How to unlock your high school students’ future in tech - Education Matters Magazine
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How to unlock your high school students’ future in tech

It’s a big ask to expect high school students to choose a career – especially when many job titles will change and new opportunities will emerge in the next decade.

It’s even tougher if they, or their family, aren’t aware of some of the career options available to them – making it hard to break down and look beyond gender and social stereotypes of ‘appropriate’ jobs and to see all the possibilities. For those thinking about tertiary study, there’s the added weight of a potential HECS debt.

Plus, a career may go in many different directions over a lifetime.

The good news is that technology careers are here for the long term and offer a wealth of opportunity to apply creativity and problem solving – not just in tech companies, but wherever technology can be applied in any industry. In fact, the Tech Council of Australia predicts that Australia will need an additional 122,000 entry-level tech workers, via university and VET pathways, by 203o.¹

As teachers, you play a critical role in raising awareness of these career opportunities and  the pathways available. For example, the WiseTech Global Earn & Learn program combines university study with a full-time job at one of Australia’s top tech companies. Over four years, students will earn a university degree in software engineering, be paid a competitive full-time salary, gain real-world experience, have university course fees reimbursed and finish with no HECS debt. They will be surrounded by experienced mentors and will see role models from all walks of life.

How can you spot students who are likely to thrive in this environment? Students who have high aptitude in mathematics, engineering, science or problem-solving are likely to thrive in Earn & Learn. They might be high achievers at school, or they might demonstrate potential in other ways within or outside of school. Any gender or background can be successful. They might have performed well in the Australian Mathematics Competition, or they might be an enthusiastic gamer or part of a coding club.

While it’s not necessary to already have a background in coding to participate in the WiseTech Earn & Learn program, it is useful.

Matthew Kameron, a former mathematics teacher and software engineer who leads the Earn & Learn program at WiseTech, suggests some activities you can encourage students to take part in to help expose them to the type of problem-solving involved, in a fun and enjoyable environment.

“Grok Academy provides free digital technology courses and teaching resources for schools, students and teachers across Australia. In particular, the Grok NCSS Challenge runs twice a year. First timers should do the intermediate division, then enrol in the advanced division the following semester. Complete beginners should do the Introduction to Python course first,” he said.

“Another resource is the Harvard CS50 Introduction to Computer Science – a free, self-paced online course which includes an overview of computer science and programming as well as how to think algorithmically and solve programming problems efficiently.”

Applications for the 2025 intake for WiseTech Earn & Learn are now open. To find out more go to www.wisetechglobal.com/earn-and-learn and watch this video.

Additional links:

1. Tech Council of Australia “The State of Australia’s Tech Ecosystem” report – March 2024

More reading: Report shows edtech can enhance student outcomes when used by a skilled teacher

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