New IBM-aligned Mainframe Trainee Program kicks off with CQUni summer school

Published:06 December 2019

REAR: L-R Associate Professor Rajesh Sarin, Dr Marilyn Wells, Professor Steve Hall and Dr Lily Li. FRONT: CQUni Provost Professor Helen Huntly and Column 72 director Dr Murray Woods.

Up to 25 students a year will eventually benefit from CQUniversity’s new collaboration with an IBM Business Partner, Column 72, to conduct the IBM-aligned Mainframe Trainee Program.

The first intake will start the program from January 2020, with a summer school at CQUni Rockhampton.

Successful applicants will not only have their full degree costs covered; they will also be matched with an employer and receive a salary over the three years of their study at CQUni.

Because of mainframes’ speed, security capabilities and ability to scale, everyday transactions around the world, from government to the banking industry, happen seamlessly; 92 of the world’s top 100 banks rely on the IBM mainframe,” says CQUni Dean, Professor Steve Hall.

“We are creating a new generation of mainframe experts for the platform crucial to the world’s transactions and rejuvenating the whole industry.”

The three-year Mainframe Trainee Program helps trainees learn both the technical and programming aspects of IBM Z®.

The learning curve is very steep, but they are nurtured along the way by what is, internationally, the pre-eminent example of Work Integrated Learning.

Trainees are involved in intensive summer schools delivered on the Rockhampton North campus and, during the year when they are working, there will be online delivery of their courses of study.

The paid program embeds trainees in workplaces from the very start. They learn about the platform and technology, while integrating with the organisation’s philosophy, ethics and core values as well.

The value-set is fundamentally important for the professional development of the trainees in a world where there is increasing emphasis on the security of personal and confidential information for customers and clients of those organisations.

In recognition of the initiative, Column 72 directors Paul Matthews and Dr Murray Woods were recently named on the IBM Champions 2019 list, joining an exclusive list of only 40 IBM Champions for IBM Z® globally.

Dr Woods says “a vacuum has opened up in the computing industry, as long-term IT professionals skilled in working with mainframes look to retirement".

"The degree program at CQUniversity will graduate a new generation of IT professionals with an ability to take the IBM Z® platform into the future," he says.

"That future is to service rapidly-changing business requirements and increasing workloads with new technologies on the mainframe platform.”

According to Paul Matthews, “IBM Z® mainframes have the benefit of constant and ongoing development and will be increasingly used in those key areas that require the highest level of security, availability and reliability".

"It is vital that we grow our specialised mainframe skills and CQUniversity is leading the way in that endeavour," he says.