SALAMI, a new JISC-funded project located in the Flexible Service Delivery programme. The aim of this project is to develop a shared IT-as-a-service for learners, employees and institutions which accepts standardised course information from an eXchanging Course Related Information (XCRI) data feed and exports a dynamic summary of relevant Labour Market Information (LMI) in an appropriate template to the sending institution.
SALAMI is one of 14 projects in the Flexible Service Delivery programme, funded by the JISC, exploring the benefits of efficiency, effectiveness and enablement that technology can deliver to improve ICT service provision for administrative and educational functions.
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The SALAMI project has attracted much interest through its' approach of aggregating and linking datasets pertinent to choice, information and careers/employment advice.
The two consultation events have offered the project opportunities to both influence, and gain influence from a range of experts in their fields.
During the course of the project, the political landscape has changed dramatically. Reductions in Connexions services and the availability of professional advisers for young people together with the removal of Aimhigher and other public services, are relocating 'choice' within the marketplace. An increasingly competitive job market for leavers of education, and uncertainty for many recently redundant workers places the need for advice and support in making life choices of career or education ever more pertinent.
New initiatives such as the BIS's All Age Careers Service and HEFCE's Key Information Set are developing more online services for users.These services will provide front-end web interfaces, but also importantly, they will house large datasets holding information about courses.
Shared services, open data and effeciency are very much in vogue with the current government. Perhaps the intention is that these approaches will help to streamline other services which are being decreased.
For shared services to truly have an impact in the area of 'information for choice' then thegovernment-sponsored datasets must be opened up in a machine-readable format, using open standards where they exist.
SALAMI touches on a range of needs: instiutions - who offering and plan courses, local authority - who plan provision, careers/connexions services - who advise, individuals - who are making choices.
It also provides a new way to present information and data in this particular domain.
From the two events, we have had comments such as "when can we have it?" plus "there must be caveats about the data".
SALAMI aims to provide the following by the end of the project:
1. A tool that people can take and use
2. Web services to provide linked data services between course information, job profiles and official LMI statistics
3. Recommendations on suitablity of datasets, and data required
The caveats point is extremely important. Data can be represented (or mis-represented) in numerous ways. It can never be perfect - this is where intermediary advice is also important - but cannot be guaranteed. The web services layer to link between data sets has enourmous potential. Within the scope of SALAMI, we can only do so much. We would however like to build on this set of services to provide a 'cleaned up buffer' between the raw sets of data and the applications which can make use of them.
On 25th March 2011, the SALAMI project ran an invitation only event at Antenna in Nottingham to engage a wide range of people working on and with Labour Market Information and Intelligence for a variety of different purposes. The event was well attended, with delegates from organisations such as The Department from Business, Innovation and Skills, the Skills Funding Agency, private companies, Connexions, Universities and Colleges, Sector Skills Councils, Local Authorities, Careers organisations and local/regional partnership bodies.
The SALAMI team were privileged to host two keynote speakers, Alison Morris from UKCES and Dr. Hanif Rahemtulla from Horizon, University of Nottingham. Alison presented on the UKCES IAG Consultation and series of papers and recommendations shortly to be concluded. Hanif presented on the case for Open Data, which gave delegates an insight into the possibilities available to them in their own sectors. A demonstration of the opendata/institutional data Mash-up from Stuart Wood was very well received as an example of what can be achieved.
Presentations from the event are available from here..
The 'Magical White Box' exercise proved an excellent way to open up thinking on a friday afternoon, involving in one case, imaginative use of flipchart paper.
Thanks to the expertise of the delegates in attendance, an extremely rich set of information has been gathered which will prove not only of great use to the project, but to the wider UK LMI and IAG community as a whole.
Keep the 21st July free for a further Dissemination Event in Nottingham..
The team have developed an 'information for choice' aggregator. This uses data from the following sources:
- NOMIS, Official Labour Market Statistics
- Your Future East Midlands (XCRI-CAP)
- Connexions Direct
- Police UK
The demonstrator is available to play with here http://salami.samson-portal.org/
Start typing a job title to pull together information from the above sources.
The point of this demonstrator is to show what can be done, and to start pulling some of these disparate data sources together. Mappings have been developed in the background between SOC codes, job profiles and XCRI-CAP to enable some of this to work. This service layer is at the heart of the SALAMI project.
There are numerous other data sets available, and the aim is to integrate travel/location data into the demonstration.
We will provide recommendations of what data sets should be opened up as a part of the project output over summer.
On 26th November 2010, the SALAMI project held a consultation event at the University of Nottingham to ask the question "How can Labour Market Information be collected and used in ways that cut costs, enable shared services and achieves more for less effort? ".
There were 43 attendees from universities and colleges, Connexions, JobCentre Plus, Cascaid Ltd, County and City Councils, Employment and Skills Board, Aimhigher, Skills Funding Agency, Alliance of Sector Skills Councils, Dept for Business, Innovation and Skills.
Attendees were asked to address 'why, what, who, when, where and how' they needed LMI; describe typical use-case scenarios and construct a wish-list of achievements for the project.
They were also shown prototype development work which has started to pull together information from sources such as the Office of National Statistics (via NOMIS), XCRI course information and Google to demonstrate the potential of how web service technology can offer dynamic LMI services for users.
Findings and feedback from the event can be found on the SALAMI website here. From this, the team are focussing in on 6 use cases for which relevant data sources have been identified.
A further event will be held on 25th March in Nottingham which will include invited speakers and a showcase of the progress on LMI visualisations. Details will be available soon.
Close reading of the Browne Report Securing a Sustainable Future for Higher Education reveals some key areas of synergy with the working direction of the CIePD. In particular, those sections dealing with courses information, information advice and guidance (IAG) and employment outcomes.....
Read more here...