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ICT Grad School

What is SIGNAL?

SIGNAL is an ICT Graduate School established through a collaboration between Ara Institute of Canterbury, Lincoln University, Otago Polytechnic, the University of Canterbury and the University of Otago.

Funded by the Tertiary Education Commission, SIGNAL’s aim is to support business growth, innovation and productivity by boosting New Zealand’s tech talent, skills and leadership.

SIGNAL programmes are offered at each of the five participating institutions. This allows you to tap into the best tech education, research and development available at each. In addition to a formal graduate qualification, a SIGNAL programme will equip you with in-demand, work-relevant skills and an effective pathway into employment.

SIGNAL offers three graduate programmes: SHIFT, XTEND and EDUCATE.

For more information on SIGNAL go to:

SIGNAL ICT Grad School
Enterprise Precinct and Innovation Campus (EPIC)
76/106 Manchester St
Christchurch 8011

What is SHIFT?

SHIFT is a SIGNAL Graduate Programme offered through Ara Institute of Canterbury and the University of Otago. It’s designed for graduates from non-ICT areas who wish to move into a tech-focused career. SHIFT is also a good option if you work in a tech role already, but you’d like to enhance your skills and gain a formal qualification in ICT.

SHIFT is a one-year, full time programme that leads to the Graduate Diploma in ICT. There are two streams to choose from: Software Development - if you want to focus on programming - and Allied Roles - if you want to focus on other areas, for example testing, user experience, technical writing.

As a SHIFT student you’ll be regarded as a “professional from day one”. This acknowledges that you already possess valuable skills and experience, and reflects the responsibility you’ll take for your own learning.

What you’ll learn

During the first part of the SHIFT programme you will:

  • explore the breadth of the tech industry, the career opportunities available and where you see your tech journey heading
  • gain an understanding of the professional standards of the tech industry
  • learn about Agile and Design Thinking
  • hear from guest speakers and visit local tech businesses
  • work in an immersive studio environment, learning by doing
  • work in small teams in various roles to solve real-world problems
  • attend seminars and workshops with academics and industry experts to gain comprehensive knowledge of technical skills
  • enhance your communication, teamwork and innovation skills

During the second part of the SHIFT programme you will:

  • undertake an industry project, placement or internship
  • take two courses from any of the five SIGNAL partner institutions

If you would like to find out more about the SHIFT Graduate Programme, email