Industry drives demand for digital skills

National partnership nurtures talent across schools

Nurturing innovation

Nurturing innovation

The race to build Australia’s ICT skills has picked up momentum under an initiative led by key industry, government and education partners.

A Digital Careers partnership brings together the solutions provider SAP, together with NICTA (National ICT Australia), the Australian National University, University of New South Wales and Department of Communications, among others.

This coalition seeks to nurture ICT talent at the grassroots. It galvanises stakeholders across industry, research, primary, secondary, and tertiary institutions (universities and TAFE) as well as government.

The Digital Careers program is supported by a series of roadshows built around a “Young ICT Explorers” competition. Students in the 8-to-18 age bracket can submit their best technology projects.

These submissions are judged by a “Young ICT Explorers” panel. Into its fifth year, this explorers’ competition has run in Queensland, NSW, ACT and Victoria. Plans are underway to take the initiative to other states including Western Australia.

Passion for technology

A tripartite collaboration aims to tackle Australia’s troubling ICT skills’ mismatch. This gap is addressed by encouraging innovation and nurturing passion for technology. More than 1500 students have benefited from the national program.

Earlier, Greg Miller, vice president and general manager of SAP Global Partner Operations for Australia and New Zealand, said organisers are tabulating a growing number of innovative projects from students.

“It‘s vital to encourage this innovation from an early age so that, in the future, the industry is not faced with the skills mismatches like we‘re seeing today.”

Businesses still struggle to find the right people for the job. This stems from a shortage of applicants with the right science, technology, engineering and maths skills. The Digital Careers program seeks to address this shortage.

Karsten Schulz, NICTA’s national program director, Digital Careers, said this nation-wide competition is a standout example of collaboration between industry, educators and government.

This alliance nurtures student interest in technology and offers a touch point between students and industry professionals. These connections are best built in the more formative years of learning.

A list of upcoming events is available at the Digital Careers web site.

Follow Shahida Sweeney on Twitter: @ShahidaSweeney

Tags nictadigital educationskills shortageSAPDepartment of CommunicationsYoung ICT Explorerstalent management

More about ACTAustralian National UniversityDepartment of CommunicationsICT AustraliaNational ICT AustraliaNICTATAFEUniversity of New South Wales

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