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    Coat of ArmsMedia Release
    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Queensland Young ICT Explorers bridging the digital divide

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy and Minister for Small Business
    The Honourable Leeanne Enoch

    Saturday, August 26, 2017

    Queensland Young ICT Explorers bridging the digital divide

    An innovative technology challenge being held in Brisbane this weekend - involving 450 students from 40 schools showcasing more than 150 ICT-related projects – aims to help close the ‘digital divide’.

    Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said today (Saturday) the Young ICT Explorers competition has also launched online to allow students in remote Queensland areas to compete at a national level.

    “Hosted by the University of Queensland, this competition is encouraging young people to be creative and innovative with technology,” Ms Enoch said.

    “Programs like Young ICT Explorers help foster a lifelong interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM), and empower young Queenslanders with the tools they will need to join the workforce of the future.

    “The recently published 2017 Australian Digital Inclusion Index shows there is still a digital divide between richer and poorer Australians.

    “Worryingly, the gap between people in low and high income households has widened over the past four years.

    “The Palaszczuk Government is helping nurture our next generation of entrepreneurs through the Young Starters’ Competition and Young Starters’ Fund, under our $420 million whole-of-government Advance Queensland initiative.”

    The Young ICT Explorers competition involves students in years 3 to 12 across Australia showcasing their best Information and Communication Technology (ICT) project to peers, academics and industry leaders in a creative forum.

    The program is run in a partnership with enterprise application software specialist SAP Australia, and national children’s education charity The Smith Family.

    The Smith Family, through its partnership with SAP Australia and others, is striving to boost participation from schools in lower socio-economic areas in Young ICT Explorers, with the aim to have a 50 per cent participation rate by 2020.

    The Smith Family’s Queensland General Manager Alan Le May said it was vital disadvantaged students were supported in accessing the technology and training they needed to fully participate in their education, and build the skills needed to secure jobs in an increasingly high-tech workforce.

    “We’re delighted to have partnered with SAP Australia to establish the Young ICT Explorers Accelerator Program to enable more schools from low-socio economic areas to take part in this year’s competition,” Mr Le May said.

    “More than 30 of The Smith Family’s partner schools are now participating nationally, with an impressive nine of those in Queensland.

    “This partnership provides an innovative approach to giving disadvantaged students, who might otherwise miss out, the opportunity to strengthen essential digital skills in a fun and engaging way.”

    SAP State manager for Queensland and Northern Territory Max Roberts said Australia needs to be inclusive in developing its future talent, particularly as digital skills continued to grow in demand.

    “Only by fostering a culture that celebrates achievements in science, technology, engineering and maths can we inspire greater participation in related fields,” Mr Roberts said.

    “This is important for Queensland’s future workforce, but also indispensable if the state’s industries are to transform and improve competitiveness in a digitised, global economy.”

    Four Brighton State School students will be competing in the challenge.

    “This is such a wonderful opportunity for our students to develop new skills, particularly in the area of ICT, and challenge themselves in a national competition,” said teacher Kath Burrell.

    “We are all excited to be involved, and look forward to the state final at the University of Queensland.”

    Visit the Young ICT Explorers website for more information www.youngictexplorers.net.au

    ENDS

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