The University of Central England's Technology Innovation Centre has been named the first UK university to train technicians as certified installers of digital home networks.

Techniques associated with 'plumbing in' diverse electronic or wireless receiving devices, fast becoming essential to daily life, do not fall naturally within most traditional tradesman's experience.

However, the Computing Technology Industry Association (CompTIA) has responded to the demand for new expertise to equip 21st century homes and small offices with digital connections and computer networks.

The result is a new practical qualification.

The CompTIA-certified training offered by TIC produces technicians who will be designated a 'Digital Home Technology Integrator (DHTI+) - or more commonly known as 'a digital plumber.'

A decade of operating one of computer networks giant Cisco System's leading international academies, made TIC a natural UK-choice for CompTIA's training programme.

The DHTI+ qualification is expected to appeal to professionals already involved in skill-areas such as security systems, broadband, general telecommunications, cable and satellite TV and audio-video installation, as well as to electricians, plumbers and other building-service providers.

As a result the UK's leading, vocational awarding-body, City & Guilds, is now accrediting the CompTIA qualification in addition to its portfolio of e-Quals qualifications.

Mak Sharma, manager of TIC's computer networking centre and CiscoAcademy, said: "We've been training trainers for Cisco since the late nineties. Now we have been asked by City & Guilds to do the same for the CompTIA certified DHTI+ programme."

People are increasingly adding digital devices to their homes.

City & Guilds sector general manager, Ben Knight, said: "Despite many technologies now being designed to work together, few people know how to connect them and benefit from a networked home.

"Only DHTI+ currently standardises the skills needed to manage home technologies and bring order to potential electronic and telecoms chaos in the modern digital home."

There impending switch-over to digital TV and natural growth of integrated domestic telecoms and electronic systems is also fuelling demand.

TIC's Mak Sharma said: "All these trends are stimulating demand for trained specialists. TIC is now training college trainers to run City & Guilds accredited DHTI+ courses around the UK to meet the growing need for skilled technicians to install, support and service networked home technologies."

DHTI+ will enable technicians to demonstrate their capabilities against construction industry-approved skills, offering both employers and customers confidence in their abilities.

Qualified technicians will have the certified skills to configure, integrate, maintain and troubleshoot home networks.

They will be able to set up and manage systems which will combine home services including wireless internet connections, remotely enabled domestic appliances, media servers, security, heating and ventilation systems and digital TV set-top boxes.

* Anyone with appropriate experience interested in training for the DHTI+ qualification should phone 0121 331 6400 or e-mail