Innovative Partnership Creates Real-World Training, Employment Opportunities
- Provide an opportunity for students to learn technology and customer service skills
- Ensure the availability of high-calibre service desk resources
- Joint development of a new training course designed specifically for IT outsourcing
- A student placement programme providing real-world service desk experience
- Students up-skilled in technology and customer service, preparing them for real-world working conditions
- Graduates trained to global IT outsourcing standards with skills that can be used anywhere in the world
CSC in 2016 sought to increase its presence in Tasmania and advance its customer support capabilities for clients in Australia and New Zealand. Seeking to expand a 12-person operation in Hobart into a large Customer Support Centre of Excellence (CoE), CSC knew it would need to recruit outside of the local labour market to meet its requirement for skilled IT workers.
One of the options available to CSC was to build relationships with local educational institutions to explore the possibility of developing a collaborative student placement programme. Such a programme would help to up-skill students in technology and prepare them for real-world working conditions.
Working in partnership with the Tasmanian Government, CSC approached TasTAFE, the state’s largest vocational education and training provider. As the Australian Government’s public provider of vocational education and training, technical and further education (TAFE) institutions provide a wide range of tertiary education and qualifying courses across the country.
DEVELOPING A LABOUR PIPELINE
CSC’s early discussions with TasTAFE focused on how the organisations could work together to create a student placement programme that would help establish a high calibre labour pipeline for CSC’s service desk operations. These discussions led to the decision to jointly develop a TasTAFE training course — the Certificate IV in IT Support — designed specifically to suit an IT outsourcing environment. In addition to providing traditional IT technical skills, the newly designed course would have a strong focus on customer service and include a 4-month-long placement for students at the CSC Customer Support CoE in Hobart.
“We were really excited when CSC announced that it would be expanding in Hobart,” says Kerryn Meredith-Sotiris, TasTAFE’s IT education manager. “CSC offered TasTAFE an opportunity to provide our students with a programme that is unique in the ICT [information and communications technology] workforce. We saw that as a huge advantage for our students.”
The new programme with TasTAFE provides students with direct work experience so they are work-ready upon completing the programme.
“Students get first-hand, real-world experience working in an IT outsourcing service desk for a large global company,” says John Schumacher, head of service desk services for CSC Australia, who oversees the CoEs in Hobart, Sydney and Perth.
“They then take that confidence back into their learning, and at the end of the programme they are equipped to go on and win roles in the marketplace, or be placed within one of the CSC teams should a vacancy arise.”
All graduates of the programme are trained to a standard that a global IT outsourcing company would recruit for, with translatable skills that can be used anywhere in the world.
“TasTAFE has worked closely with CSC to design and build a truly innovative Service Desk Certificate IV course,” says TasTAFE’s Meredith-Sotiris. “Together we have established a framework to provide skills, experience and workplace knowledge to students undertaking this course. The course will equip graduates with the right skills to pursue their chosen career in the IT industry.”
The students, TasTAFE, the Tasmanian ICT industry, CSC and its clients all benefit from the partnership and the newly designed Service Desk Certificate IV course. It is helping to shape an educated and experienced workforce that understands a framework of best practices for IT managed services and also highlights items that would not usually be covered in traditional IT training courses, such as the importance of service level agreements (SLAs) and how they relate to a client’s business.
“CSC is a fabulous organisation to work with, and it’s been a true partnership,” TasTAFE’s Meredith-Sotiris adds.
“We are proud to partner with TasTAFE in an initiative that will shape the skills, experience and readiness of our future workforce. It will also help us continue to promote and enhance the calibre and skills of Tasmania’s technology workforce,” says Seelan Nayagam, managing director, CSC Australia and New Zealand. “The Hobart CoE continues to be a benchmark in CSC’s service desk offering, delivering a service culture that has resonated strongly with customers and achieving record customer satisfaction levels in the short time it has been operational.”