Tech giants have joined forces to create a site for Australians to find free IT courses.
Called Skill Finder, the site aggregates free online courses from major Australian and international technology companies like Atlassian, Amazon, Google, and Xero.
It was created for free by Melbourne-based ecommerce company Balance Internet using resources donated by Adobe and Amazon Web Services (AWS).
Managing director of Balance Internet, James Horne, said the idea for Skill Finder came out of a hackathon it ran earlier this year.
“It’s incredible to think our company, operating out of extended lock-down in Melbourne, has been able to corral the calibre of Australian and global technology companies involved to deliver on the Skill Finder concept,” Horne said in a statement.
“It’s our belief that 10 per cent or even more of Australia’s total workforce could immediately upskill as part of this initiative.”
Minister for Industry, Science and Technology, Karen Andrews, agreed adding that digital skills are key to Australia’s post-pandemic economic recovery.
“We need to make sure Australians have the skills they need to take advantage of the jobs that industry will create,” Andrews said in a statement.
“The broad selection of courses on offer through Skill Finder are what Australia needs to drive digital transformation and innovation, ultimately delivering growth and jobs.”
Courses offered through Skill Finder range from short primers on beginner computer skills to lengthy intermediate courses on topics like machine learning.
All of these are hosted externally and are, for the most part, specific to the products owned by Skill Finder’s partners.
For example, Atlassian offers courses in using Jira and Confluence, AWS can teach you how to use AWS, and Salesforce can help you “build your career” on Salesforce.
Google appears at first glance to offer more broad courses on specific languages but instead redirects you to other external providers.
Choosing the Python Basics course from Skill Finder, for example, takes you first to the Google Digital Garage which then links to Coursera.
Still, there are lots of topics to choose from to begin a new upskilling journey.
Some courses – like Adobe’s Augment Reality with Your Students – include microcredentials (an ‘Adobe digital badge’ in that case) along with professional development hours.
Suzanne Steele, managing director of Adobe ANZ, said all manner of digital skills were more needed now than ever before.
“We are confident that Skill Finder will help any Australian looking to sharpen digital skills and knowledge as they re-enter the workforce or choose to change direction within it,” Steele said.
“Australian companies of all sizes will also benefit from a newly accredited digitally-skilled workforce, able to help them deliver the exceptional digital experiences brands and consumers have come to now expect.”