Collaboration can solve skills shortage

Australia's IT industry needs closer collaboration among the private sector, government and education providers to ease the skills shortage, Phil Kiely, chairman of the IT&T Industry Training Advisory Board (ITAB), said this week.

With at least 30,000 IT jobs needing to be filled for each of the next five years, Kiely said that the skills shortage "will have a negative impact on the competitiveness of Australian industry". Kiely, who is also Oracle's Australian and New Zealand managing director, was speaking at the Australian National Training Authority conference in Melbourne.

He called on the private sector to play a more active role in ITAB, to develop training packages, and to work with training providers. A suggestion Kiely made to show how the industry can collaborate is a web-based "skills exchange" which could provide information about training courses and services, jobs and jobseekers.

"The IT industry can use its own resources to create an interactive online information exchange with the potential to become a gateway that links industry, the public and IT skills providers," Kiely said.

"Customers in the marketplace would be any industry organisation or individual who needs the skills, while traders would be organisations providing IT skills services, education, training, recruitment, contracting, products, or agents who can broker arrangements to satisfy more complex requirements."

He also urged the establishment of loyalty programs to keep IT talent from leaving the country; an Australian R&D competency centre; and continued infrastructure development to encourage foreign companies to head their Asia-Pacific operations in Australia.

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