COMPUTER BUSINESS REVIEW

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Issue Date: May 2003 (es)

Securing the future of IT

1 May 2003
Carel van Vuuren: Carrick & Associates

Information security consulting and training specialist Carrick & Associates is to provide much needed information security training to candidates drawn from social development programmes by various government departments. The Department of Trade and Industry's (DTI) Youth Internship Programme (YiP) and the Department for Public Service and Administration (DPSA) are currently running their programmes by involvement of SITA. The skills-growth initiative is a boost for both the IT industry and the country as a whole. The State IT Agency (SITA) appointed Carrick & Associates as one of its training facilities of choice in order to help bridge a gap in the market.
A result of two years of research, the DTI has identified IT as a priority area in terms of the need for skilled employees in short skill areas. To this end the organisation has embarked on a national initiative, under the auspices of the YiP, to improve the country's overall skills capacity and provide high-level technical skills training to the young and unemployed.
The DTI, in conjunction with SITA, has established and marketed its programme as an incentive scheme aimed at encouraging companies to bolster their intake of learners. A pilot project was run last year with 120 candidates and it proved hugely successful.
An industry driven model
"It is an industry-driven model," explains the DTI project manager, Marie Roux. "In order to establish a skill and demand pattern, companies carried out skills needs analyses before we launched the project. There was a 'skill and demand' mismatch and our aim is to alleviate the lack of skills in the IT sector, with obvious long-term benefits to the industry as well as the country as a whole."
Although the entry-level requirement for participation is a Matric certificate, this criterion changes depending on the sector for which the training is being offered. Umsobomvu Youth Fund (UYF) recruited 250 learners for SITA and the DPSA this year. Intentions are to escalate these numbers over the next two years. Recruits include some who have IT or business related degrees or diplomas, or a teaching qualification who can be trained as trainers in the IT environment. The groups taken into the information security programme are selected on prior knowledge and qualifications of computers, hardware and software. Of the 250 learners, 116 will proceed through this programme in two separate intakes, one of 60 and one of 56 learners.
"For this specific course, delegates are selected on the basis of their tertiary education as well as an interest and competence in the IT field," explains Moira Blom, SITA project manager for the Information Systems Security Youth Internship programme. "Before they embark on the training programme, they attend a grooming course at SITA, which covers basic work ethics, business and life skills in preparation for the formal working environment."
The first group of 15 DTI trainees has already completed the five-week course by Carrick and Associates. The current group of 60 - a SITA and Department of Public Service and Administration (DPSA) initiative with SITA and the UYF - will be doing their final examination on 17 April, and the third group (another 56 candidates, also part of the SITA-DPSA-UYF programme) will be starting the course on 5 May.
"The training course is run over five weeks," explains Carrick and Associates managing director Carel van Vuuren. "The course includes a three day orientation programme, Information Security Principles, Information Security Management, a combination of Information Security in Practise and Security+, as well as practical assignments, reports and presentations."
In the final week the candidates complete practical assignments, research on the Internet and deliver presentations. This tests their knowledge on a given topic as well as their presentation skills.
After completion of the course, the candidates are placed with companies for eight months to gain practical experience in the field. Carrick and Associates has already placed the first 15 trainees and the second group will be placed by DPSA and SITA once they have completed their final examination.
For more information contact Carel van Vuuren, Carrick & Associates, 011 234 5888.


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