Prime Minister Tony Abbott has highlighted a US education model which works with corporations to prepare them for entry level positions in the IT industry.

Abbott toured the Pathways in Technology Early College (P-TECH) High School, in Brooklyn, New York overnight with IBM as part of his current visit to France, Canada and the US. The P-TECH high school in Brooklyn is an example of a new education model spanning grades 9-14 which aims to combine elements of high school, college and career. Abbott said he was delighted to visit P-TECH while in New York.

"I believe this is an innovative and valuable education model for us to consider in Australia," he said. Through P-TECH, IBM is working with educators in school districts and higher education to redesign high schools.

They are expanding them from four to six years so that students graduate with both a high school diploma and an Associate in Applied Science degree.

With these degrees, graduates will be prepared to embark upon entry-level careers in the IT industry or continue their education. IBM managing director, A/NZ, Andrew Stevens, said the current shortage of skills had serious repercussions for Australia's future economic health and employment opportunities.

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"We need to tackle this problem head-on with innovative, new approaches in collaboration with industry," he said.

"To that end, IBM supports improved career and technical education, particularly for the subjects of science, technology, engineering and math which contribute to societal improvement and economic development." IBM vice president of corporate citizenship, Stanley Litow, who helped devise the P-TECH model said the grade 9-14 model exemplified by P-TECH schools is reinventing the concept of high school in America.

"The academic results to date in P TECH schools both in New York City and Chicago have been truly impressive, and is the reasons why it is being expanded so rapidly in the United States"

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