In an attempt to bridge the skills gap present in Australia’s digital marketing industry the University of Technology Sydney (UTS) is teaming up with digital marketing research, publishing and education firm Econsultancy to launch a range of formally-accredited digital marketing and ecommerce qualifications.

The new programs, beginning in 2013, are intended to rectify the lack of formal qualifications and academic understanding that has arisen as practical skills and best practice have evolved with the digital marketer’s role.

Marketing recently touched on the apparent skills shortage Australia is experiencing (read Marketing‘s feature here and DTDigital’s Brian Vella’s response) and the UTS’ Jim Macnamara, deputy dean of the Faculty of Arts and Social Sciences, believes the pace at which the field advances means traditional, purely academical programs can’t keep pace. Macnamara says the new qualifications “represent an important development in digital education in Australia. With the rapid growth of digital industries and practices, there is a growing need for practical skills development. But to achieve best practice and incorporate innovation as well as quality, it is important for training and professional development to integrate industry as well as academic knowledge and research.”

“These programs aim to form the foundations of becoming a competent digital marketing practitioner. The executive certificates will enable digital professionals to study the academic side of a specialist subject, gain a formal, university-accredited qualification and apply learnings to their every-day roles – something that is sorely missing from the Australian digital landscape,” says Jake Hird, director of research and education at Econsultancy.

The programs, packaged as ‘Executive Certificates’, will be offered in fields such as social media, content marketing, ecommerce, integrated marketing communications, digital CRM and reputation management.