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Study Finds Australia’s ICT Graduates Technically Proficient But Not Work Ready

A newly released survey has highlighted that 70% of ICT graduates wish they had undertaken more work experience when at university. This tallies with the importance that prospective employers place on work experience. Many universities will have to make considerable changes to meet the needs requested by the graduates and that Australian Council of Deans of ICT is taking serious action in this regard.
  • 08 September, 2009 10:03

<p>A newly released survey has highlighted that 70% of ICT graduates wish they had undertaken more work experience when at university. This tallies with the importance that prospective employers place on work experience.</p>
<p>More than 700 recent ICT graduates from 21 Australian universities responded to the survey which was funded by the Australian Learning and Teaching Council and led by a team from the University of Wollongong.</p>
<p>While there was satisfaction with the quality of technical preparation, there was a resounding call by employers and the graduates themselves for improved work-integrated learning.
When asked how well they th
ought their university had prepared them for employment in the industry, 70% of students wanted more workplace learning to be included in their courses.</p>
<p>The President of the Australian Council of Deans of ICT, Peter Cole, welcomed the report and said: “There is no better way of learning the requirements of the workplace than actually being there and doing it." He added that many universities will have to make considerable changes to meet the needs requested by the graduates and that his Council was taking serious action in this regard.</p>
<p>John Debrincat, Chairman of the ACS Foundation, said that the findings support the activities of the ACS Foundation which promotes the concept of mandatory Work Integrated Learning for all ICT students: “An important message that needs to be sent to current students is the value that prospective employers attribute to relevant work experience.</p>
<p>“Many undergraduates have a sense of urgency about finishing their time at University. They don’t recognise how relevant work experience will actually accelerate their careers and help ensure a more satisfying start.”</p>
<p>Since its launch in August 2001, the ACS Foundation has raised more than $23.5 million and awarded more than 1,650 scholarships. “We continue to build relationships with our industry partners and look forward to a steady growth in the number of scholarships we award each year to find relevant work experience opportunities for students,” John Debrincat said.</p>
<p>“In the last financial year the ACS Foundation raised more than $4.8 million for scholarships from corporate donors, an increase of more than half a million dollars on the previous year.”</p>
<p>There have been a number of recent surveys of organisations which employ graduates, including a pilot study by the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA) which was conducted in conjunction with this graduate study. It showed that less than half the employer organisations were satisfied with the personal qualities and interpersonal skills of their recent graduate recruits. The areas most in need of improvement were communication and problem solving skills.</p>
<p>A 2008 paper from Australian university Vice-Chancellors advocated a national internship scheme to enhance the skills and work readiness of all Australian university graduates.</p>
<p>Tony Koppi, the senior author of the report, is the Executive Officer of the Australian Council of Deans of ICT which was formed in 2008 to act as the unifying voice for all the ICT disciplines in higher education, and in strengthening links between the university sector, ACS, ACS Foundation, government and industry.
The “Managing Educational Change In The ICT Discipline At The Tertiary Education Level” report is available from the Australian Council of Deans of ICT website - www.acdict.edu.au.</p>
<p>About the ACS Foundation: The ACS Foundation (http://www.acsfoundation.com.au) was established in August 2001 to encourage both private and public sponsorship of ICT education and research projects, for the benefit of the professionals working in ICT, and ultimately the industry itself. By increasing the funding opportunities for contributions to education programs, the ACS Foundation seeks to create a highly skilled workforce, and more ability to effectively access research and industry-specific training. The only national scholarship facilitator focused exclusively on supporting the ICT industry, the ACS Foundation receives funding from ICT &amp; non-ICT companies, industry associations, government bodies, individuals and the ACS itself. Since its launch, it has raised over $23.5 million and awarded over 1,650 scholarships.</p>
<p>For more information, please contact John Ridge by calling (02) 8296 4445, or email John at john.ridge@acsfoundation.com.au</p>

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