- NSW Government announces $1 million Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Skills (TIES) grant to Charles Sturt University to boost IT skills in regional NSW
- The funding enables Charles Sturt to develop IT programs and micro-credentials that will deliver outcomes to students and industry into the future
- The project provides post-school pathways focussed on equity group participation
Charles Sturt University has been awarded a $1 million Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Skills (TIES) grant by the NSW Government to help boost regional IT skills.
Charles Sturt Vice-Chancellor Professor Renée Leon (pictured, inset) welcomed the grant and said there’s a need to address the ‘digital divide’ experienced by regional NSW, particularly the deficit in information technology (IT) skills.
The grant will be used to ‘ … develop industry-engaged co-designed micro-credentials in data analysis and business analytics that will target skills shortages in the regions both in the short- and long-terms’.
Professor Leon said this will be achieved in the short-term through courses aimed at enhancing the skills of current professionals, and in the long-term through courses aimed at widening participation by under-represented groups in IT subjects at the University.
“Industry has told us they need professionals who can analyse, interpret and present data concisely for decision making because it is critical for realising the economic potential of the regions,” Professor Leon said.
“The program addresses emerging skills gaps and supports skill development of NSW workers. It aims to provide post-school study pathways to promote broader participation, particularly by First Nations and low socio-economic status (SES) students, and women.
“It aligns to the University’s industry co-location with IBM and with which it will co-design micro-credentials to enhance the workforce IT skills required to grow innovation and productivity.
“Micro-credentials deliver high-quality tertiary education in less time and at lower cost.”
NSW Minister for Skills and Training Mr Alister Henskens, MP said the project has been funded under the NSW Government’s Technology, Innovation and Entrepreneurship Skills program.
“The NSW Government is investing in projects that break down barriers and encourage students to drive innovation and develop their entrepreneurial skills,” Mr Henskens said.
“We want to help students learn in new and innovative ways, using emerging technologies, so that universities can better address skills gaps and develop job-ready graduates.”
Professor Leon noted that the 2016 ABS census data showed the proportion of people in inner regional NSW with a tertiary qualification in IT was less than a third of that in NSW major cities. In outer regional areas, the equivalent figure was barely one-fifth.
“There is also evidence of a demographic ‘digital divide’,” she said.
“According to government Quality Indicators for Learning and Teaching (QILT) data, proportionately 10 per cent fewer first-in-family and low SES domestic students are enrolled in IT courses in NSW. For First Nations students, this divide rises to 40 per cent, and for women it rises further to more than 50 per cent.”
Professor Leon said Charles Sturt has a strong history of co-creating courses and programs with industry that directly align to industry needs and future labour skills requirements and provide a long-term pathway into further education.
“This is not a short-term project with outcomes that last only for the funding period,” she said. “The University is committed to fostering sustainable initiatives that offer true value for money.
“This project allows Charles Sturt University to develop pathway programs and micro-credentials that will deliver outcomes to students and industry long after the funding has been expended.”
The project is funded by the NSW Department of Education from October 2022 until the end of 2024.
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