New-style apprentice: Ace offers internships

Students offered a one-year industry internship upon completion of course

ACE Training, a privately owned computer training company, is offering students a one-year industry internship upon completion of one of its Microsoft courses — the Diploma in Computer Technology.

Starting from next year, students that complete the NZQA-approved level five qualification will be offered an internship from Microsoft business partners or another organisation that has a skills shortage in ICT, says Tony Skelton, managing director of ACE. All the arrangements for the internship will be made at the time of enrolment, he adds.

The idea is to tackle the ICT skills shortage, says Skelton. The industry needs people with the right qualifications and students need hands-on experience. At the end of the one-year internship, it is up to the intern and the company to decide if the intern will become a full-time employee with the company, or move on.

In the latter case, the intern moves on with some work experience, which is a huge advantage in the job market.

The interns will be paid a reasonable wage, negotiated between the intern and the company, says Skelton.

ACE is a NZQA-registered authorised education centre for Microsoft and IBM certifications. One of the Microsoft certifications is a Diploma in Computer Technology, which is made up of a Microsoft Office specialist certification and either a systems engineer or a .Net developer certification.

“[The Diploma in Computer Technology] has now been accepted by the Tertiary Education Commission as being eligible for student loan [assistance],” says Skelton.

Initially, ten students will be accepted into the programme, which kicks off in March, he says. The second intake will be six months later.

“We will use the first year to settle the programme down,” he says. “We want to ensure that we get the formulas right, that the students are happy and that businesses are comfortable with the outcome.”

The programme will start in ACE’s Auckland training centre, but the plan is to launch it in the Wellington and Christchurch centres as well.

A number of ICT companies, for example Datacom, Designertech, Axon and Maclean Computing, have expressed their support for the programme.