SIGNAL ICT Graduate School was officially opened by the Minister for Tertiary Education the Hon. Paul Goldsmith this week.
The opening at the Christchurch studio of SIGNAL ICT Graduate School, Level 1, 181 High Street, Christchurch (enter off Tuam St opp. C1 Espresso), was linked via video conference to the Dunedin SIGNAL studio at 123 Vogel St., Dunedin.
Hon. Paul Goldsmith, Minister for Tertiary Education, discussing with SIGNAL students their current course work in design methodology in the SHIFT programme.
Dr David Band, Chair of the SIGNAL Board welcomed the Minister and offered some opening remarks about the successes of the ICT Graduate School to date. The Minister addressed the invited academic and industry audience to officially open the ICT Grad School.
Hon. Paul Goldsmith discussing with SIGNAL students their current course work in design methodology in the SHIFT programme.
SIGNAL ICT Graduate School (http://signal.ac.nz/) is a collaboration of the five leading South Island tertiary institutions: University of Canterbury (Lead Organisation), Lincoln University, Ara Institute of Canterbury, University of Otago and Otago Polytechnic, and is tasked with growing and developing the ICT Industry in the South Island by working closely and reactively with industry.
There are currently over 40 students enrolled in SIGNAL programmes delivered from the two sites in Christchurch and Dunedin. SIGNAL’s offerings include a programme to upskill digital technologies teachers in schools, a re-training programme for those looking to shift to a tech career, and professional development in-work courses for those who are already have established careers within the tech sector.
SIGNAL has recently started its first cohort of Christchurch based students in the Shift programme, designed for people who wish to move into a tech career but who do not have a first degree in a tech related subject. The first Christchurch cohort has five students of whom 80% are female, and ages range from early 20's to late 40's. The industry driven programme is delivered through an immersive studio learning experience, and is taught in Christchurch by staff drawn from Ara Institute of Canterbury and Lincoln University.
The Dunedin Shift cohort started in February this year, and the programme is delivered through the University Of Otago. In line with the Industry focus of the programme, the students are currently completing their second semester work placements in one of the following areas: civil engineering, finance, agricultural science and web development.
Director of SIGNAL Dr Stuart Charters says, “The tech sector is the third largest in NZ, and is growing rapidly. SIGNAL is well positioned to assist growth in this area from the ground up, and has pathways in place to transition graduates from any discipline into tech, to help address the current skills shortages. It is particularly heartening to see that 80% of the new cohort in Christchurch are women, and that mature graduates are considering tech as a viable and lucrative career change. We expect these trends to continue as the range of career options within tech becomes more widely known.”