The Australian Mathematics Trust has opened mentorship applications for ICT professionals across the country to help develop the ICT skills of year 9 and 10 students.

The ICT Mentoring Opportunity program sees a mentor matched to one student pertaining to their interest in the ICT learning area. Over six months, they work together to improve the student’s understanding of ICT to give them a jumpstart into the industry.

Now in its second year, the annual mentorship program will cater two four-day camps involving guest lectures, interactive sessions, practical work and field trips and involve regular meetings between mentors and mentees.

Over the course of the program, mentees will discuss study options and career pathways, undertaking further extension work with support from their mentor, developing ideas based on learnings from the camp or working on a project.

The target group is year 9 and 10 to encourage students to select their final year subjects based on the skills and ideas they have been exposed to in the ICT-focused program.

Students underrepresented in ICT in the workforce, such as female, low socio-economic, rural, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students and those with a disability are prioritised in the selection.

Australian Mathematics Trust CEO Nathan Ford said these students are the most vulnerable to falling behind in the digital divide.

“These students do not typically get as much access to ICT and similar programs whilst in secondary school,” he said.

Sixty students from Victoria and Tasmania have already been selected to participate. Previous projects have included a working robotic arm, adventure games, a gravity simulator, a home network set up, and a solution to solve a school website problem.

The program runs from January to July 2018 and there are 60 positions available for mentors.

Applications are open until 31 August 2017.