Yes, the project or initiative has been established for more than 2 years.
Team - who worked on the project/initaitve
NAB has a long history of supporting innovative and collaborative programs in the education sector such as "Schools First" and, more recently, "$20 Boss". A number of NAB leaders have participated in Victoria State Government's "Principal For A Day" (PFAD) program over a number of years. Meanwhile, NAB's award-winning Connecting Women In Technology (WIT) program continues to set a benchmark for leadership in making a difference for women's professional development and growth at NAB and in the broader IT community.
Off the back of a relationship initially developed through PFAD in September 2015, Claire Lubienski and Margaret Wilde explored the opportunity to broaden the long term pipeline of female talent into the IT industry.
Initially, a small group of careers advisors and members of NAB's Connecting community, came together over a day-long work immersion to explore the reasons why girls are less inclined to choose and follow IT-related studies or career opportunities. The outcome of the session was unanimous agreement that providing students and teachers with an opportunity to experience a contemporary working environment, see what IT roles entail and meet women working in IT would make a difference in people's understanding and attitude.
Claire Lubienski and Margaret Wilde
Head of Strategy and Practice, Technology and Program Director (NAB)
Claire Lubienski and Margaret Wilde
Head of Strategy and Practice, Technology and Program Director (NAB)
Overview - Provide a summary to introduce the project or initiative
IT skills are core to Australia's largest growth job cluster: digital literacy and IT-related enterprise skills. STEM, and specifically IT-related, skills are core to economic growth, and yet the number of digital natives choosing IT studies and IT-related careers is in decline.
Many organisations and individuals are calling for improved teaching and student performance in STEM-related disciplines; and looking at how to increase girls’ involvement. Meanwhile, employers are increasingly seeking an adaptable workforce that can use technology, think critically and creatively, and work collaboratively to solve problems.
This program (a) has been collaboratively developed with participating schools and (b) involves teachers as well as students.
Participants in the program to date has involved:
- 60 female students
- 15 teachers / school staff
- 40 NAB employees as facilitators or other participants
- hundreds of parents, other students, other teachers, and other NAB employees who have spoken with those who have participated directly
Detail the actions implemented as part of the project or initative.
The overarching goal of our program is to broaden the pipeline of female talent into the IT industry and particularly into tertiary education, and graduate or equivalent entry into the workplace. This is achieved by:
- providing work immersion experiences that showcase what happens behind the scenes to solve real-world problems through technology
- introducing students to people whose own IT careers and experiences illustrate the depth and breadth of opportunities and possible pathways into different IT-related jobs and careers
- demonstrating the importance of soft skills—such as creativity, collaboration and team-based problem-solving—in designing and delivering technology solutions
- supporting teachers and career advisors with practical and up-to-date information on IT skills in the workplace and associated study and career opportunities for students
Set in a contemporary work environment in the Docklands, the program aims to answer questions such as:
- How do we solve problems with technology?
- What are some of the soft and hard skills involved?
- What does someone working in IT actually do on a day-to-day basis?
- What might work in the IT industry look like into the future?
The program runs for three full days over a three- to four-week timeframe, and is held during a single school term.
Sessions are hands-on and bring to life roles, skills, tools, techniques and strategies required to solve real-life problems with technology. Facilitated by people working in IT at NAB,
participants get exposure to:
- design thinking and problem analysis in teams
- coding basics
- data science and analysis
- information security and cybercrime
- project management and collaboration.
Detail the approach that was taken to implement the project or initative.
The program design and development has been a continuous process of alignment, reflection and learning, and review and update.
The development path for the program has entailed:
- An initial one-day immersion for careers advisors
- An initial pilot program of five x three-hour sessions with three students and one teacher participation from five schools - in Term 2, 2016
- A second pilot program of three x one-day sessions for four students and one teacher per school - in Term 3, 2016
- A review and deployment planning process to formalise transition from pilot, including commitment to time and effort investment and associated risk management planning etc and agreed to a format of three x one-day sessions for five students and a teacher per participating school
- Deployment in 2017: one program delivered in Term 1, three more programs planned for remainder of 2017
- Expanded participation to five more schools from Term 3, 2017
Was there organisational/industry or other resistance to the initiative? If so, detail the actions taken to overcome resistance to the project or initiative.
