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Youth and technology: How STEM will change Australia’s labour market

Published 8th March 2016

Australia is currently going through a transition period. After the downward spiral of the mining sector, the government is doing all it can to rebalance the economy.

One such way is by encouraging young people to take up science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and engage with new forms of work, such as IT contractor services.

Young Australians are the future

According to the Australian government, it will invest $51 million over five years to encourage students to become part of the digital age and inculcate the required skills to succeed in the future.

Major changes include:

  • Direct experience developed through exposure to visiting scientists and ICT professionals
  • Summer schools that target year nine and year 10 students for information and communications technology (ICT) training
  • A Cranking the Code initiative that will have a series of competitions for year four’s to year 12’s
  • New national online computing challenges for year five to year seven students
  • New help for teachers implementing Digital Technologies curriculum delivered online or through targeted help.
  • The government believes that students who embody skills related to ICT will be the major drivers of Australia’s economic and social well-being in the future.

    Teaching students computer literacy will allow young Australians to develop skills such as problem-solving and critical thinking that should help them to engage with every aspect of life – including their career.

    Not all about ICT

    While ICT skills are highly important, STEM skills can also help young Australians succeed and drive the country forward at the same time.

    According to a report by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC), teaching STEM skills, particularly mathematics, is a key way of engaging with Australia’s dropping youth employment rate.

    The report shows that Australia slipped four places in the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s (OECD) rankings for under-25 employment.

    PwC Australia Economics and Policy Partner Jeremy Thorpe said that modelling shows that increasing under-25s’ engagement with employment, training or education to similar levels as Germany would increase GDP by 3 per cent or AU$21 billion.

    Australia needs to do something to slow the rising youth unemployment. Between 2006 and 2015, unemployment amongst 15 to 24-year-olds increased from 10 per cent to 13.3 per cent. While between 2001 and 2011, school drop out rates for 20 to 24-year-olds jumped from 19.6 per cent 23.1 per cent.

    “With 75 per cent of the fastest growing occupations requiring STEM skills, improving STEM education – mathematics in particular – and shifting our workforce into STEM, will be essential if we’re to effectively leverage young workers,” said Mr Thorpe.

    Getting young people into IT work is an excellent way of boosting the economy and increasing personal success at the same time.

    If you would like to know how to increase your own success, talk to the experts in IT contractor services: Contact Oncore Services today.