Since its inception, I have had the privilege of judging the Young ICT Explorers (YICTE) competition. This experience has highlighted the program’s remarkable flexibility of the program. What stands out about YICTE is its seamless integration into any educational setting where technology is a focus. This adaptability can extend beyond the classroom, making YICTE an ideal project for after-school groups, including those aimed at extending students’ learning.

One of the most compelling aspects of YICTE is its perfect alignment with the Australian Technologies Learning Area Curriculum. It provides students with an authentic project that targets the curriculum’s over-arching core concept of ‘Creating solutions for preferred futures’. This is not just a theoretical exercise; the projects designed under YICTE can encompass the curriculum’s Core Competencies, including Project-based Learning, Design Thinking, Systems Thinking, Computational Thinking, and Enterprise and Innovation. This holistic approach ensures that students are not only learning about technology but are also developing a comprehensive set of skills that are vital in today’s technological world.

Another significant benefit of YICTE is the access it provides to industry professionals. Having witnessed this interaction firsthand, I can attest to the motivational impact it has on students. This exposure not only inspires them but also gives them insights into the practical applications of their learning in the real world.

Perhaps most importantly, YICTE offers students a purposeful, hands-on experience with technology, which is indispensable for their future. In a world increasingly driven by technological advancements, such experiences are crucial in preparing students for the challenges and opportunities that lie ahead. YICTE, therefore, stands as a beacon of educational innovation, equipping students with the knowledge, skills, and inspiration they need to thrive in a rapidly evolving digital landscape.

Leanne Cameron, 
PhDSenior Lecturer, Education (Technologies)
College of Arts, Education & Social Sciences
Division of Tropical Environments & Societies         
James Cook University, Australia

Driving Diversity to Address the Growing Tech Workforce Challenge: A Testimonial for the Young ICT Explorer Program

I am honoured to provide my heartfelt testimonial for the Young ICT Explorer program, a visionary initiative that not only champions technological innovation and diversity but also serves as a critical response to the anticipated labour shortage of 237,000 technology workers in Australia by 2030. As a judge for this program, I have witnessed the program’s proactive approach to shaping a more inclusive and skilled workforce for the future.

The pressing challenge of the looming technology workforce shortage in Australia is a stark reality that the Young ICT Explorer program is addressing head-on. The program’s commitment to engaging and nurturing the brightest young minds in technology is not just about inspiring innovation; it is a strategic investment in building a pipeline of skilled professionals who will be essential to filling the impending gaps in the tech industry.

2023’s achievement of a 50% split in participation between boys and girls is not just a statistical triumph but a strategic move to tap into the full spectrum of talent that our diverse society has to offer. By actively encouraging and empowering a more diverse group of participants, the program is not only creating opportunities for individuals but also contributing to a more robust and resilient technology workforce that can address the challenges of the future.

The mentorship and guidance provided by industry professionals within the program play a crucial role in preparing these young talents for the demands of the tech industry. As the workforce shortage looms, the Young ICT Explorer program is sowing the seeds for a generation of professionals who will be equipped with the skills, knowledge, and diverse perspectives needed to bridge the gap and drive innovation.

In essence, the Young ICT Explorer program is not just a celebration of technology; it is a strategic response to the evolving needs of the tech sector. By actively addressing the anticipated labour shortage, the program is making a profound impact on the future landscape of the technology industry in Australia. I am honoured to be a part of this transformative initiative and am confident that the program’s influence will be a driving force in shaping a workforce that is not only diverse but also well-prepared to meet the challenges of tomorrow.

Selvam Mk Venugopal
Senior Customer Success Partner
Intelligent Spend & Business Network | CSS
SAP Australia & New Zealand