Education technology firm Digital Assess is bringing Blockchain technology to the vocational skills market for the first time, with its Skills Blockchain project. Funded by the Ufi Charitable Trust, the project is part of a five-year strategy that aims to deliver an increase in the scale of vocational learning.
The project aims to demonstrate how – and more importantly why – Blockchain technology should be used by an accreditation organisation to replace traditional paper certificates. Blockchain means that anyone can readily check, via an online portal, the validity of a certificate. This is of immense value to universities and employers, as it provides quick assurance of the academic credentials of a candidate.
Within the further education sector itself, the Skills Blockchain project aims to provide learners with a digital audit trail of their achievements via work and home learning, as well as formal learning through existing providers and awarding organisations.
Digital Assess will partner with awarding organisations including its own parent company Vocational Training Charitable Trust (VTCT), opening up access to the 4.5 million students completing Further Education in the UK.
Tony Wheeler, head of innovation, at Digital Assess said,
“The current system of accreditation is not fit for purpose, and it is time to bring it in line with the technology of the 21st century. Paper based qualifications can be lost, stolen or even fraudulently reproduced. Using Blockchain technology can give learners a digital audit trail of achievements and gives employers the transparency and trust that they desire.”
He went on to say:
“The vocational education sector continues to pioneer cutting edge learning and assessment models, and employers need to be confident that qualifications can be truly relied upon. Blockchain technology is commonly associated with the financial sector, so this project is another example of the vocational education sector driving innovation, with the needs of the learner at the forefront of the project.”
Alan Woods, CEO of VTCT, partners on the project added:
“The vocational, technical and professional end of the education sector has always led the way in embracing technology and innovation. We hope that this concept will prove itself and become accepted as standard, from schools all the way through to lifelong learning.”
“The bigger picture to this project is that anyone, whether they may be from an employer or university, will have the ability to check the validity of a certificate giving people more confidence in the qualifications.”
The proof of concept was completed in 2017 and it is hoped that Skills Blockchain will provide an international ledger of educational achievement that can be mined, verified and distributed securely across the vocational market.