The Australian public service (APS) is striking back at the skills crisis by training its own IT workers in a new AU$15 million, four-year apprenticeship program.
The program, which will deliver up to 60 jobs to young Australians, is being set up to address current and forecast skills shortfalls.
"This program directly addresses the ICT skills shortage in the APS and provides real career opportunities in the technology sector," Federal Minister for Finance and Deregulation Lindsey Tanner, whose department is coordinating the program, said in a statement.
Apprentices will receive "on the job" experience with an APS agency and graduate with a nationally recognised qualification allowing them to pursue an ICT career in the APS.
The qualification will also be valid in the private sector according to a spokesperson for the Minister's office who said "it'll be a nationally recognised qualification."
"We would like to congratulate the government," Australian Computer Society president Kumar Parakala told ZDNet.com.au. "They have demonstrated how they are taking steps to address the skills shortage."
The government will most likely lose some of the graduates to the private sector, Kumar said, but the program will assist in filling ICT positions despite the attrition. "You've got to start somewhere," he said. "I would seriously urge the private sector to follow suit."
Excelior, part of workforce services company the SKILLED Group, will administer the initiative, with the Canberra Institute of Technology providing the academic component. The work placements and academic component will start this month.
"It is all about investing in skills and investing in young Australians," Tanner said.