ECU and IBM collaborate to launch innovative Future Lab

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Edith Cowan University (ECU) and IBM have joined forces to inaugurate the IBM Future Lab at ECU’s Joondalup campus, aimed at preparing West Australian students for the evolving job landscape in Artificial Intelligence (AI), sustainability, and energy transition.

The lab will provide interns with access to tailored learning resources, IBM experts, and networking opportunities with leading companies in the state, the university said in a media release.

Ian Abraham, IBM’s APAC Industry leader for Natural Resources, emphasised the lab’s role in nurturing a highly skilled workforce and outlined plans to create approximately 200 jobs within IBM across Western Australia over the next five years, along with additional roles with IBM’s partners and clients in key growth sectors.

“The establishing of the Future Lab on the ECU campus follows the success of the IBM Talent Incubator Pilot Program which has already seen 102 students successfully complete the program. Over half of these students chose to accept full time roles as IBM graduates,” stated Abraham.

Minister for Innovation and the Digital Economy Stephen Dawson hailed the collaboration as a prime example of academia-industry partnership, stressing the importance of knowledge sharing in driving innovation and technological advancement.

The IBM Future Lab at ECU will offer paid internships aligned with students’ studies, providing invaluable real-world experience in areas such as design, software engineering, data science, and project management.

According to ECU, the focus of the lab currently revolves around sustainability, AI, and energy transition, aligning with the needs of key clients and poised for expansion in the future.

ECU Vice-Chancellor Professor Steve Chapman CBE highlighted the program’s emphasis on developing graduates with a diverse skill set combining creativity, technology, and business acumen, calling it the next generation of industry-embedded learning.

“Opening the IBM Future Lab at our Joondalup campus creates a space where interns can meet, work, and collaborate today – to solve the problems of tomorrow.”

Megan Lilley, a current ECU Bachelor of Design student participating in the IBM internship, praised the opportunity to collaborate with professionals from various backgrounds, emphasising the flexibility and hands-on experience the internship provides.

Lilley noted, “It is an invaluable experience where you can work within the industry, with professionals in your own field. It is also extremely flexible, so if you feel like expanding your knowledge in a certain area, you have the freedom to do so!”

Max Read, an ECU Bachelor of Computer Science graduate and full-time IBM Associate, commended the Workplace Integrated Learning program at ECU for providing hands-on industry experience and lauded the IBM internship for its variety and potential for professional growth.

“One of the factors that led me to choose ECU as my preferred place of study was the Workplace Integrated Learning program, as I wanted to get hands-on industry experience,” Read stated.