Avanade introduced its Diversity and Inclusion Program in 2015.
In 2016, Avanade was delighted to win the Inaugural Tech Diversity Champion award. In 2017, significant milestones have included:
(a) Evolving relationship with fellow Tech Diversity winner Diverse City Careers: We are partnering with them in developing a “Diversity Dashboard” offering. This presents a great opportunity for Avanade to be at the intersection of technology and Diversity.
(b) We were successful in our first submission into the Australian Workplace Equality Index, the definitive benchmark for LGBTI inclusion in Australia. The credential has provided valuable information about our strengths and areas for improvement. Our results have been benchmarked against other organisations in our industry and the private sector, with the results indicating that we are on-par with our LGBTI network and ally initiatives.
The Avanade D&I program has 5 key pillars (or workgroups) which include:
(1) Gender Equality (inc: LGBTI and STEM)
(2) Corporate Citizenship
(4) Flexibility and Wellbeing
Avanade's dedicated STEM workgroup has been operational for 2 years and become more focussed and strategic throurgh the efforts of Lee Hamilton (Lead); Ben Leane (Perth); Joe Delaney (Mel); Elaine Vallance (Bris); Russell Todd (Syd) and Kristine Hewitt (Can).
The Avanade STEM Activity has developed significantly over the last 12 months under the leadership of Lee Hamilton. The creation of a working group housed under our D&I council has two mandates: (a) it is creating an internal culture that is helping us focus on this topic strongly. Including innovation, Teamwork, Technology awareness and futurism. It is supported by a National team (across five offices) passionate about the topic and supporting the community; (b) externally the focus is in building a reputation for Avanade as both practically and physically supporting local education institutions in bringing awareness to their students of the future of IT and supporting their curriculum where currently this is not available.
In the last 6-8 months organisationally we have spoken and acted on more STEM activity in our new framework than at any other time via our new model. Our long-term and ongiong objective is to work directly with schools and education thought leaders to evolve thought leadership around pedagogical activity in girls (between two target groups of Prep - 10 year olds & 11-18 years) to encourage them to take up STEM subjects in their secondary and tertiary education and see the possibility of an IT career in the future.
Avanade recognised that earlier engagement (Prep - Yr 4) is key and now support this by providing audence relevant introductions e.g. The ...We're going on a 'Holo-Hunt' inititive for Junior Primary students.
Specifically, Avanade has identified that there is a limited IT curriculum (Yr 5 - Yr 12) undertaken in schools. The Avanade workshops are invested in providing a basic understanding of technology types, history and usage but also a Hololens design led thinking workshop to understand the practical application of technology and current uses. The immersive technology creates a fun learning environment and the team are always surprised at the innovation coming back from the students with just a little engagement and encouragement. The Pupils are then split into teams to come up with new innovative ideas on what the technology can be used for. Each team pitches their idea back to the Avanade representatives in a 'shark tank' / 'investor pitch' format including ideas on possible customers, return on investment, marketing stratgies and funding ideas.
As part of the'end to end' engagement Avanade have also recognised that earlier engagement (Prep - Yr 4) is key and now support this by providing audence relvant introductions. For instance, the "We're going on a 'Holo-Hunt' Inititive" which involves a higher level engagement introduction to Mixed reality through simple explanation and hands on demonstration. Leading on to the children receiving professional level certificates as fully fledged 'Holo-Hunters'.
The program initailly started with the support of employee's children's schools. The feedback and enthusiasm coming back from these sessions confirmed the value of the project and the scope was expanded.
In tandum, Avanade were approached by two schools:
(1) Melbourne's Girls School to take part in an Externship for one of their teachers. Avanade hosted the teacher for two weeks sharing with them corporate life - including roles and activities. They then took this information and invested their learning back into the curriculum in order to prepare their students for the modern workplace.
(2) St Mary's Anglican Girls School who were supported by Avanade Executive Sandy Abrahams as a Mentor to a team of girls pursuing an external technology project.
Both schools were so impressed with Avanade's work we then moved to provide their students with an alternate introduction to IT utilising new and emerging technology and 'design thinking approached". Avanade's innovative approach to technology could & does help shape and guide the way for aspiring technologists of the future. Focusing on STEM and getting more girls interested and in involved in IT, the team designed a workshop around design led thinking involving the Hololens. This has inspired other passionate Avanade representatives around the organisation to further advocate and connect with local schools to encourage more take up in the related areas.
