Wednesday, 22 September 2021
Reports show that although women are increasingly moving into careers in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM), this is not happening fast enough to close the gender gap in these fields any time soon.
The Academy of Information Technology (AIT) has long shown a commitment to training women in IT so that they can join the next generation of STEM professionals.
Through an exciting new Government initiative, we are now able to offer heavily subsidised places in our popular Diploma of IT courses. Students can apply for a place in the Women in STEM program, and both the student and their employer will then receive grants to facilitate their participation.
If you’re a woman currently in paid employment, and you wish to enrol in a higher education course in a STEM-related field, then you could be eligible for the Australian Government’s Women in STEM program.
After receiving approval, you can study a Diploma of IT part-time alongside your regular employment over the course of two years. The grant will cover $14,575 of your tuition fees, leaving a gap of $4,225. You can make this payment upfront, or apply for FEE-HELP if you are eligible.
Your employer will also receive a grant of up to $5,000 per year, for every year you are enrolled in the program.
For those who would like further information – either on the Women in STEM program, or what it’s like to study at AIT – we recently ran an online lunch and learn session on Monday 27 September.
The session was held in partnership with the Australian Computer Society (ACS), the professional association for Australia's Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector.
Tamara Popper from AIT spoke about the program, and AIT graduate, Nathalia Andrade Da Silva, now a junior programmer at Motorsport Games, talked about her experience studying the Diploma of IT.
The ACS report, Australia’s Digital Pulse 2021 found that currently, women hold only 29 per cent of roles in the technology sector, and based on current trends, with the proportion of female workers in tech growing by less than 1 per cent each year, it will take 66 years for that number to grow to a 48 per cent participation rate.
The impacts of this low participation will continue to be felt not only by women, but by everyone in society. Australia is facing an ICT skills shortage that is only predicted to worsen in the coming years. However, if we are able to boost female and non-binary participation in ICT, then the ACS report projects that over a 20-year horizon, the net present value (NPV) of increasing diversity in technology would amount to an $11 billion opportunity for Australia’s economy.
The key to boosting participation could be found in the higher education sector. ACS recently analysed the results of a national study, and found that large numbers of female students drop out of STEM-related study following high school.
Although an average of 36 per cent of girls study STEM subjects in Year 11 and Year 12, only 18 per cent will go on to study STEM subjects at a tertiary level. While addressing this 50 per cent drop-off rate will be important, programs such as Women in STEM can help to increase the pool of ICT workers, by also assisting women who are already working, and who wish to upskill or reskill for their future careers.