Private post-grad IT course to launch

The man behind a private postgraduate IT training programme says he is setting up an institute in New Zealand before overseas interests step in and do it first.

The man behind a private postgraduate IT training programme says he is setting up an institute in New Zealand before overseas interests step in and do it first.

Former Trade New Zealand official Chris Mitchell has established the Information Technology Institute (iti). Iti’s proposed nine-month course – the Graduate Diploma in Information Technology -- is still awaiting approval by the New Zealand Qualifications Authority. But assuming the go-ahead is given, the first course will begin in Wellington in September, with others in Auckland and Christchurch to follow.

“There are private training institutes overseas which have the possibility of expanding internationally and I think we should get into that space before they do.”

Examples include the Irish Rapid Advancement Programme and the US-based ITT Technical Institutes.

Mitchell resigned from Trade New Zealand to set up iti, a registered company of which he is the sole shareholder.

He says iti is complementary to, not competitive with, existing tertiary IT courses. “I don’t see any conflict.”

He cites figures projecting a 16% to 20% annual increase in the number of IT workers required in New Zealand, from a base of 30,000 at present.

The iti courses will last 36 weeks and during the latter 26, students will work with a sponsor company. Companies that have undertaken to participate so far include Comacc, Jade and Tait Electronics.

“For the first part of the course, students will get a grounding in the basics of programming, system analysis and design, project management, e-business and other topics.”

Teachers with relevant industry experience are being sought, with some appointments close to being made, Mitchell says.

Iti differs from mainstream tertiary IT courses in that the sponsoring companies will take a role in the selection process.

Although the course has not been formally approved, there have already been applications from graduates with qualifications in other fields who want to get into IT.

Just 12 students will be admitted in each intake, but there will be monthly intakes.

Iti is an idea Mitchell has had “for the past three years".

“I’ve been aware that programmes like this have been running overseas and have been researching since October, talking to potential partner IT companies.”

The course will cost $11,500 and Mitchell is hopeful that students accepted for it will be eligible for a $6500 student allowance.

“Some similar courses overseas charge as much as $US40,000.”

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