IBM will establish a client innovation centre in the regional NSW city of Bathurst and hire hundreds of staff as part of a multi-year partnership with Charles Sturt University.
The hub, which is expected to be up and running in the second half of 2022, is expected to employ over 300 professionals, consisting mostly of new recruits and CSU students.
It will be used to “support IBM client demand across Australia, delivering technical expertise and ‘hot skills’ in areas such as data science, cyber security, AI and hybrid cloud”.
The centre is also expected to offer scholarships and work placements, giving students “meaningful industry work experience” to improve their chances of employment.
Announcing the partnership on Thursday, NSW deputy premier and Minister for Regional NSW Paul Toole said it is fantastic that IBM is “setting up a base of operations in the bush”.
“Setting up a regional innovation centre at CSU will provide the Central West with greater job opportunities, by offering opportunities closer to home now and into the future,” he said.
Toole said the partnership was helped by the government’s $130 million regional job creation fund, which offers up to $10 million in co-funding to businesses.
IBM A/NZ managing director Katrina Troughton said the digital skills crisis, which had worsened since the pandemic, demanded new approaches to skills development and hiring.
She added that the skills gap could be bridged “by building and developing diverse and regional talent pools”.
“Students today must have digital acumen and literacy to be able to fully contribute to and participate in tomorrow’s digital economy,” she said.
“Industry-academic partnerships… are key to providing deeper, more relevant experience that will better equip students to enter today’s workforce.”
CSU vice-chancellor professor Renée Leon described the partnership as “historic” for regional NSW, creating a “wealth of opportunity” for students, staff and researchers.
IBM will also "assist in the co-creation of courses, focused on the intersection of technology and business transformation for innovation" as part of the partnership.
“I want to thank IBM Australia for their collaboration in seeking to establish this partnership, which is evidence of how CSU is advancing the careers of our students, inspiring impactful research and driving regional outcomes with global impact,” she said.