Friday, October 13, 2006

IT Students paid to learn to beat skills crisis

Ian Chubb and John DebrincatThis morning I attended the signing of an agreement between the Australian National University (ANU) and the Australian Computer Society Foundation (ACSF) to provide "Paid Industry Placement" scholarships for ICT students to spend two days a week in local businesses while completing their degree. Students can contact the ANU about the courses and employers the ACSF.

Along with the new public service scheme for ICT Apprentices, these paid industry placements will go some way to beat the ICT skills crisis.
Media Release - ANU ACSF
Friday 13 October 2006

ANU teams with industry to solve ICT skills crisis

Computer Science students at The Australian National University will get scholarships of between $12,000 and $15,000 to combine relevant work experience and study in a unique new program designed to help address the ICT skills shortage facing the ACT and surrounding regions.

The ANU College of Engineering and Computer Science (CECS) and the Australian Computer Society Foundation (ACSF) today signed an agreement to provide scholarships for ANU students who will spend two days a week in local businesses while completing their degree.

ANU Vice-Chancellor Professor Ian Chubb, who is also Chair of the ACT Skills Commission, launched the program this morning with John Debrincat, Chair of the ACS Foundation.

“Everyone’s a winner with this work placement program,” Professor Chubb said. “Students get the chance to enhance their skills in a real workplace doing tasks relevant to their academic studies. They’ll be ready for the workforce when they graduate, with excellent contacts in the local ICT industry.”

“Employers will have access to the very bright and motivated students that ANU attracts, and develop relationships with students who may very well be future employees.”

“For Canberra and its surrounding regions, linking students to employers before they graduate will maximize the chance that ICT graduates see they have excellent career prospects here, and choose to stay in the capital.”

Professor Chubb said the program would be particularly attractive to students from rural and regional areas, going some way to offsetting the costs they face in moving to Canberra for university.

From 2007 the College will cluster classes for 3rd year students into three days of the week, leaving two consecutive days for placements. The program will be extended to 2nd year students in 2008.

Mr Debrincat said the ACSF had secured a number of industry partners to contribute the scholarship fund.

“We envisage providing up to 50 places in the program by the end of 2007 and 150 by the end of 2009.”

“The ACS Foundation has raised over $8 million and awarded over 550 scholarships since it was launched and is providing a very valuable service to the ICT industry, and in fact all industries considering the pervasive and vital nature of ICT these days.”

“Our experience providing similar Work Integrated Learning scholarships has proven the considerable benefits to the students, the donors and the industry. Students who participate in these programs are highly sought after by potential employers, as they graduate “work ready” and do not require the 3 to 6 months “on the job training” that many graduates require”, he said.

“One local ACT business, Wizard Technology, has already committed to 10 such scholarships, and there are many more to come”.

ANU Media Office: Jane O’Dwyer ...

1 comment:

Tom Worthington said...

See also: Asia-
"Seeking Industry Perspectives to Enhance Experiential Education in University-Industry Partnerships: Going Beyond Mere Assumptions" by
Ross Smith, David Mackay, Di Challis, Dale Holt, 2005, Pacific
Journal of Cooperative Education

"Work-integrated learning through industry-based placements characterizes a degree program launched by an Australian University
(Deakin) in 2000: the Bachelor of Business Information Technology (Hons) [BBIT]. In this program, industry mentors are the nexus
between the world of the university and the world of industry. However, in setting up and running such programs, tertiary educators tend
to make fundamental assumptions about the level of commitment and understanding of these industry mentors, about how they will be
selected and the skills they will be able to demonstrate and impart.

A shared vision of what constitutes a satisfying placement cannot be
taken for granted. These tacit assumptions underpin key elements of the BBIT program, such as the preparation of students for their
placements, the Handbook that is provided for industry partners and the site visits made by academics. Research was undertaken in
2003/4 to test these assumptions, and to determine whether the support infrastructure the University places around the industry
placements is optimal.

In-depth interviews were held with 10 experienced industry sponsors/mentors and one member of the relevant
professional body. Reflecting on the rich data generated, this paper seeks to provide some insight into whether assumptions regarding
industry mentors and also what constitutes a satisfying placement, are supported. This leads to a consideration of implications for tertiary
educators who are directing such segments of degree programs. The paper advocates research to take us beyond assumptions, claiming
that the articulation of industry perspectives is instructive for all those involved: industry sponsors/mentors, tertiary educators, students
and the industry more broadly, as students are prepared more effectively for their professional roles. (Asia-Pacific Journal of Cooperative
Education, 2006, 7(2), 1-9)."

Keywords: Industry perspective; industry partnership; experiential education; information technology; business; Australia