Nov 28, 2017
The Skills Required for Tomorrow's Technology Practitioners
We are all familiar with STEM subjects: Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths. But the notion of STEM is more far reaching than just a list of subjects. It is a way of approaching problems and seeking solutions with both critical thinking and creative thinking.
We can thank STEM endeavours for much that defines our modern lifestyle; from the smart phones that are our constant companions, to the machine learning that is revolutionising the way we work.
Despite this, there remain many global challenges that as a people we are looking to STEM innovations to help us overcome; halting climate change, building more liveable cities, improving health care, humanising the decision making of our institutions. With each of these problems, the frontiers of technology have more inspiration to offer than we can imagine today.
For the past ten years, it is estimated that STEM jobs have grown three times faster than non-STEM jobs. The technology sector in particular has been a strong driver of this growth. However, globally we have been unable to meet this demand with graduates who have the right skills.
Vocational Education and Training is leading the way in meeting this demand. Currently, more than two thirds of the STEM qualified workforce hold VET qualifications. New Horizons Australia Institute of Technology is excited to be able to introduce a range of qualifications that will equip our graduates with the skills to solve todays problems and inspire tomorrow’s solutions, including both the Diploma of Project Management and the Diploma of Information Technology.
Unique features of both of these qualifications is the integration of a range of vendor certifications. Vendor certifications are accreditations developed by the big technology houses such as Microsoft, Adobe and PRINCE2. They are recognised globally and are highly valued by employers because they represent the newest skill sets and the newest technologies. New Horizons Australia Institute of Technology has been able to develop unique qualifications that embed vendor certifications so students study their Nationally Recognised Australian Qualification and the industry recognised vendor certifications at the same time.
This provides the students with a number of distinct advantages on graduation. Firstly, they have a strong combination of both theory and practical skills. They can support this claim with both their qualification and their certification This combination makes them an attractive employment prospect. Employers can have confidence in their abilities as practitioners of their field and the students can contribute from their first day on the job.
Raising the participation rate of females in STEM has to be a key priority if we are going to fully realise the optimism STEM offers. Currently, only 16% of the STEM workforce is female. This is a statistic that New Horizons Australia Institute of Technology is not prepared to accept. We are committed to making a positive contribution to improving this. We are actively attracting female students and we have designed our learning and assessment processes to specifically appeal to women. This doesn’t mean we have ignored the needs of our male students, but have integrated both needs into a single strategy. Challenging students to apply their skills and knowledge to real world challenges is an exciting part of this strategy. Opportunities are available for students to apply their innovations outside the classroom and see the impact they can achieve.
Cultivating diversity is essential for crafting and shaping the thinking skills our visionaries will need. Our students will bring and celebrate diversity of experience, diversity of backgrounds, diversity of values, and diversity of ideas. By collectively drawing together, their contribution will be greater than any student could make individually. This sense of community is a strong aspect of the student experience we are achieving at New Horizons through our domestic qualifications and will be a significant feature of the learning experience for our international students. Working with others through group work and problem based learning will allow students to build and nurture their teamwork skills and their leadership skills. Industry tells us that finding someone with the right technical skills is only half the challenge. Finding someone with the people skills to go with it is almost impossible. These skills will set our students apart throughout their career.
It is exciting that right from launch we are able to offer a range of pathways arrangements that can see our students through their academic career, from their English studies, through their VET qualifications, through to Higher Education qualifications. Mark has acknowledged our pathways partners and I would also like to thank them for joining us today. These pathways are important in supporting students to gain the confidence in their own academic abilities and their abilities as practitioners to challenge themselves and achieve more than they thought possible. At New Horizons, we have the expertise to continue to support our students to develop stronger English skills and our own suite of Higher Education Post Graduate qualifications means we also have the experience to prepare students to succeed in their tertiary career.
We are also very conscious of our students’ professional career, after they graduate, but also while they are still studying with us. Yesterday, The Guardian Australia published an article explaining the high numbers of international students, amongst other visa holders, who are paid less than minimum wage during their time in Australia. It is often assumed that International Students accept these rates because they don’t know better. But that’s not the case. Rather, they accept these wages because they think that all International Students are under cut in a similar way. Through our experience in delivering professional development programs, we have the capability to coach students on successfully navigating employment relationships, providing them with an extra level of security. The inclusion of the vendor certifications throughout their qualification mean that as they obtain these, they can then use them to explore employment opportunities that offer greater career value than the roles International Students traditionally find themselves in. Taking advantage of these opportunities means students will be able to get valuable and relevant workplace experience contributing further to their competitiveness as a potential employee on graduation.
You can see that we have invested heavily in designing a student experience that maximises their time with us, but also sets them up for a successful career long after they have achieved their qualification. Some of the other features that contribute to this are:
Flexible study options across our campuses with a range of delivery approaches
Our qualifications are designed around 52 week programs, structured into 4 terms
We have dedicated student support services available on site for students to access as they need
We provide students with the opportunity to work and study alongside Australian business professionals in their vendor certification classes
Accommodation support and
Career help and guidance both during their time with us and for preparation after.
New Horizons Australian Institute of Technology is thrilled to be offering these qualifications which will craft the next generation of STEM practitioners who will in turn craft the next generation of innovations.
To learn more about Qualifications please visit our website, or call us to chat to one of our Learning Solutions Advisors.