Deakin University, Microsoft Australia, and Com Tech Education Services have teamed up to develop and deliver a new degree aimed at feeding the skill-starved IT employment industry.
The partnership to develop the Bachelor of Computing Networking Technologies was launched by Federal Minister for Education, David Kemp, and is expected to be operational by early next year.
"With the IT skills shortage hanging over our heads, we need to constantly look at new ways to tackle this problem," said Steve Ross, general manager of Com Tech Education Services.
According to Ross, 10 per cent of IT jobs are vacant and new IT&T jobs in Australia are set to rise from 31,640 to over 180,000 between 2000 and 2004.
"It's imperative that we take a strategic and integrated approach to meet this need," Ross said.
Kemp agrees, saying that while the Government is addressing the shortage it is important for other sectors of the community to proactively pitch in and contribute to solutions.
"The collaboration between Microsoft, Deakin University, and Com Tech Education [services] is a great example of this, and will set a benchmark for other organisations to take action," said Kemp.
Ross says that one of the catalysts for developing this partnership is to provide creative alternatives to attract students to enrol in IT education and training in Australia.
"With so many opportunities in the IT&T sector it is imperative that tertiary institutions pursue all avenues to recruit students and to prepare them fully for work in the industry," he said.
The planned degree will be built around the philosophy of "learn while you work". Students are guaranteed an IT job after 12 months of intensive study and will complete the rest of their qualifications while working in the industry.