Bridging the Mainframe Skills Gap

With other Australian and New Zealand IBM Z® mainframe organisations on board, now it’s your turn

University of Canberra logo Column 72 logo

Escalating skill shortages, overworked staff and a workforce that is fast reaching retirement age. Sound familiar?

If mainframe workforce problems have left your organisation at risk – you’re not alone. Across Australia, senior managers are seeking a long-term solution to ensure the availability of their infrastructure and applications.

Campus life
Campus life

A solution that actually works

Although ‘mainframers’ might be moving into retirement, the machines are not going anywhere.

The Mainframe Traineeship Program

The University of Canberra and Column 72‘s Mainframe Traineeship Program places aspiring mainframe professionals in workplaces, just like yours, all across Australia and New Zealand.

The 3-year program matches trainees to organisations with IBM Z® mainframe technology needs. The trainee is offered fulltime employment with the company where they’ll experience on-the-job training whilst simultaneously completing a Bachelor of Information and Mainframe Technology with the University of Canberra.

Two-Way Value

  • Grow your internal skills and capacity

  • Great solution to succession planning

  • Trainees matched to your business

For Employers

By sponsoring one or more trainees, your organisation can take advantage of the skills of your existing workforce to succession plan for the future. Relax with the confidence of knowing your in-house team is equipped with the skills and capacity to service your organisations mainframe needs now, and in the future.

Employers choose the candidates that suit their business from a pool of potential pre-qualified trainees, ensuring you’ll always end up with the best fit for your organisation.

In exchange, your organisation will mentor the trainee in the workforce, fund the university fees and support the flexibility needed to complete their needs to study while they work.

For Trainees

The program is attractive to trainees who will enjoy a fulltime employee salary whilst they study and graduate with workforce experience and free of fee debt. They’ll also be joining an industry with guaranteed job prospects and room for growth.


Our Success Stories

One of the best decisions I have made was to apply for the Mainframe Trainee program. Not only did I receive a degree, without any debt, but also 3 years of work experience in the same time. I am now a Senior Mainframe Developer with 13 years’ experience, working for the Government.

Kevin Dodge
University of Canberra graduate 2006

Participating in the Mainframe Trainee program is a pivotal part of growing skills to support our mainframe business into the future. We’ve seen excellent results and now have fantastic skilled personnel that we hope to maintain for many years to come. The collaboration between IBM, the university and Column 72 has been a key in making this happen. Without this we see the skills base in the industry at risk of diminishing with the ever-aging resources.

Scott Thomson, Director Data Centre Services
Northern Territory Government

Frequently Asked Questions

You will sign a contract with Column 72 setting our standard terms and conditions, including your obligations. Once signed, you will make a selection of Column 72’s qualified Trainees to interview. You will make your SE Letter of Offer (SEL) i.e. your standard employment letter, to your selected Trainees. Once accepted by the Trainee, they become your employee and you pay their salary, degree fees, travel and accommodation to Summer/Winter School in Canberra.

Yes, you specify your requirements to Column 72 and they will match their Trainee Profile(s) for you to select and interview.

The trainees are your employees to be managed as you would any other employee. The duration of the Bachelor of Information and Mainframe Technology degree course is 3 years.

Our trainees join the Mainframe Program qualified at a Diploma or Advanced Diploma level (Level 5 or Level 6 under the Australian Qualification Framework). Typically, this means the Mainframe Trainee Program should align to most cadetship programs offered across most large private and government organisations.

At the end of the 3-year period, the Mainframe Trainee Program qualifies students to a Bachelor Degree, (or Level 7 under the Australian Qualifications Framework).

The timeline you can expect is detailed below:

February - March: You will interview potential candidates and select those you who meet your specified needs. Following this, you will issue your Sponsoring Employer Letter of Offer (SEL) to your selected candidate/s.

Friday 5th April: All HR and procurement paperwork must be completed to in order to finalise the Purchase Order.

Friday 3rd May: Signed and accepted Sponsoring Employer Letter of Offer (SEL) by your selected Trainees and invoice paid.

Monday 3rd June: Classes start for trainees at the University of Canberra.

After the exhaustive selection and enrolment process, this rarely occurs. We recommend you appoint a mentor for each Trainee to give one on one guidance and support. However, if the employee has performance issues, these would be managed under your organisations normal process.

Throughout the trainees’ journey both Column 72 and the University of Canberra will provide feedback to you and work to ensure their students meet all expectations. In the event there is an issue that cannot be resolved, we will work in partnership with you to provide an alternative solution.

Next intake closes soon

Think the Mainframe Trainee Program would work for your business? Our next intake begins in Winter Semester 2019. Applications for participating employers close Friday 5 April 2019.

Find out more

To find out more about the program, or book a personal consultation with the University of Canberra and Column 72, please contact us using the Contact form.

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