Recently, Australian parents has realised the importance of digital technology skills for their children.
Latest research has found that 8 in 10 Australian parents think that digital skills and computer programming should be integrated into primary and secondary curricula. The same research also revealed that 61 per cent of parents believe it is important that children learn how to design, build or program computer applications. However, less than 30 per cent of respondents thought that the current school curriculum is adequate in preparing children with the skills they need for the future.
The findings of this research are included in the Digital Skills and Careers Report by the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA). Undertaken in collaboration with National ICT Australia (NICTA) and the Australia Computer Society (ACS), the research reinforces concerns regarding the deficit in the national school curriculum which is playing itself out in Australia’s comparative under performance across science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) capabilities.
“With youth unemployment and underemployment at high levels it is not surprising that Australian parents are concerned about the future employment opportunities of their school aged children,” Suzanne Campbell, CEO of AIIA said today. “Undertaken just prior to Christmas the research found that 95 per cent of parents would support their child’s decision to pursue a digital career. In the next ten years, as more content becomes digitised and processes automated, more jobs will require digital skills, and technology will become an even bigger part of our homes and workplaces. This is not just an issue for the future. As recently as last week it was reported that the IT industry has led the Australian jobs market with the largest proportion of new job ads – some 10.7 per cent of total Seek new job advertisements in 2014. In fact the industry now represents the largest employment advertising classification – with the sector predicted to grow further in 2015. This digitisation is setting the scene for fundamental transformations in our economy. It is important that young people not only know “how to use” technology, but also “how it works”, and can be used to develop innovative new content and applications. The Newspoll research is consistent with work also released by the AiGroup this month, which highlights that STEM skills are increasingly important to the Australian workforce and competitiveness.”
Digital gender-equality advocate, AIIA Board member and recently appointed co-Chair of the national Digital Careers program, Marie Johnson has emphasized the role of information communications technology (ICT) or digital technology as a major driver of employment in Australia.
“Digital technologies create high value and well paid jobs in all sectors of the economy such as mining, finance and retailing industries, as well as in the ICT industry itself. Australia’s ICT market is the fifth largest in the Asia Pacific region and the 14th largest in the world. Over the last ten years, more than 100,000 new jobs were created in the ICT sector. While national employment levels have risen by around 14 per cent over the past decade, ICT professionals have seen a growth of nearly 50 per cent over the same period. Technology-related jobs are projected to expand for years to come, making it an important source of employment growth for the future. To meet the challenges of the global digital economy Australia must be prepared to invest – in building digital technology capability and more generally the STEM skills essential to the jobs of the future” said Ms Marie Johnson.