When you were encouraged to enter the knowledge economy, you should have been told that knowledge is constantly evolving. Even more, you will find it's your responsibility to keep up if you want to keep your market value. Meanwhile tasks need to be done, projects need to be completed, and the day to day reality of the job kicks in.
When you want to upskill and keep your fulltime job then night classes can be a useful way to get the skills needed for a new career or the qualifications needed for the next step up the ladder.
IT is becoming a platform for business growth in NZ and internationally. It is changing at a fast rate and it is crucial that those in IT are are updating their knowledge and skills on an ongoing basis. AMES IT Academy is reinstituting night classes after a gap of some years because of market demand.
AMES is a NZQA accredited private training institute with campuses in Queen St, Auckland, Takapuna and Hamilton.
It is an Approved Microsoft Academy, a Cisco Network Academy and a CompTIA Partner, and runs the largest test centre for IT international certifications in Australasia. Ames teaches certificates and diplomas that lead to a range of IT jobs.
Students can work towards certificates in Windows and web software development, or a diploma in distributed software development. There's a certificate in inter-network device management and security, one in enterprise server administration and a diploma in network systems management and security. New programmes for cloud technology and SharePoint are awaiting NZQA approval.
Sandford says AMES' courses are designed so that students can pick up a certificate after each 12 - week semester, with four semesters a year if they want to continue to expand their portfolio.
"We have four main types of students. School leavers who we will continue to cater for in our day classes; people who are wanting to retrain; people in IT who are wanting an adjusted role in their existing organisations; and people who are looking to enhance their career prospects," she says.
Many in those latter categories are mature students, aged between 30 to 45, who may have fallen into IT as part of their existing jobs and realise it is the path they want to take.
"We also get university graduates in Computer Science who find they don't have the hands on training or international certificates that employers want."
AMES has existing relationships with employers who are keen to pick up students once they achieve their certificates or diplomas.
"They like them because they can get into IT fast and the training is very practical, they are able to induct them into their organisations quickly because they have the technical skills and most will have the international certificates which are the benchmark in industry.
"We also have feeder schools, and most students have been doing some form of information and communications technology."
Sandford says the AMES approach suits more technical-minded students, and its small classes, with a maximum of 16 people, means students can get more one on one help if needed than they would in a larger institution.
While some large companies have existing graduate programmes, Sandford says AMES is encouraging employers to take an "IT apprenticeship approach" which recognises that the acquisition of applied practical skills and certifications will fit key IT roles in the organisation.
"These are the technicians, the builders, the fix-it practical people," she says.
"Employees are looking at their careers prospects and seeing they have more options and opportunities if they upskill. It is hard for employers to keep up with the changes in IT and that's where we come in and support employers around the concepts of succession planning and talent acquisition.
AMES' focus on vendor certifications as well as NZQA-approved qualifications means that as well as having what they need for the New Zealand environment, graduates have a ticket to travel the world.
"The beauty of IT as well is that it is a growth industry, so your earnings can be a lot higher. If you are looking at upskilling, your chances of a return on investment are a lot higher than many other training opportunities."