Scholarships to help best and brightest

Do you hanker after a Ph.D or two, or perhaps a Masters to add to your existing degree and expand your career?

Depending on the subject matter, the ACS Foundation may have scholarships on offer to match your aspirations.

John Ridge, executive director of the foundation, said the about 25 of Australia's 30 universities have ACS-accredited courses for which scholarships may be available.

While saying that most of the scholarships are for undergraduate study, Ridge said the foundation was set up to be as flexible as possible about studies and students that would meet the scholarship guidelines.

To help graduates find work as quickly as possible and to address the general criticism that industry levels at universities about the work-ready status of people just out of university, the ACS Foundation has established two programs: Grow a Graduate and WIL (Work Integrated Learning).

He said the WIL program, pioneered by University Technology Sydney gave students the best of both study and work-related experiences.

"Some uni courses are structured so that students spend six or 12 months in a company while still at uni. It means that, when they graduate, they can show a prospective employer real-world experience and it increases their chances of getting work immediately.

"So many students find they can't get a job, even though they have a degree, because they have no experience, but they can't get experience because they can't get a job," Ridge said.

The ACS Foundation, established in 2001 by the Australian Computer Society, has raised more than $5 million in cash and in-kind contributions, and funded more than 400 scholarships and research grants for undergraduate and postgraduate students.

To extend its search for the "best and the brightest", the foundation announced last week it has gained the backing of the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA).

Ridge, who said this was a "huge step forward", added that an impressive level of support has come from companies like Compuware, Altirus, Intersystems, IBM, Microsoft, Sun, Motorola and many more. Funding has also come from outside the industry with organizations like Wesfarmers, American Express, Cadbury Schweppes, Target and the Graphic Arts and Merchants Association of Australia, playing an active role."

More companies also want to integrate or augment their graduate programs through the ACS Foundation, Ridge said.

For more details about scholarships: http://www.acsfoundation.com.au/

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