Harvest, the technology division of Hili Ventures, has launched a technology academy in partnership with the University of Malta and the Faculty of Economics, Management and Accountancy (FEMA), in a bid to bridge the gap between the professional and academic spheres.
By imparting applied knowledge to students, the Harvest Technology Academy also aims to attract talent to the group through a collection of career opportunities.
Harvest is a multi-disciplinary group, comprising IT solutions provider PTL, payment gateway specialist APCO Systems, automation and security company APCO Ltd, business applications provider Stride, business analytics company Eunoia, and POANG, a joint venture engaged in game app development.
The Academy’s first initiative is a course in Contemporary Technology Management led by Harvest Chief Technology Officer Godwin Caruana for first- and second-year students at FEMA. The course began in early February.
Running to the end of May, the Contemporary Technology Management course delivers a generalist view on technology. As an elective study unit, it provides a solid understanding of enabling technologies and the respective applications in delivering business value. The course programme also deals with managing the technology landscape in a business context from four key driving forces or ‘nexuses’: business, software/application, data and technology.
Dr Caruana, a senior visiting lecturer at the University of Malta, joined Harvest last year to apply his vast knowledge base in various information technology research, adoption, implementation and governance areas to the multi-faced business.
He is a member of the research community at the University of Brunel within the Electronic and Computer Engineering Group, an independent expert and evaluator on the European Horizon 2020, European FP7 programmes, and a member of EU COST (European Cooperation in Science and Technology). In Malta, he is an appointed court expert on information technology.
Dr Caruana is a post-graduate from the University of Liverpool and the University of Brunel, where he graduated with a Master of Science with distinction in Information Technology and a PhD with a research focus on high-performance computing, algorithms and machine learning.
“Bridging the academic and professional constructs is a great way to bring more value to both academia and industry,” Dr Caruana said. “In this way, students are able to be better prepared for post-academic life, real-world work environments and challenges. The industry is also better positioned by having access to employees who can engage better and more rapidly within an enterprise.”
The Dean of FEMA, Professor Frank Bezzina, has reciprocated Harvest’s initiatives by extending a strong collaborative arm. “The Faculty recognizes and strongly encourages such academia-industry relationships that forge lasting learning experiences and transfer of knowledge at all levels, spanning from teaching to research initiatives,” he said.
The Academy plans to co-sponsor the FEMA Dean’s Awards, further strengthen its internship programme in technical and business fields, and provide support through technical expertise and equipment to students as they write their dissertations in liaison with academic supervisors. In the next few months, the Academy will offer a wider spectrum of accredited courses which will be more specialised and technical in nature and aimed at advanced students.
Harvest Chief Executive Rudolph Mifsud Saydon (left) and Chief Technology Officer Godwin Caruana (right) with Professor Frank Bezzina, Dean of the Faculty of Economics, Management and Accountancy, at the University of Malta.