The ongoing struggle with the IT skills shortage received a boost last week with the announcement of a new alliance between IT training veterans Aspect Education Services and Trading Technology Australia (TTA).
The alliance is designed to target IT training programs in the financial sector, where demand for specialised skill sets are particularly high.
Doug O'Hara, education services manager at Aspect Education Services, told ARN the company was well positioned to develop appropriate services targeted at this vertical after over two decades of involvement in IT education.
"We have developed courses that avoid the need for extensive on-the-job training - basically our students arrive at their workplace ready to start."
According to O'Hara, financial institutions invest a lot of time and resources in training new programmers in the practical aspects of the industry.
"Employers need to teach new programmers how to apply the theoretical knowledge they have in C++ to trading floor type systems," O'Hara said. "The new training we have put together with TTA provides a mix of practical and programming skills to produce people who can walk into a financial institution and get working straight away."
While Trading Technology Australia has a background in financial sector training, until now its focus has been on providing industry-based courses. The deal with Aspect will enable this kind of industry focus to be delivered into the consumer market. The combined offerings of these IT partners will see a range of new courses hosted by Aspect Education and delivered by TTA.
"TTA has the credentials to provide this kind of training, however it did not have the experience in selling to the public. We have been involved in consumer-targeted training, so the partnership is really the perfect business complement," O'Hara said.
TTA has been involved in technical and strategic training since 1996 with a special focus on providing financial market skills.
While O'Hara admits that the Internet has the potential to be an effective medium for education, he feels there will be a substantial maturing process before the offering will begin to make substantial inroads.
"Online education is still in its formative period and there is a lot of work that needs to be done in this area. We are working with some interesting projects in the e-learning environment. Ultimately, the focus is on how we maintain service standards while we are developing new delivery techniques. The emphasis has to remain on quality and not quantity when it comes to IT training. Institutions that lose that focus don't survive for very long."