test Centres are better disposed to promoting programmes and they deliver them more confidently in the knowledge that there is a professional organisation behind them. Specific areas of the country are assigned to Regional Development Officers (RDO’s) who know the centre co-ordinators personally. ICS Skills strive to make RDO visits, to perform a compliance audit, into occasions where they find best practice and commend and praise it, while drawing attention to areas where improvement may be necessary to ensure the highest of quality standards. Ultimately, with time 4 and effort, ICS Skills have created a Network of Test Centres that they call ECDL “Advocates”. They are loyal and embrace all things and all programmes that come from ECDL.
Providing top quality support is a very small price to pay for such rewards.

For more information please contact:
Marketing Department of ECDL Foundation
T: +353 1 630 6000