Practical skills the focus of university's new course
keyboard Photo: Michele Mossop
The University of Technology, Sydney (UTS) is introducing an online learning program developed by enterprise software giant SAP to ensure Australian students acquire the practical skills required by employers.
The online training program was designed to give students industry recognised SAP certification.
“On completion, the student will be an associate SAP consultant,” says Aroon Wadvani, education channel manager at SAP.
Businesses are increasingly demanding graduates have practical IT skills. Photo: Michele Mossop
Unlike undergraduate programs designed to foster deeper theoretical understanding, the online course is designed to produce students with knowledge, practical skills and ability in SAP enterprise solutions, so companies don't need to spend time and money on additional technical training.
A large number of organisations use enterprise systems to do their accounting, says associate professor Bernhard Wieder, co-ordinator of the university's Business Information Systems Programs.
“But we've noticed that in the enterprise sector, both public and private, experts are being imported from overseas, and we want to develop this expertise in our local students.”
keyboard Photo: Michele Mossop
UTS has been using SAP software as part of its business courses for the past 15 years, and this online program is offered as part of the university's extracurricular short courses for students who want to integrate practical expertise with their theoretical subjects.
“We already have students in a lab with hands-on access to SAP software to teach the practical issues in accounting, sales, production planning, etc, but this online program gives them the opportunity to (master) the content and become experts,” says Wieder.
The program is aimed at students with qualifications or experience in accounting, business, operations management, sales or IT. It can be taken as a standalone professional development course or as a pathway to the full Master of Business in Accounting.
The lack of practical IT skills training in universities has been a constant complaint from some sections of the industry and graduates who say tertiary computer degrees are too theoretical and don't prepare students for immediate employment.
The SAP course promises to give students literacy in financial and management accounting, cost and operations management, sales and distribution management, and procurement and inventory management.
A series of short modules, the online program is structured and designed by SAP, with a combination of e-learning and hands-on experience. The program combines PowerPoint presentations and simulations of business scenarios using SAP ERP (enterprise resource planning) software. Students are assessed at the end of each module.
“The beauty of the online course is that it is self-paced and students can go through the content until they understand it,” says Wadvani.
The program won't be entirely online, says Wieder. “Students will have access to a lecturer and meet at workshops to discuss questions and issues, and to teach more complicated problems as well.”
North Sydney Institute of TAFE will also be running a similar program.