Media Release

Setting a new standard for Australia’s future digital technology workforce

April 21 2021

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering (ATSE) is excited to announce it will be taking the successful Computer Science in Schools program to the next level.

CS in Schools is a free program that helps schools build a robust digital technology capability in their students, and aims to set the standard for computer science education nationally.

Founded by Google Maps and eBay pioneer Hugh Williams, his partner and business executive Selina Williams and education professional Kristy Kendall, it matches computing professionals with teachers, helping them develop their coding skills in the classroom and providing innovative lesson materials.

ATSE Chief Executive Kylie Walker said the program is a natural fit for the Academy.“The Academy of Technology and Engineering is delighted to work with the CS in Schools team to bring high-quality and free computer science education to Australian secondary schools,” Ms Walker said.

“The CS in Schools team’s expertise in the tech sector and education is a powerful match for ATSE’s strong experience in delivering science, technology and engineering education and career pathways programs.

“CS in Schools has already successfully brought quality coding education to 40 schools and an estimated 9000 students, with a particular focus on supporting girls and regional students. Together we plan to bring the program to every secondary school in Australia, to deliver DigiTech as a core subject.”

CS in Schools was established under the auspices of RMIT but is now transitioning to ATSE which intends to aggressively grow the program nationally.

Research undertaken by Deloitte and the Australian Computer Society’s Digital Pulse indicates there will be over 100-thousand new IT jobs in Australia by 2024, but there are only seven thousand university IT graduates every year.

Co-founder Hugh Williams said if Australia is to meet that workforce need it has to spark the interest of students earlier.

“If students don’t experience DigiTech in their early secondary schooling, they are less likely to choose it later,” Professor Williams said.

“But many teachers don’t have the background or confidence to teach it. So that’s where CS in Schools can make a difference.”

Australia’s Chief Scientist Dr Cathy Foley said fluency and familiarity with digital technologies is currency in this new economy.

“It’s critically important that young people are taught computer science skills if we are to fill the digital jobs of the future,” Dr Foley said.

“ATSE has the national reach to ensure coding can be offered in all secondary schools, and in particular those in regional and remote locations.”

CS in Schools will continue to be run as a free program and is available for the public and private education sectors.

Media contact:  Liz Foschia liz.foschia@atse.org.au  or 0419 976 903

The Australian Academy of Technology and Engineering is a Learned Academy of independent experts helping Australians understand and use technology to solve complex problems.