The IT&T Task Force, a $5 million Federal Government initiative driving the establishment of an IT&T skills institute, is negotiating with leading industry figures to generate matching funding for the operation.
"We have 60 companies that have been actively involved in the task force, and we'll start with them. However, we are also ready to talk to anyone else who may be interested in being involved with dealing with the IT skills shortage," said Brian Donovan, the task force's executive director.
The IT&T Task Force is proposing that the industry contribute $2.5 million in cash and $2.5 million to meet costs involved in the running of the IT&T Institute such as manpower costs and the cost of running awareness programs.
Although the task force secured only a fraction of the $100 million it initially sought from the government, Donovan emphasised that it is a "good first step". "In view of the current budgetary climate, securing $5 million is clearly an achievement that reflects that the government does attach priority to dealing with the current skills shortage."
Donovan said that while the task force intends to seek increased funding and government involvement in the future, it now needs to "get on and make a difference instead of debating whether or not $5 million is enough".
To be operational in the second half of 2000, the IT&T Skills Institute will take on a brokering and facilitating role for IT training providers and the IT industry, rather than provide training. It will work with both parties to identify emerging skills needs, develop appropriate training courses and raise community awareness of IT career opportunities.
Donovan also added that besides technical skills, the IT industry is in critical need of technical staff with business skills, an issue that the IT&T Skills Institute will also need to address.