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Wintec team ups with local businesses to address IT skills shortage

Wintec and local businesses have collaborated to produce three new industry-specific post-graduate IT programmes to allow people in IT roles to upskill in ways that directly relate to their work through flexible or full-time study options.

Aimed at Waikato-based IT professionals and their employers, the new programme starts in February and includes a Postgraduate Certificate, Diploma and a Master of Applied Information Technology.

Wintec’s Centre for Business, Information Technology and Enterprise director, Klaus Reiter says IT is changing so fast that even people with years of work experience can easily fall behind.

“Two years ago, the government started talking about 10,000 unallocated jobs in IT due to a lack of trained specialists.

“We’ve been looking at how we can bridge the gap in a way that upskills employees and supports their employers.”

The answer, it turns out, was to build on existing partnerships with local enterprise and create flexible learning opportunities. Wintec already had strong partnerships with Waikato-based IT businesses including Company X, Enlighten Designs, More4Apps and Datacom, and approached them to co-design an innovative solution.

“We worked together for three years to design this programme,” says Mr Reiter. “A big difference between our approach and that of others, is a strong focus on addressing industry problems.”

The new programmes allow students already employed by an IT company to continue working during their study or opt for full-time and fast-track a qualification.

“For those people opting for full-time study, the programmes are one semester for the postgraduate certificate, two semesters for the Postgraduate Diploma and just three semesters for the Master. However, we believe that many people in the industry will study part-time and we will work out individual study plans for them.”

To ensure programmes are relevant, industry partners can suggest areas for students to focus on.

“The students will benefit from applying their knowledge to practical situations, and employers will get highly motivated people with the latest knowledge contributing to the business. It’s a win-win,” says Mr Reiter.

David Hallett, director of Company X, agrees. “We need people going through ICT and learning vocationally useful skills. Internships are especially useful. Companies can work with people through their degree and also build their own workforce. When a student graduates, they know the company, its ethos, its culture and its values. And they can also bring new skills and knowledge into the business.”

Mr Hallett is a big fan of Wintec’s Master of Applied Technology. “It means the student will graduate with deep knowledge in a specialist area – and that has immense vocational value.”

Hamilton is the perfect city to house such a smart programme, he adds. “It’s the fastest growing of the four main centres in New Zealand. It’s the only city whose young population is growing faster than its over-60 age group. Show me a city that’s better suited as a hub for innovation.”

Enrolment is open now. For information on Wintec’s study programmes for 2017 or to apply, visit wintec.ac.nz

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