What ‘Skills gap’? NetApp helps train the next set of storage scholars

What 'Skills gap'? NetApp helps train the next set of storage scholars
By Neville James, senior manager
Channel Engineering & Enablement, NetApp Australia and New Zealand

At NetApp, we're passionate about training up the next crop of storage professionals to enable them to become the best innovators they can be. Through our global Academic Alliance program, we engage academic organisations to help them incorporate modules and content around storage and data management into their ongoing course material. We've long held the ambition of implementing this 'Academic Alliances' vision in Australia, and this year, it is becoming a reality.

In Australia, where there is a well-publicised skills gap in the IT sector, storage is often under-taught in the computing curriculum. This is why NetApp is passionate about ensuring storage skills receive the attention they deserve, and why we are so committed to working with educational institutions to streamline the process of designing curricula and preparing course materials.

We've partnered with Box Hill College of Technical and Further Education, a TAFE institution, in addition to Victoria University and Lidcombe TAFE. All three of these leading tertiary organisations are now set to adopt courses partially based on NetApp certifications, that will give students a practical and technical understanding of many of the technologies they will encounter when they enter the workforce.

To make the Academic Alliances vision a reality in Australia, we worked closely with IT lecturers at Box Hill TAFE, teaching them our curriculum, from basic foundations right through to the most advanced pre-sales engineering. We were incredibly impressed with the enthusiasm and dedication the teaching staff showed; one lecturer even become the first tertiary lecturer in the world to achieve the NetApp Certified Data Administrator (NCDA) certification, which is our second-highest qualification.

As a result of this training and ongoing partnership with Box Hill, the TAFE is now incorporating compartmentalised and easily digestible information on storage in its Diploma and Advanced Diploma study offerings. Additionally, NetApp's Clustered ONTAP 8.2 has been rolled out in Box Hill's NetLab environment, which means it can now run labs from anywhere that has an internet connection and a web browser, an enormous advantage for both students and teachers alike.

In addition, we've worked with Box Hill TAFE in updating the ICA11 Information and Communications Technology Training Package to see courses based on our curricula included in the package. While this is still undergoing its final review stages prior to submission, this change would effectively enable any academic organisation in Australia to access and use the curriculum.

The courses that will be delivered at Box Hill and Lidcombe TAFEs, and Victoria University, are pilot programs, however we look forward to our plans to expand the Academic Alliances program to other educational institutions in the future.