Looking to peg back the growing IT skills shortage in Australia, Intel and IT training company Technology Solutions have extended the chip maker's certification program to the general public.
It is expected that individuals will enrol themselves in the program, rather than wait for their employer to arrange it.
"Not only is there an absolute shortage, the skills go out of date so quickly," said David Bolt, Intel Australia's general manager.
"If you think about our own products, some of the ones we released a year ago are no longer available. They're not necessarily obsolete - they've been superseded. Something you learnt six months ago doesn't keep you in good stead for today," he said.
Bolt said the program has been running in Australia for the past year with Intel's authorised resellers the first to go through.
"We've been developing the program with a lot of feedback from the local channel," said Bolt. "It meets the needs from a number of different perspectives as far as quality, depth of knowledge, understanding and range of subjects. We think it should be open to a broader community of people in the IT industry, rather than just those who are actively assembling and designing Intel-based products."
In attendance was NSW Minister for Education and Training John Aquilina, who claimed the adoption of technology and the education of people in that technology is going to play a major role in where Australia is situated as an information economy in the next millennium.
"The opportunity is still there but will quickly slip away if we don't take full advantage of it," he said.
Ann Moffatt, general manager of Technology Solutions, said that individual participants can take either the specialist integration stream (Intel Certified Integration Specialist) or a consultant's stream (Intel Certified Solutions Consultant).
"I believe being more hardware-oriented and network-focused provides a perfect complement to the existing vendor programs such as the Microsoft certification program that leans more towards software, and the Oracle certification program which provides database expertise," she said.
Moffatt said that programs such as the Intel certification program are being mapped onto the Australian Qualifications Framework, which she claims will be widely adopted next year as an industry standard for assessing IT competency.
To date Bolt said over 100 IT professionals have completed the certification program at the University of Wollongong Sydney Centre facilities. In addition, by the end of June they will have another 40 companies who are authorised Intel solution providers.