ACS and TasTAFE have launched the Women in ICT Pathways Program, supported by the Tasmanian Department of State Growth’s Training and Work Pathways Program.

The Women in ICT Pathways Program is a 24-month pilot program supporting 36 students with training, mentoring and work placement. The students will undertake a Certificate III in Information, Digital Media and Technology course, and will be connected with a mentor and run through a professional development program. The program also aims to remove barriers to participation and strengthen the pathways between education and employment.

This pilot program is designed to promote life-long learning, strengthen linkages between the education and ICT sector and develop an evidence base to inform the sustainable delivery of future programs.

The launch includes an event at the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens aimed at raising awareness in the broader Tasmanian tech community of this unique opportunity for students and attracting tech employers to offer work placements and mentoring support to the students. RACT and Disruptive Co are key sponsors of the launch, with a focus on promoting employers of choice and encouraging mentoring of women in technology professions.

ACS Tasmania Chair, Professor Paulo de Souza, said ACS is proud to partner with TasTAFE, the Tasmanian Government and the broader tech community in Tasmania.

“This Tasmanian program is a practical example of ACS’ national vision for Australia to be a world leader in technology talent, that fosters innovation and creates new forms of value,” said Mr de Souza.

“Participation rates of women can be lifted in Tasmania by attracting and retaining women into the tech profession through the establishment of a pathway program that strengthens linkages between education and employment in the local industry and showcases the breadth of ICT roles.”

ACS Australia’s Digital Pulse 2018 highlights that a diverse workplace increases productivity and employee satisfaction, leading to increased economic growth. However, the tech workforce in Australia continues to see underrepresentation in key demographic segments. In particular, the participation of women in tech roles remains a significant issue. Women currently comprise only 28% of all tech professionals, compared to a 45% female representation across all professional industries.

“We are pleased that we will provide 36 women with the opportunity to be part of a supported technology training program that will see them attain a nationally recognised qualification, employment experience and ultimately a tech career that they are passionate about,” said Mr de Souza.

“Bringing enthusiastic mentors to assist young women studying tech is a smart way to share experiences, provide guidance and increase awareness of the difficulties women face. As an outcome, we would expect a workforce growing in quality, talent and diversity.”

TasTAFE is the largest vocational education and training provider in Tasmania. TasTAFE CEO, Jenny Dodd, said TasTAFE was proud to partner with ACS to offer training to encourage more women to enter Tasmania’s growing tech industry.

“At TasTAFE, our priority is to meet the needs of industry and the wider economy and help Tasmanians gain the skills they need for a fulfilling career,” said Ms Dodd.

“The Certificate III in Information, Digital Media and Technology has been specifically designed to suit a range of women from school leavers to mothers or carers looking to return to the workforce, or women looking for a career change.

“The program will give women the opportunity to learn a range of practical ICT skills through working with our industry-trained teachers as well as mentoring, workplace visits and industry guest speakers.”

ACS will be offering scholarships to assist with course fees. Travel and childcare subsidies may also be available, and this information will be provided when applying for the course.