More than $50million worth of Australian IT jobs and scholarships worth $250,000 are on offer in the next 12 months, a consortium of ICT industry leaders including IBM, Microsoft, CSC and KPMG announced yesterday.
Details of the initiative were announced at the Australian Computer Society (ACS) foundation's 'Great IT Jobs Debate' which was moderated by global workforce specialist and best selling author, Peter Sheahan.
ACS foundation executive director, John Ridge, said Australia's ICT sector is a gold mine of opportunity for current and future workers but industry has to harness the opportunity carefully to take the economy into a new frontier.
"We need this message to reach graduates, high school students, parents, careers advisors and mature aged workers in other fields and disciplines, who may be considering a career change, on the opportunities and skills in demand within the ICT industry," he said.
"As such, we are delighted with the outcomes of today's event as we were able to announce more $250,000 worth of scholarships for people enrolling in ICT courses. We look forward to making this an annual event and to announcing further job and scholarship opportunities in the future."
The foundation's chairman, John Debrincat, said the scholarships are supported by IBM, and Tripoint and will be awarded at the beginning of the next academic year.
He said 11 universities throughout Australia are taking part in the program thus far and Sydney University has contributed five scholarships, which will be targeted at women.
"The number of scholarships will continue to grow over the next few months and we realistically expect the value of them will reach $500,000 or beyond," Debrincat said.
He called on governments and industry to provide further financial support for these scholarships through the ACS foundation.
The 11 universities supporting the new ACS Foundation scholarships so far include the following: University of Technology Sydney; University of Sydney; Charles Stuart University; Queensland University of Technology; University of Queensland; University of Canberra; Australian National University; RMIT; Curtin University; Edith Cowen University and Murdoch University.
ACS president Philip Argy, said the ubiquity and persuasiveness of ICT is now embedded everywhere.
He said an important outcome of the job's forum was that the focus should not only be centered on graduates and high school students, but also on mature aged workers.
"There needs to be far greater focus placed on re-skilling ICT workers," he added.
IBM vice president of ITDelivery, Charles Noble, said all the boundaries are blurring.
"We have people joining IBM intending to pursue a particular technology strain, that move across to something completely different within six months," he said.
"We need to break away from the mindset that suggests that IT is about writing code. IBM is helping to develop curriculums that will show the next generation that IT is not just about computer chips anymore, it's pervasive.
"Our Service Sciences academic program is now in 70 universities worldwide, including RMIT, Stanford and Beijing.