As the industry skills shortage epidemic continues unabated, one Australian integrator has sunk its teeth into a potential workforce early, trying to secure company loyalty from an early stage.
Australian Information Processing Centre (AIPC) is partnering with Swinburne University of Technology in Melbourne to support a graduate work experience program whereby students participate in paid, supervised placement and employment after the second year of their degree.
The Industry Based Learning (IBL) program is designed to kick-start students' careers through valuable "real-world" experience and for APIC it's a chance to nab some of the best and brightest before they hit the open job market.
"Our industry is very competitive and technical resources are in demand. We want to attract the best and hopefully they will want to come back to us" said Robert Beck, AIPC managing director.
A systems integrator concentrating on customer relationship management (CRM) solutions, AIPC provides an industry placement over a period of 24 or 48 weeks (full time). AIPC then offers the student a graduate position at the completion of their degree.
"Previous graduate placements have worked well for us. What we have observed is that whilst the graduates may be technically brilliant in particular areas, they can fall down in the practical and commercial world of the IT business. We want to help them gain some commercial understanding to better equip them for the real' face of the workplace environment," Beck said.
According to Beck, the program differs from traditional work experience in that the students have already obtained substantial tertiary experience "on their second or third degree" giving them the theoretical knowledge to be utilised by AIPC as effective employees, while giving the student a strong business grounding.
The company formalised an existing work-study relationship with Swinburne, whose IBL program generally placed students in large R&D institutions and labs, rather than in the commercial space, Beck added.
"What we've found is a lot of students out there are excited about network design or designing the latest CPU. That's great, and the industry will always need these people, but the truth is, there are already a lot of people in the industry that do that. What we need is people who can do large-scale systems integration and have a strong understanding of business applications."
AIPC currently has three students and is looking to take on more towards the end of the year.