On Friday, I wrote about the fact that there are now more than 450 education institutions running as IT Academies in Australia, and so over the weekend I dug out a case study of one IT Academy, Box Hill Institute in Victoria.
Box Hill Institute prepares students for Australia’s workforce by ensuring that they have the skills employers need today and in the future. Using the Microsoft IT Academy program, they help students develop a high level of IT skills literacy, meaning that students can earn industry certifications that help qualify them for the workplace or that count toward higher-education courses. So how does IT Academy help students get jobs? Well, for their students earning Advanced Diplomas, this certification and other program strengths have led to a job placement rate of more than 90%.
A key part of Box Hill’s mission is to work closely with the business community to identify skills needs and help address shortages in Victoria and across Australia. And to ensure that they can deliver the right skills to a diverse student base, who may be looking for qualifications for either employment or to move to higher education. As Simon Taylor, the Manager of the Centre for Information & Communications Technology at Box Hill Institute, says in our published case study:
|In the last 10 to 20 years, the Australian industry has moved from being manufacturing-based to services-based… We need a curriculum that allows us to deliver a level of training that satisfies those skills needs within the industry, from a service and service delivery perspective.|
Ultimately, a key reason that Box Hill chose to become an IT Academy was to differentiate themselves from their competitors (whether that’s competitors in the government sector, or from the private sector). As Simon Taylor says:
|Box Hill Institute believes strongly in Microsoft certification for skills for employability. We see it as a great addition to our vocationally focused programs, as well as a way to differentiate ourselves in the training market.|
And the industry-recognised Microsoft certifications that students can get include. :
- Microsoft Certified Professional (MCP)
- Microsoft Certified Technology Specialist (MCTS)
- Microsoft Certified Desktop Support Technician (MCDST)
- Microsoft Certified System Administrator (MCSA)
- Microsoft Certified System Engineer (MCSE).
Box Hill maps all of these certifications to the Australian Qualifications Framework (AQF), so that any training that students complete will be recognised nationally.
It’s also interesting that in the case study, Simon also talks about the delivery of blended learning, which enables teachers to focus their attention in more direct support for individual students, and also helps delivery for different types of students, whether they’re enrolled in vocationally oriented programs, or industry and community customers who are retraining or building skills in a particular area :
|The blended style of learning materials enables our teachers to provide students with an inspiring mix of learning, with the online materials allowing our teachers to focus on individual mentoring of students, thus maximizing learning outcomes.|
They also use the program’s E-Learning resources to deliver professional development training to its staff and to teachers in Victoria’s primary and secondary schools.