As an organisation that awards qualifications to thousands of learners each year, the integrity of our certificates and the efficiency of our certification processes are paramount.
So, we worked with Advanced Secure Technologies, a company with over 150 combined years of knowledge and experience in secure technologies, to adopt digital certification and blockchain technologies into our certification system.
Our aim was to increase security, efficiency and flexibility in order to improve learner experience and meet changing customer needs.
Not only were these aims met, but our collaboration with Advanced Secure Technologies was recognised at the FAB 2022 Awards, at which we were finalists in the Innovation of the Year category.
Read on to find out more about this innovation and how it has benefited our learners and centres.
What research and development was undertaken?
Scott Forbes, Director of Development and Delivery: “Our research and development investigated the challenges and risks of both printed and electronic certificates and how an integrated digital certificate platform and blockchain technology could work to mitigate fraud. In addition, Skills and Education Group looked at opportunities to centralise digital certificates and augment how certificates are offered to our learners.”
Key areas of research included:
- Best security practices to ensure that the security of the certificates is maintained both in print and electronic document formats
- The demand and expectations of the modern-day learner
- How to provide a flexible self-service digital certificate experience for learners and employers
- The challenges of delivering printed certificates during a pandemic and the acceptance of digital services
- What certification security means for the integrity of our qualifications and reputation
- The use and benefits of blockchain technology in certification.
What were the challenges and how were they overcome?
“Before adopting any certification solutions, our printing processes and certificates had limited security, increasing the potential risk of fraud. Also, the distribution and manual collation of certificate batches to our centres were time-consuming and costly. With the recent merger of BIIAB, we knew we needed a system that could manage hundreds of different templates and offer advanced certificate verification.
“To overcome this, Skills and Education Group outlined specific requirements and implemented a robust, feature-rich certification system and blockchain paper solution that has significantly improved our security from start to finish. In addition, the certification system has streamlined our print and publish processes with auto-collation and certificate templating to manage hundreds of templates in a controlled and intuitive environment.”
How has the innovation benefited the organisation, centres, employers and learners?
“Adopting a secure and efficient digital certification system underpinned by security best practices for Skills and Education Group and our centres has enabled us to meet our stakeholders’ expectations and ultimately protect the integrity of our qualifications, awarded certificates, and our organisation’s reputation.
“For our learners, self-service functionality provides instant access to view, order, and share their digital certificates with third parties, such as employers, from the convenience of their mobile devices, delivering an excellent learner experience. Additionally, learners receiving printed certificates now benefit from a world-first innovation in secure paper technology, using embedded blockchain technology to create a verifiable and immutable certificate paper stock.
“For employers, our blockchain-printed certificates, combined with our digital certification platform, offer intelligent verification features. These enable employers to validate the personalised data of the award using a smartphone whilst also verifying that the certificate papers are genuine and originated from the Skills and Education Group. This therefore supports our learner employability initiatives, ensures employers are protected when looking to hire a Skills and Education Group-qualified learner, and protects the integrity of awards.
“In summary, Skills and Education Group now benefits from a secure, efficient, and connected certification ecosystem that is focused on all key stakeholders: learners, centres, employers, and other third parties.”
What is the potential for further development?
”Subsequent development is currently being implemented to further verify the personalised certificate information using blockchain technology. This will use blockchain technology to ensure that tampering and manipulating the records is not possible. Soon, we will offer blockchain documents, blockchain papers, and blockchain badges of any type to our learners from a single, interconnected secure certification system.”
Find out more
You can read more about our use of digital certification and blockchain technology on the Advanced Secure website.
For more information about our digital certification, visit our Info Hub.
The FAB 2022 Awards also saw Skills and Education Group win the Collaboration of the Year Award for our work to prevent labour exploitation with the Gangmasters and Labour Abuse Authority (GLAA). Read more about this here.