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ICT Industry Joins Forces to Face Skills Shortage

For Immediate Release

ICT Industry Joins Forces to Address Skills Shortage

ACE Training, Microsoft and IT businesses pool resources to offer internationally recognised IT qualification and guaranteed internship placement for business graduates

Auckland, New Zealand – Friday, December 8, 2006 – ACE Training, Microsoft New Zealand and a number of key technology providers today announce their commitment to overcoming New Zealand’s ICT skills shortage by offering an NZQA approved level five Diploma in Computer Technology for business graduates and people with business experience. The course has the approval from the Tertiary Education Commission (TEC) for student loan assistance for 2007 and the industry is extending this qualification to provide graduates of the course with an internship at the end of the course.

Tony Skelton, Managing Director of ACE Training explains that for many years the New Zealand ICT industry has been short on entrepreneurs or technology specialists who are business savvy or can work with business decision makers to understand the potential impact of technology on the whole of business.

“New Zealand as a nation has such incredible potential. We have smart and innovative entrepreneurs, exciting young and not-so-young businesses and a real drive to succeed,” says Skelton.

“Working with many of these businesses to provide general and specialist technology skills, I know that businesses are not using technology to its fullest potential. Either they don’t understand what their people can do with technology to unleash a new wave of productivity, or they don’t have access to the specialist skills to bring together the right technology and applications.”

John Bessey, Microsoft New Zealand’s Small & Mid-Sized Business and Partner Group Director says this partnership approach by ACE Training, Microsoft and local businesses shows the strength of resolve the IT industry has to address the overwhelming skills shortage it is experiencing.

“No longer can the IT industry, nor the business community, rely on the skills it needs coming directly from tertiary IT graduates. More importantly, to succeed as a nation, we need people who possess a combination of ICT and business skills to help drive business change by harnessing the power of technology and to help our nation’s burgeoning ICT success stories truly succeed on the global stage.”

Garth Biggs, Executive Director of The HiGrowth Project, has long been highlighting the severity of the ICT skills shortage and the impact this is having on our nation’s economic prosperity. He welcomes this initiative with open arms:

“ACE Training, Microsoft and Microsoft technology partners present New Zealand with a huge opportunity on a number of fronts,” says Biggs.

“That a private training organisation can attract the support of the NZQA, the industry it is seeking to support and TEC for student loan funding to deliver a internationally recognised qualification is exciting in its own right. Even more inspiring is that the businesses that are so short of this fascinating skill mix are getting behind this and offering a guarantee of employment at the conclusion of the course. This helps close the loop for a group of talented people that are struggling to find work when they have little or no experience, but a great deal of passion and drive.”

Already the initiative has the support and buy-in from a number of the country’s leading technology providers and increasing interest from some of our largest corporates.

Applications to the course will open later this year and the inaugural course will commence in March 2007.

About Microsoft

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realise their full potential.

About ACE Training

Established in 1987, ACE is one of the largest privately New Zealand owned and respected computer training companies. The company has the unique distinction of being the only training company in New Zealand to be both an IBM and Microsoft Authorised Education Centre.

With dedicated training and development centres in Auckland , Wellington , and Christchurch, ACE Training delivers authorised applications and technical training and certification to world class standards. As an NZQA Registered and Accredited Private Training Enterprise (PTE), ACE has an impressive history of improving productivity at the systems, both Technical and Desktop level for local and central governmental organisations, and most of the top 250 companies in New Zealand.


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