Release type: Joint Media Release


Virtual tech work experience for high school students and disadvantaged people


The Hon Amanda Rishworth MP
Minister for Social Services
The Hon Jason Clare MP
Minister for Education

The Albanese Labor Government will partner with Australia’s technology sector to create virtual work experience opportunities for secondary school students and post-school leavers who experience barriers to employment. 

Following the successful Jobs and Skills Summit in Canberra, the Government will work with the Tech Council of Australia to help Australians considering a career in tech get a better idea of what the jobs entail. 

The virtual work experience will go towards securing future jobs in the sector and provide industry relevant experience for their resumes.

Industry would fund the development of the 6-12 virtual work experience program which would be available to students for free and would be a simulation of tech work experience.

The program would also be available to post-school leavers who experience barriers to employment as a result of disadvantage. 

Minister Rishworth said it was an important step that cohorts who face heightened barriers to employment - such as people living with disability, First Nations Australians and those experiencing family, domestic and sexual violence - will be prioritised. 

The move follows the Tech Council’s participation in the Disability Employment Roundtable. 

“For job seekers facing barriers to employment these virtual work experience courses will enable them to see if a tech career is the right fit and provide more employment pathways,” Minister Rishworth said. 

“People with a disability deserve the same opportunities as those living without disability,” Minister Rishworth said. 

“About 88 per cent of people living with a disability of working age don't need any modifications in the workplace whatsoever so this is a good way for employers and employees to see what they are capable of.” 

Government and industry will work together to make the virtual work experience courses available free of charge and to ensure students have access to participate in the experience.

Minister for Education Jason Clare will work with State and Territory Education Ministers to make the program available in schools. 

“The tech industry is growing at almost twice the rate of the rest of economy. There are 860,000 Australians working in tech and they need even more – with vacancy rates 60 per cent higher than the national average,” Mr Clare said.

“This initiative will give students a taste of an industry hungry for workers.”

Scott Farquhar, co-founder and co-CEO of Atlassian, said it was critical that everyone was given an opportunity to find a job in tech. 

“At Atlassian we’ve committed to hiring 1032 technology workers in Australia and New Zealand over the next 12 months, so I know how critical growing this will be for our country,” Mr Farquhar said. 

“The next generation of talent should have a clear pathway into this industry, no matter their circumstances.” 

Kate Pounder, chief executive of the Tech Council, said work experience helps Australians to choose their future career. 

“Traditional models of work experience are not accessible for a range of Australians. We need to open up this experience to a broader range of Australians, so more know that great jobs exist in tech, and more Australians can show that they can excel in them,” Ms Pounder said. 

Luke Anear, CEO of SafetyCulture, said every person - including young people - should be given opportunities to have a career. 

“We want every kid in Australia to know what they are capable of. As someone who grew up in regional Australia and founded a business there, I know how important it is to make sure that opportunity is not determined by geography,” Mr Anear said.