RedHat sticks Canberra feather in its cap

The Red Hat empire is spreading with Canberra TAFE signing up as the latest academic institution to partner with the Linux vendor to offer training to its students and prepare them for the Red Hat Certified Technician exam (RHCT).

The Canberra Institute of Technology (CIT) became an official Red Hat Academy at the start of this year and will offer the RHCT Academy course work to students enrolling in its diplomas and some of its certificates at no extra cost.

The academy courses are based on the Red Hat Certified Engineer (RHCE) program, with some modifications to enable it to be taught through schools, universities and colleges. At the end of the program students are able to sit for the RHCT exam.

"We've spread the content of the Red Hat courses across three subjects, delivering the content over a year and a half. We will also be introducing Red Hat and Linux in our introductory Operating systems subjects which were traditionally all done in Windows," said CIT Faculty of Business and IT James Hamilton.

"Basically, we will be putting at least 50 to 60 RHCT competent people out there in the market every year which will go towards helping the uptake of Linux as well as help address the shortage of ICT skills, particularly in Canberra."

Hamilton said the feedback from students has been positive.

"Vendor material is concrete proof that what they are studying is current, relevant and valid and gives them the feeling that they are studying things that are required out there in the market place," he said.

"For me, the important thing is that we produce students out of our technical training institute who understand the approaches and the underlying paradigms that the Linux Operating System uses and can feel comfortable working in that environment. I feel it is very important for training institutions to provide the underlying knowledge that is required in order to understand how different kinds of operating systems can enable you to approach the same kind of problem in a number of different ways."

CIT is the fourth Australian TAFE to become a Red Hat Academy, joining North Sydney TAFE in NSW, Burnie in Tasmania and also Chisolm in Victoria which, unlike the other colleges, offers the program as a separate short course at additional cost.

Any school or college wanting to be an official Red Hat Academy must get staff trained with Red Hat first.

Red Hat services manager Peter Durie said the vendor was actively trying to push its Red Hat Academy program to a number of academic and training institutions. He is currently talking with a number of universities, as well as other TAFEs in Queensland and Western Australia.

"Once we have a presence in each state we would like to start rolling it out to regional areas," he said.

Although the vendor offers corporate training programs for a substantially higher cost, Durie said the two offerings do not compete with each other.

"The material offered through the academy program is taught over a minimum of eight to 10 weeks compared to one week, and it targets people who are not in the position to pay for the corporate training we offer," he said.

"But these people will be the IT leaders of the future. It is about gaining mindshare at the ground level."