A new IT and tech tertiary education program is being funded by the South Australian government to help up to 150 youths and unemployed people get a job in the digital economy.
The trial program will be run by New-York-headquartered social impact organisation Forte, with the state government committing up to $3 million depending on the employment results of program graduates. Training costs are not being paid by the government upfront.
In an effort to help fill the digital skills gap, the project offers a full time learn-to-code program, a Salesforce platform developer program, and a Microsoft Azure AZ900 certification. It also features employment support following completion.
The program is open to 17 to 24-year-olds not working or studying, women, people with a disability, and Indigenous South Australians. This includes those who are unemployed after completing vocational education and training or university.
The project is being delivered in partnership with state and national training providers 42 Adelaide, General Assembly, Generation, and _nology.
Forte has operations in 24 countries across Europe, Latin America, South-East Asia, and North America.
Among its 65 global partners and investors are the Atlassian Foundation, Westpac, Reinventure and tech conglomerate SoftBank Group.
Forte managing director Ed Miller said the group’s training programs for skills essential for the future would also help address long-term inequalities in the tech industry.
“We’ll be providing people access to some of the best training providers in the country – regardless of their own financial means,” Mr Miller said.
“The Forte model offers a unique approach to financing education and training that comes at no cost to the individual, and no risk to the taxpayer. We believe governments should only have to pay for reskilling programs that succeed in landing people good jobs, in high-demand industries.”
In 2020, the previous South Australian Liberal government introduce the 10-year EXCITE innovation strategy to enter the top quartile of research and innovation performance rankings among OECD nations. The state’s funding for a $3 million research translation initiative under the strategy was cut in the 2022-23 state budget by the new Labor government.
Instead, the state government has set aside $4 million to launch programs upskilling and supporting female owned businesses. A futher $2.8 million commitment has been made to improve local procurement practices.
According to the Australian Digital Inclusion Index, South Australia was the second least digitally included state in 2021, behind Tasmania, despite its burgeoning tech and space sector. This means the level of digital literacy and conncetion in the state lags behind the rest of the country. The index is a collaboration between the Australian Research Council Centre of Excellence for Automated Decision-Making and Society at RMIT, the Centre for Social Impact at Swinburen University, and Telstra.
Interested individuals can apply for the program here.
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