Australian organisations, education institutions and businesses will host a smorgasboard of events across the nation as part of the first National ICT Careers Week, commencing next Monday, July 28.
The Australian Computer Society, together with the nation's ICT industry, are running the careers week to stimulate a new generation of ICT qualified employees who are free of the "geeky" image that many consider the industry to have.
ACS CEO Kim Denham said the industry wants to get students and their parents excited about ICT careers and show them they can be part of the technology they consume.
"They are the future's innovators who will provide solutions to the world's leading issues from climate change to better health care and economic prosperity," Denham said.
Under the "Start Here - Go Anywhere" banner, more than 200 companies, education institutions, government organisations and industry bodies are putting on over 100 events and activities for school children across the country to demonstrate the dynamic range of jobs available in the ICT industry. School leavers, parents, politicians, teachers and the media are also welcome to attend.
"We have some great events scheduled for the week from the virtual reality Mars experience at Macquarie University, to using forensic IT to solve crime in NSW.
In the Northern Territory there's an interactive and multi media roadshow and in South Australia students will get the chance to meet Dr. Karl [Kruszelnicki]. Tasmania is hosting a great four week short course to help student transition to the workforce, and Queensland students will get the chance to build robots, it's events like these which show young people the opportunities available in ICT," Denham said.
AIIA NSW executive officer and national workforce policy manager, Michel Hedley, said part of the inspiration for National ICT Careers Week came from a report released by the previous federal government that identified ICT as the chief driver behind Australia's productivity.
"It was pretty clear that over the past 10 years Australia's productivity, despite everyone thinking it came out of mining, actually came out of ICT...we realised that the positive things about ICT have to be promoted to young people," Hedley said.
A key message of the careers week is that no matter what field young people may want to work in - health, education, environment, security, research & development, mining, manufacturing, energy, tourism or transport - studying ICT will help them achieve their goals.
ICT is also being touted as a passport to a global career, part of the solution for climate change, a financially and socially rewarding field, and as much about human interaction and working with people as any other industry.
The AIIA said many companies from outside the ICT sector are getting involved, reflecting the widely understood value of ICT to the economy.
Westpac group executive for business technology solutions and services, Diane Sias, said the role of IT within Westpac enables the bank to provide its customers with services that give them more time to live their lives the way they want to.
"Westpac is a proud employer of IT professionals and we're a strong supporter of the 2008 National ICT Careers Week. Studying computing is the pathway to a rewarding career, particularly in the finance industry," she said.
MD of Microsoft Australia, Tracey Fellows, said working for an ICT company puts you at the forefront of innovation.
"You are constantly learning. And because of that continuous learning, you are constantly acquiring new skills that can take your career in many different directions. It really does open up a world of possibilities.
"I can honestly say I cannot think of a better field to work in," Fellows said.
According to the ACS, Australia's ICT industry employs over half a million people. $50 million worth of ICT jobs, or 10,000 positions each year, are expected to be created over the next 12 to 18 months.
Some of the events being held for National ICT Careers Week include:
- Forensic IT & Electronic Discovery at the ACS NSW Branch
- Virtual Thrills, Robots & Computer Games at Macquarie University, NSW
- Meet Dr Karl Kruszelnicki at University of South Australia
- GO3 Electronic & Entertainment Expo at Perth Exhibition Centre
- From Study to Workplace: An ICT Pathway for Girls at Melbourne High
- Robotics Workshop at Griffith University, QLD
For full event listings for National ICT Careers Week visit the Web site.