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VU wins grant to help build tradies' ICT awareness

An interdisciplinary Victoria University Faculty of Business and Law research team has been awarded a grant to develop a unique information and communications technology (ICT) program for tradespeople in Victoria.

Associate Professor Stephen Burgess (School of Management and Information Systems), Dr Rafael Paguio (School of Accounting and Finance) and Dr Carolyn Woodley (Victoria Law School) were awarded the grant by the Telematics Trust for their project, 'Enabled Tradie'.

The Telematics Trust grants are highly competitive and attract applications from leading educational institutes, government, business and not-for-profit organisations exploring innovative ways of using information and communications technology (ICT) for educational purposes.

'Enabled Tradie' will develop an educational program that combines face-to-face, online and work-based teaching approaches to build ICT awareness among Victorian tradespeople and encourage ICT usage. The pilot project will mentor a group of 12 tradespeople, supporting them in the adoption of appropriate ICT tools to help achieve business process efficiency, market effectiveness and work-life balance.

Offering an innovative alternative to the occasional training seminar format, the integrated project will take into account learners' individual requirements and will provide practical support to successfully adopt and evaluate ICT. It will draw on Victoria University's expertise in the use of face-to-face as well as online learning technologies. Another distinctive feature is the use of business students to provide dedicated and customised mentoring support to initiate and integrate ICT adoption.

Local councils in the Melbourne West region have been advised of the project and expressions of support have been received by the project team. Beyond this pilot phase, future plans include a wider roll-out across the region in line with VU's Local Government Areas Engagement framework.

VU Research Grants Manager, Sandy Superina described the award as 'fantastic news'. Sandy adds, 'this is a prestigious grant and demonstrates how we can forge productive links between VU expertise and the educational and research needs of Victoria.'

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