The global skills and competency framework for the digital world
SFIA newsletter - December 2019

SFIA newsletter - December 2019

Here is an update about the activities of the SFIA Foundation over 2019.

As well as publishing the SFIA skills and competency framework, the Foundation also supports the global ecosystem that has evolved to support SFIA use throughout the world. We typically announce our activities via LinkedIn or Twitter along with one or two emails a year to those who have asked to be kept informed of developments.

In 2018 we published SFIA 7 - available in 10 languages. A lot has been going on in the background in 2019 - requested by the global user base.

SFIA and Knowledge

  • SFIA has always addressed knowledge but has now more formally linked this to recognised bodies of knowledge (BoKs). Most practitioners in this field appreciate that knowledge varies by industry sector, technology, national region etc. and also changes rapidly. The approach SFIA has taken is to respect the experts in specific knowledge areas and to link to recognised BoKs.
  • We now explain this approach and have begun to link to BoKs - 
  • We have so far linked to 7 BoKs and have a further 25 we are currently reviewing, to be added shortly.
  • Of course others exist and will be added in due course.

Example Role Descriptions

  • Many have asked for sample role descriptions and while we have resisted this for many years, we have responded and published two samples so far.
  • The Digital, Data and Technology Suite - the DDaT Roles is a specific implementation for UK Government Departments
    • This is a set of 137 roles across 37 role families and is being pushed through UK public Sector.
    • We have defined these in SFIA terms for the very large UK public sector SFIA community.
    • These are a good example set, BUT they should not be taken without careful tailoring to your own needs.
  • The EU ICT Roles in SFIA terms - this was specifically requested by the EU
    • These, again are examples and the limitations of the original roles should be understood before using them as they stand. They have been published to illustrate the EU roles in SFIA terms with some pointers for how they could be enhanced and used.
  • Planned Role Profiles
    • We have been asked to produce a SFIA Generic Set - which we will consider for 2020.
    • We will look to harvest other good examples too such as the Australian Public Sector Role Profiles.

SFIA Generic Guidance - Skills Assessment

  • The Foundation has been asked to provide more guidance on the use of the SFIA Framework across the whole human capital development (HCD) spectrum. SFIA underpins all aspects of HCD and our user base wanted more than the high-level guidance we have previously presented. We are working through these.
  • The first component we are addressing is skills assessment - 
    • We have published generic guidance for self-assessment against the SFIA Framework and will be adding ‘reviewed assessment in due course to provide additional rigour. We also have draft material for the independent review by management to be published soon.

SFIA Views

  • Often we are asked - Does SFIA address X … DevOps or Data Science for example. The answer is almost always a yes, but we need to explain how to those who have not necessarily fully understood the introductory components of the reference guide or how the SFIA Framework can be used.
  • To address this question and for many other ‘situations’ we have produced SFIA Views and these have been very well received.
  • We currently publish a number of SFIA Views - and are working through several others.
  • These form an essential component for any organisation having a specific focus or looking to address a particular skills gap.

Working with universities and apprenticeship programmes

  • SFIA is a framework for what industry and business needs and is focussed on experience of performing skills. Clearly if skills can be demonstrated through university or apprenticeships then it reasonable to offer SFIA within that use. This is particularly relevant for some economies.
  • We have pilots with university outreach programmes and discussing similar activities to support other initiatives such as apprenticeships.
  • A collaboration of 37 universities and additional industrial partners are using SFIA to as a vehicle to close this particular gap.
  • Several universities around the world are discussing using SFIA to help prepare their graduates for their future employment beyond academia

Country-wide Licence

  • While we have extensive use in a great many countries we have now established our first Country-wide licence.
  • This is particularly interesting because it looks at an integrated use of SFIA from university, into employment and throughout lifelong employment.
  • This is a great example of collaboration and cooperation.
    • Quite simply this has enabled a country to have a skills and competency framework now, without any development costs or time delays and at the same time involve them in the future development of the framework.
    • It is also hugely beneficial to them in terms of favourable licence conditions and essentially saves them something like 5-7 years in starting to address skills.
    • Additionally they get over 20 years of global user experience and shared development costs going forward.


  • We continue to collaborate with many organisations in many countries to promote the development of skills and competencies.

Preparation for future development

  • We have improved the infrastructure that supports the development of the SFIA Framework and in particular made preparations for updates and the mammoth translation task.
  • The themed approach for framework updates was well liked and we plan to continue this approach for SFIA 8 development. 

The SFIA Framework is a simple, straightforward and generic skills and competency framework; its richness and flexibility allows it to be used to underpin all human capital development activities and is universally applicable. We continually find that users have found new ways to use it - please do share your experiences with the SFIA community. SFIA is updated by industry and business roughly every 3 years so do get involved in shaping its future. 

Should you have any queries about the SFIA Foundation, its activities and collaborations, licensing options or the SFIA Framework itself do contact me at [email protected]  

Kind regards,


Ian Seward

General Manager SFIA Foundation

+44 (0) 7710 504789

[email protected] 

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