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Ara IT and digital technology courses free to all under the TTAF

Ara Institute of Canterbury has just had all of its IT and digital technology courses added to the Government’s Targeted Training and Apprenticeship Fund (TTAF) scheme, with the Bachelor of ICT degree being the only exception.

This means that incoming students can gain access to these courses for free, potentially setting them off in a stress-free way towards a well-paid and future-proof career.

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The TTAF scheme is one way in which the New Zealand Government is assisting newly-unemployed workers who have been impacted by COVID’s drag on the economy, while also training more skilled workers for growth industries nationally and internationally.

Globally, companies are engaging in ever-more heated competition for a limited number of qualified technology workers. Both New Zealand and Australian sources, including The Australian Bureau of Statistics, have noted that demand exceeds supply, with technology jobs now growing at the third-fastest rate in the country, with nearly 33,000 new jobs created in the last three years. In the US, technology and science jobs outnumbered qualified workers and consulting firm Korn Ferry estimates that by 2030, there will be a global shortage of more than 85 million employees in the sector, costing industry approximately US$8 trillion in lost revenue annually.

Closer to home, the shortage of qualified workers prompted Wellington officials in 2019 to take action to attract 100 high-skilled workers and their families to take jobs with the city’s premier technology firms.

Another solution is to start training significant numbers of people domestically to fill the burgeoning array of roles, with growth in demand soaring for software and applications programmers, automation, AI, and cybersecurity experts. In fact, in 2019 ACS Australia’s Digital Pulse reported that Australia alone will require 11,000 additional technical cybersecurity workers over the next decade. Not unnaturally, cybersecurity experts in Australia are among the nation’s most highly-paid professionals.

Starting this year, Ara’s New Zealand L4 Certificate in Information Technology Essentials,

L5 New Zealand Diploma in Information Technology Technical Support, L5 New Zealand Diploma in Web Development and Design, L6 New Zealand Diploma in Networking, L6 New Zealand Diploma in Systems Administration, and the brand-new L6 New Zealand Diploma in Cybersecurity are all now covered by the TTAF scheme.

EDI Department Head Nigel Young recognizes that this year is, even more than ever, the ideal time to access training for the ICT industry. “Any programme of study that gets learners into a highly-skilled, technical field with huge potential for growth and great career prospects is positive for learners. The additional funding means that now we’re able to offer new and ongoing students - as well as career-changers – a huge array of ways to get into the tech sector without starting out in debt.  The scheme will really help our students, the tech industry and our region. It’s a really exciting time to be involved in the tech sector and great to see the commitment to it from our Government.”

The enlargement of the TTAF scheme now means that learners who are beginning their study at a sub-degree level could transition into a Bachelor’s degree after completing L5 and L6 courses and only pay for as little as half a year of tuition costs by taking advantage of the scheme over the next two years.  TTAF-eligible offerings at Ara do not affect a learner’s entitlement to the Government’s tertiary fees waiver, which applies to every first-year tertiary student regardless of whether they have previously studied under the TTAF scheme.