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NEC inks AU$10m deal with Department of Education and Training

NEC Australia has signed a AU$10 million contract with the Department of Education and Training as part of the government's Australian Apprenticeship Support Network system overhaul.

NEC Australia has signed a AU$10.8 million system build contract with the Department of Education and Training.

Under the four-year deal, NEC Australia is charged with the development, implementation, and hosting services of a new IT platform for the department's Apprenticeship Support Network, and the automation of manual processes.

The local arm of the Japanese tech giant said the Australian Apprenticeships Management System (AAMS) is part of the federal government's plan to improve support for employers and apprentices, as well as streamline payments that are currently made through the legacy system.

"This is a critical and incredibly complex solution that will need to interface seamlessly with some of the largest government IT systems in Australia, including Centrelink and the Australian Taxation Office," Chris Korte, director of sales at NEC Australia said.

"AAMS will also support a vast network of interfaces between the federal, state and territory government systems including: Training.gov.au, the Australian Business Register, and Australia Post."

The former minister for industry Ian Macfarlane originally announced the department's intention to go to tender last October, saying the new Australian Apprenticeship Support Network will deliver better support for apprentices with a focus on job outcomes and lifting completion rates, which were at 50 percent as of October 2014.

"The new network will provide apprentices with the support they need to complete their training and earn an industry-relevant qualification, and will assist employers, particularly small businesses, looking to take on an apprentice," Macfarlane said at the time.

"The Australian government wants to ensure our nation has the skilled workforce necessary to drive productivity gains and international competitiveness across the economy and the new network is part of building a better national training system."

NEC said the new hosted platform, based on Microsoft Dynamics CRM and Oracle Process Automation, will become the central store for contracts and other employer, apprentice, and network provider information.

"It's expected that the system will create up to 29,000 contracts per month, and support approximately 100 different payment types, as well as process up to 135,000 transactions per month," the company said.

The Northern Territory Police recently announced a partnership with NEC Australia to implement facial-recognition technology to allow the agency to search through its database of photos, closed-circuit television footage, and videos taken from body-worn cameras, drones, and phones to identify persons of interest or missing persons.

In September, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade signed a AU$37 million, four-year IT services contract with NEC Australia, to handle the department's Global Support Centre Services, which support 12,000 users at 160 sites around the world.

Earlier in the year, NEC Australia signed an AU$11 million, seven-year deal with Victoria's Emergency Services Telecommunications Authority. The multimillion-dollar telephony solutions and services contract was to replace the existing Telstra systems that handled Victoria's triple zero emergency call service, which according to the government took 2.4 million calls for help across police, fire, ambulance and State Emergency Service in 2014.

The Australian arm of the company signed a AU$55 million, multi-year end-user computing contract with the Northern Territory government in December last year, in a deal to provide services for 20,000 users in government agencies across the region. The deal covers all government agencies in the territory, except for the public school network, for which NEC Australia already holds a separate contract.

NEC Australia was also previously awarded an IT contract with the Western Australia Department of Water, in a AU$4.8 million deal to deliver a water management platform; and last year, Service NSW signed a contract with NEC Australia which saw it become the first government provider in the state to deploy a cloud-based virtual contact centre.