The initiative has been strongly supported from the outset by both participating schools, and NAB's Connecting WIT program and associated stakeholders. This recognises the clear alignment of goals and shared value from the program.
Challenges were experienced in creating a sustainable, low cost, volunteer-led delivery program within a large organisation. Positioning the pilot programs as separate from full deployment—and recognising the level of commitment required to go from one to the other—was a key part of this together with setting an appropriate risk management plan.
Plans for deployment continue to be executed at a pace that is both scalable and sustainable, with regular review and checkpoints along the way.
Detail the follow up or response to the project or initative by the organisation /industry /sector. For example has it been extended for a further year, or has the scope been expanded?
As above, the program has been taken from a pilot in 2016 to a full deployment in 2017. Plans are already in place for continuing into 2018.
Deployment outcomes, and future expansion options, will be continuously reviewed at the end of each program.
Please provide 2 references being the beneficiaries or people that experienced the change (as a result of the initiative). Details to be provided should include:
4. Phone number
6. Short description (up to 250 words) of association with the nominated diversity initiative eg as a beneficiary, experiencing the outcome, etc.
- Karen Money, Principal
- Melbourne Girls' College
- (03) 9428 8955
- Program sponsor from schools' perspective. Champion for the program and personally led invitations to, and involvement with, other participating schools
"NAB's Connecting WIT work immersion program is an innvoative project where the world of the contemporary workplace, problem-based learning, and mentoring by female experts in communication technology, is seamlessly brought together for students and educators.
Melbourne Girls' College students and teachers have gained insight into the breadth and possibilities studying ICT and coding can bring. The program also reinforced the sense that our school campus extends into the broader community.
Working with female role models as experts in this field fostered student ambitions for careers beyond the standard professions."
- Irene Serpless, Career Development Practitioner
- Mac.Robertson Girls' High School
- (03) 9864 7700
- Leader of Mac.Rob's involvement in the program from the pilot phase through to deployment
"I would describe the program as a specific, hands-on experience of information technology, where female students are exposed to role models and activities that expanded their understanding of career paths in technology and how a contemporary work place operates. The emphasis on practical learning ensured that students were engaged throughout the program and the focus on soft skills allowed them to gain expertise that will serve them well in whatever field they wish to apply for. Great care was taken in choosing graduates and other young women that students could relate to easily and establish a rapport with, and in choosing a variety of learning activities where students could appreciate the value of team work and communication.
Students gained an overall understanding of all aspects of technology for business and a better knowledge of careers available in IT. They gained confidence and became more willing to participate in presenting information in a variety of forms. Many of the stereotypical ideas about IT were successfully challenged by the program making it more likely that students would consider undertaking course and careers in technology.
The school developed a relationship with a large employer which was useful in ways beyond the program itself. For example, student leaders contacted NAB and invited them to participate in a student-run technology conference, which exposed more students to employment opportunities and was very successful. In addition, senior students were invited to attend a conference that NAB introduced them to."
What outcomes have been achieved against overall program or organisational performance? Using metrics specify these outcomes, for example financial, growth, policy achievement, performance or capabciltiy uplift?
Both participating students and staff have been surveyed at the end of each completed program. Outcomes to date include:
- Over half of students surveyed said they were now more likely to choose IT studies— and two thirds to consider an IT-related career— than before they took the program
- 70% of participating students agreed the program had encouraged them to talk about IT with parents, teachers and other students.
- 72% of participating students agreed or strongly agreed that the program is useful for students interested in STEM as well as arts or non-science subjects.
- Asked the open question of the most unexpected thing they learnt out of the program, two thirds of students' responses directly referred to the depth and breadth of career options available.
Comments on what surprised participants the most included:
*"It isn't just some person sitting behind a computer all day”
"I didn't know that nearly every job in today's world involved IT in some way or another, which surprised me”
And when asked what they would say to someone else considering the program, students' comments included:
"It is a very good experience and you can benefit from it in many different ways. It will give a better understanding of the role IT plays in society, and how you can be a part of it."
"Just do I.T. =)"
"It's an incredible opportunity to gain knowledge in an area that many people wouldn't think of"