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Government’s IT initiative may meet market demand

PERTH’S new media companies believe a Federal Government initiative to fund 21,000 new university places in high demand fields such as Information Technology will not result in a glut of IT graduates.

The Federal Government’s Backing Australia’s Ability plan will cost $151 million to create 21, 000 undergraduate university places over five years. The initiative, to begin in 2002, will give priority to ICT, maths and science places.

Vivid Interactive and Design’s managing director Damien Cook and METHOD (formerly Method + Madness) director Stephen Langsford believe the industry will still have a need for IT graduates, despite the current downturn in the local market.

Mr Cook said he believed there would be demand for employees in the information technology sector in the short-term future.

He said the number of university places in IT and computer science fields were not keeping up with the corporate sector.

Mr Langsford said the new media sector had suffered from a lack of IT professionals.

“We’ve been a victim of a real shortage of IT professionals in recent years,” he said.

On launching the initiative, Education Minister Dr David Kemp said the funding would address unmet student demand in these priority areas as well as increasing graduate numbers in areas of known skills shortage.

“Over five years these new places will provide opportunities for many thousands of Australians to study at university in the 21st century priority areas of ICT, maths and science, building the national skills base and equipping individuals with the knowledge and skills they need to work in tomorrow’s industries,” Dr Kemp said.

Backing Australia’s Ability will cost $2.9 billion in total and aims to stem the current brain drain from Australia.

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