‘Full STEAM Ahead’: Computer Science Education for Australian Youth

By Anna Howarth, Microsoft Australia Philanthropies Manager

I am thrilled to announce that Microsoft Australia is partnering with the Australian Business and Community Network (ABCN) and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences (MAAS) to deliver computer science education to disadvantaged youth right across the country through the ‘Full STEAM Ahead’ initiative.

This is a YouthSpark investment, and part of Microsoft’s global commitment of $75 million over the next three years to increase access to computer science education for all youth, and especially for those from under-represented backgrounds.

‘Full STEAM Ahead’ provides interactive experiences for students in the areas of Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM).

We’re delighted to partner with ABCN, to harness their skills in connecting corporate Australia with disadvantaged youth through mentoring and partnership programs. We are bringing the expertise of MAAS, who have the skills, curriculum and experiences to deliver the program to help develop the computational thinking and problem-solving skills young people need in today’s ever-changing digital world.

“ABCN is delighted to be collaborating with Microsoft and the Museum of Applied Arts and Sciences. Microsoft has been a long term partner of ours in working to improve student outcomes in disadvantaged Australian schools, and their funding of this program addresses a critical need for Australia’s future workforce.” – Jacqui Jones, Chief Executive, ABCN

The workshops will reach more than 1,000 students, delivered both on site at the Powerhouse Museum, and also streamed live into classrooms across the country. The program will give students the chance to learn how to code, understand game design, create applications and use the Internet of Things. The program will also offer a range of interactive experiences, careers days and valuable work experience.

This generation – more than any before it – has the power to collaborate and create the changes they want to see in the world. However, early this year it was revealed young Australians are lagging behind the rest of the world when it comes to technical skills and job prospects in today’s innovation age.

The report from this year’s World Economic Forum revealed that Australian students ranked last in a global survey of 9,000 people aged between 16 and 25 across nine countries. What’s more, less than a fifth of those surveyed indicated an interest in furthering their STEAM knowledge – the very skills that will prepare them for the jobs market of the future. Our strong focus through YouthSpark is provide access to computer science education for all young people to improve outcomes for youth and foster a culture of innovation in this country.

 “Through the generosity of Microsoft, we are thrilled to be working with the ABCN to give more than 1000 disadvantaged young Australians access to opportunities to learn, practice and apply real technology skills which inspire creativity and creative exploration.” – Dolla Merrillees, Director, MAAS

More information about YouthSpark and access to tools and resources, including free online tutorials and training, can be found at http://YouthSparkHub.com and http://Microsoft.com/imagine.



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