$1 million boost for code careers
$1 million in cash grants to help inspire 10,000 under-represented school students into careers with code.
By Heather Catchpole
The chance to program robots, meet engineers transforming global communities or have a great mentor who can help you make the most of school – these experience can change your life.
Great experiences can also switch you on to the benefits of careers that use code, computer science and problem-solving to change the future.
And while these careers aren’t for everyone, there’s no doubt that learning skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) can give you a massive boost when you’re looking for a career in a space where jobs are increasingly becoming more focussed on digital literacy.
Many organisations and government are now acknowledging that STEM careers can help boost Australia’s innovation and that STEM skills are becoming more and more relevant to students – a report by global company PwC Australia estimates around 44% of current Australian jobs are at risk from being made obsolete by technological advances over the next 20 years.
On Friday, Google Australia announced a big boost in funding for established programs helping students get their hands on STEM experiences – a whopping $1 million to be shared between the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience, FIRST Robotics Australia and Engineers without Borders Australia. The program aims to expand the reach of the programs to 10,000 students and focus on underrepresented students, particularly Indigenous Australians, students from remote and regional Australia and girls. Graduate Careers Australia notes that in electrical engineering for example, women make up just 9% of Bachelor graduates.
“Australia’s jobs of the future will require new skills, and it’s critical that students from all walks of life are introduced to this field and have the opportunity to shape it and benefit from it,” write Google Australia managing director Maile Carnegie and Alan Noble, engineering director of Google Australia in Google’s blog.
“When we talk with successful people working in the fields of science, technology, engineering and maths, we often hear a similar story: that one special moment, program or person that inspired them along the way….We think these moments are too important to be left to chance.”
The funding was announced at Google in Sydney and attended by the federal Minister for Education and Training, Christopher Pyne and a bunch of students from FIRST Robotics, who took the chance to show off their skills demonstrating Lego Robotics at work.
Programs at a glance
Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience will develop STEM content into their Year 7 and 8 curriculum for Indigenous students, making the subjects relevant through experience-based learning. The program will increase the digital skillset of 4000 Indigenous students by 2018.
FIRST Robotics Australia will take its FIRST LEGO League and FIRST Robotics program into 150 new schools, providing a robotics set, teacher mentoring and support to student groups across Australia. FIRST will reach more than 1500 students in low-SES areas and regional schools, building teamwork and inspiring young Australians in the fields of engineering and computer science. To sign up, visit firstaustralia.org/new-grant
Engineers Without Borders Australia will expand its “Regioneering Roadshow”, which will give hands-on, STEM and computer science focused training to 5000 young people, with a particular focus on young women. The Google grant will double the existing program’s geographic reach and connect young professional engineers to community, youth and school groups across regional Australia.