Addressing the looming mainframe shortage facing Australian enterprises, IBM has launched a training program to try and lure young IT students.
Currently 50 trainees are enrolled in an IT degree program at Queensland's Griffith University aimed specifically at giving students practical skills on the IBM zSeries.
The course also offers post-training work experience for young students.
The academic initiative has been developed jointly through Global Online Learning and Griffith University and students work on projects with the Department of Defence, National Australia Bank and the Health Insurance Commission.
Global Online Learning managing director Dr Murray Woods is working as a training partner with IBM for the project and said within the next 10 years, due to the shortage of mainframe skills in Australia, organizations will have to consider alternative options for resourcing mainframe skills either by outsourcing, contracting or retraining staff.
"There is a shortage of a certain type of mainframe persons - those who understand the Web front end and integration with the core systems that reside on the mainframe. Most people working on mainframe have been doing so for all their careers and are close to retirement age and the universities are not producing people who understand the mainframe environment," Woods said.
"There is a general assumption client/server is the architecture to prevail in the future.
"The degree has been created to make students in particular aware of the opportunities available to them if they understand the mainframe as well as the Web front end and client/server - we are creating awareness among students that have been led to believe the mainframe does not exist."
Students wishing to enroll in the mainframe program can transfer from any other IT degree course in Australia direct to Griffith University where it is taught as part of a summer school or online learning and is available as a full-time course over three years.
IBM zSeries business unit executive Robyn Woodly said the mainframe has a certain and strategic future in Australian business, adding that, to ensure companies get the most out of their mainframe investment a consistent flow of talent is needed for the marketplace.