I grew up a small town in Australia where people didn't have much to do with computers. The primary industry was coal mining and my friends at school didn't think of university education as an option. Too expensive; too hard to get into.
Some had babies before 18, some fell into drug addiction, most didn't graduate... but what many did were trade apprenticeships. A trade apprenticeship meant they could leave school at 16, start earning some money, and get training to be a qualified construction worker, plumber, electrician and other manual labor roles. In my own case I got lucky by building a popular video game community website when I was 17 which scored me a scholarship at city university.
In the 21st century the demand for IT talent has rapidly increasing. As our society grows so does our dependence on systems and software to facilitate our daily lives. There are a broad range of IT jobs at all levels that remain unfilled and outsourced and any business can be improved by the smallest amount of IT knowledge.
We think there should be an IT apprenticeship program that enables kids who come from situations where college/university isn't a viable option. Apprentices would work at IT companies doing entry-level work whilst also studying at government-sponsored IT schools. They would complete 2-4 year training and work program where they would build the skills to work in the IT industry and receive a professional accreditation for.
It's obvious that kids are into technology; the biggest unicorn tech companies in this country were built off products that targeted young people. By removing the obstacles [university fees, high GPA scores, inability to earn while studying], 16-17 year-olds have signed-up to be a part of this program.
There are benefits to all stakeholders:
- IT companies receive a massive influx of workers on a low salary they initially use to for small menial tasks, but can eventually mold into productive workers for their business needs.
- IT education companies receive a massive influx in students which grows their industry and improves IT educational practices.
- The government strengthens it's IT industry and technology IP with more qualified IT workers, whilst reducing welfare dependence at the same time.
- The participants get experience, training, a salary to live off, professional accreditation to change their lives and escape intergenerational welfare dependency.
Lastly, by reducing a massive barrier to entry into the IT industry we enable more people to work on things that take our race into the future. This program has to exist.
During this hackathon our focus to is get as much validation for the idea as possible. We have created a website students can sign-up and we are directly contacting IT education providers and IT companies.