Education spends $18m building problem-ridden apprentice IT system

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Education spends $18m building problem-ridden apprentice IT system

Nearly exhausts budget.

The Department of Education and Training has spent close to all its $20 million budget developing a new national apprenticeship management system that remains indefinitely delayed.

The Australian apprentice management system (AAMS) has been a thorn in the side of the department since NEC advised the project would take “significantly longer than originally envisaged”.

It was meant to replace the department’s now 16 year-old training and youth internet management system (TYIMS) in 2016, which was labelled both outdated and buckling under pressure in June 2013.

The department pushed back the rollout of AAMS to last November, but cancelled the go-live at the last minute and delayed the system indefinitely while it worked "to achieve a solution”.

At the time it said the decision was made to pause the project while it “entered into discussions with the vendor about the best way forward”.

It later appointed PwC to review the system, after the project caught the eye of the Digital Transformation Agency and was added to the DTA's high-risk watchlist because of its “worsening overall status”.

Last month the department’s group manager for skills programs Brendan Morling told senate estimates the project had encountered “a number of technical issues”, pushing the $11.4 million budget to $12.9 million.

Stakeholders had also “expressed some concerns about the project”, including its "efficiency at processing… transactions”, he said.

He said the department was not in a position to provide an estimate to finish the project.

The department's Secretary Michele Bruniges also agreed with an assertion by Senator Doug Cameron that the project was “nowhere near complete”.

However the department has now clarified its original evidence to the committee, putting the project's total budget at $19.6 million, $18 million of which has already been spent.

This includes “$12.9 million worth of direct projects costs”, and a further $2.25 million on software licence and project supporting costs, which the deputy secretary Subho Banerjee said “were not originally identified as being recorded against AAMS project expenditure”.

Another $2.9 million has been incurred by the Department of Industry, Innovation and Science, the department said.

It is not known if the $18 million figure includes the portion of the $1.7 million deal with PwC to review the system's implementation.

A spokesperson for the department told iTnews that field work for the review has now been completed, and that a final report is in the process of being finalised.

The department is now "considering next steps for the AAMS project", the spokesperson said.

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