New Partnership to Open Students' Eyes About IT

Sep 21, 2006

High school students from across the province will be able to learn about the career opportunities in information technology (IT), thanks to a new awareness program launched today, Sept. 21, in Halifax.

A partnership between the Nova Scotia Department of Education, the Information Technology Industry Alliance of Nova Scotia and Nova Scotia Business Inc. (NSBI) will bring the Information Technology Opportunity Awareness program to every region of the province during the 2006-07 school year. With the program, students, parents, educators and community leaders will learn how IT skills can translate ideas into innovations.

"The IT Opportunity Awareness program is part of a larger IT labour strategy that the province is pursuing to fuel this sector in Nova Scotia," said Premier Rodney MacDonald. "This initiative will help us show our high school students the many job opportunities IT has to offer right here in Nova Scotia."

As part of today's launch of the program, members of the Information Technology Association of Canada's board are visiting students at Halifax West High School.

"Today's event will give students the opportunity to talk to IT professionals and learn from their experiences, both recent graduates from local colleges and universities and executives of leading IT companies," said Karen Casey, Minister of Education. "This experience will assist the students in their career planning and decision making. It will also demonstrate the value of post-secondary education and how it can positively impact their future."

"Today's program is an opportunity for the board to be part of a key initiative that involves getting the younger community energized about the future of IT," said Bernard Courtois, president and CEO of the Information Technology Association of Canada. "University and community colleges across Canada are seeing declining enrollment in IT programs and this event is a great step in beginning to make a change."

The IT Opportunity Awareness program is designed to empower students. It will also equip them and their parents, teachers and guidance counsellors with information they need to know about IT and the range of career opportunities students can consider when they graduate.

"After graduation, many high school students are overwhelmed with the amount of career choices available to them," said Paul Kent, chief operating officer of xwave, senior vice president, enterprise and business solutions, Bell Aliant, and treasurer of the IT association board. "Our goal today is to give these students a chance to learn from our board's experiences, have fun, and discover IT as a possible career option for them."

"We are looking forward to launching this program provincewide and showing students that Nova Scotia not only has the IT jobs they are looking for, our province also has the education to ensure they are equipped with the right skills when they graduate," said Stephen Lund, president and CEO of NSBI.

"The member companies of ITANS are excited to meet with students, parents and teachers across the province and to create an open dialogue with young Nova Scotians about the opportunities in our IT sector," said Michael McConnell, CEO of the Information Technology Industry Alliance of Nova Scotia.

The Information Technology Association of Canada is the voice of the Canadian information and communications technologies industry in all sectors including telecommunications and Internet services, consulting services, hardware, microelectronics, software and electronic content. The association's network of companies accounts for more than 70 per cent of the 579,000 jobs and $137.6 billion in revenue annually to the Canadian economy.

The Information Technology Industry Alliance of Nova Scotia is a non-profit organization committed to promoting the growth and development of the information technology industry in Nova Scotia. The alliance achieves its goal by developing industry skills, sharing ideas and information, building alliances, and promoting IT opportunities and events.

xwave, a division of Bell Aliant, is a full-service business-solutions provider that serves clients through three service lines: systems integration and software engineering, infrastructure services and product fulfillment. These areas offer clients a broad delivery capability to plan, design, build and operate information communications technology solutions that span both corporate and operational systems, and to provide their infrastructure needs. xwave has more than US $300 million in revenues and employs 1,500 people with offices throughout New England, and in Washington, DC.

Nova Scotia Business Inc. is Nova Scotia's private sector-led business development agency. NSBI is the investment attraction arm of the province and helps companies in Nova Scotia meet their growth potential through business advisory, export development and financial services.

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