Acadamic studies have shown that IT is not generally a career Girls in particular have been encouraged to particicpate in. Doctors; lawyers; teachers - role models which surround them are generally the one's promoted. Strong female (and male) mentors regarding the innovation and excitement of the IT sector have not been available. Avanade has been met only with enthusiasm and has not received any resistence. Schools are excited to have 'a real life team' come into the school and provide access to exciting new technology like augmented and virtual reality. These sessions are helping high schools pupils to see that the IT industry is no longer a desk in a damp corner focused on coding but that IT can now take the individual across the world and introduces jobs for the future requiring different skills, and creativity.
The initial project has opened immense opportunities: The relationship with the schools has provided great profile for Avanade and its STEM initiative through local communications; social media; and media release. We are now able to captalise on that success with future engagement & workshops now planned for Brisbane, Sydney and Canberra. With each presentation and experience we are improving and refining the program delivery and have built workshops to assist with Junior Coding Clubs and the workshop format to target primary school children in "we are going on a Bear/Holo Hunt".
In addition, we continue to support the teacher 'externships' bridging the gap between teachiing and preparing children for the real world.
As with out LGBTI+ program we are leading the way globally with this initiatve further extensions are underway into:
(a) Our APAC region and Global program
(b) Our Accenture parent has asked Avanade to join them in delivering these sessions in their "bring your children to work day".
(c) Extension of the program- by developing university thought leadershihp is our next goal.
(d) Also initial groundwork is underway in extended & enhancing the engagment programme offering (E.g. with Artificial Inteligence and harnessing the emerging open source routes in this area)
Melbourne Girls Grammer
Melbourne Girls Grammar takes it’s external partnerships & teacher externships seriously and it’s beginning to pay off!
Teachers at the School have the opportunity to take up to two weeks out of the classroom to work in industry with the aim of discovering first hand what industry expects of its youngest employees, the skills required and in building ongoing partnerships.
Last September, Ms Becky Glenton, a Year 4 teacher, was the first person to raise her hand to work for Avanade, a global digital technology firm. Over two weeks last year she was embedded in their Sydney and Melbourne offices and six months down the track this opportunity is paying dividends for the students at Melbourne Girls Grammar.
Lee Hamilton, Service Delivery Manager, Group Manager - Managed Services have both brought about some valuable educational and experiential learning opportunities by bringing the Hololens Mixed Reality Headset to Melbourne Girls Grammar.
Last year Lee orchestrated a workshop for students to ensure they were the first in Australia to experience this amazing technology. Then last week whilst the Grand Prix was in town, Avanade Australia brought Graeme Hackland, Chief Information Officer at Williams Team, over to the School to talk to the girls about the future of F1 Racing in regards to innovation & technology. One focus was the use of Mixed Reality and again our girls were fortunate enough to try the Hololens and this time they were able to, virtually, change the tyre on an F1 racing car.
Eleanor Mullins a Yr 9 student said “The HoloLens was amazing! Team Williams talked about how they are trying to involve the HoloLens in their car production. At school I could imagine using it in science to explain things, e.g. the brain. I’ve learnt about a whole new side of technology in the workplace, and how being involved in technology does not mean just sitting at a desk.”
The Microsoft HoloLens is the first self-contained, holographic computer, enabling you to engage with your digital content and interact with holograms in the world around you. The experience of changing the tyre of a F1 isn’t something everyone can claim they have done.
Chief Digital Officer
Melbourne Girls Grammar
[St Mary's Anglican Girls College] (http://www.stmarys.wa.edu.au/)
Michelle Fitzpatrick, Head of Technology and Enterprise, St Mary’s Anglican Girls’ School, Perth, WA “We were introduced to Avanade in 2015, when we were assigned Sandy Abrahams (Technology and Managed Services Executive) as the mentor to a group of our girls in a national coding competition, which they went on to win. She is a strong female leader and has been a fabulous role model to our girls over the past few years. Earlier in 2017, she initiated the Avanade and St Mary’s partnership and since then Avanade have showcased emerging technologies to many of our students; we have had students speak at Avanade Sydney, about their journey in technology, taking them interstate several times and later this year to San Francisco; we have a member of staff involved in an Avanade Externship next month and will continue to collaborate with Avanade on a STEM-related course we launch next year to all our students in Year 10. “
Here are links to the school social media and Avanade/HoloLens:
An article in Fideliter – a bi-annual school magazine =
Mrs Michelle Fitzpatrick
Head of Technology & Enterprise Department
St Mary’s Anglican Girls’ School
Phone: +61 8 9341 9138
The biggest achievement is the encouragement of more girls to follow a career in IT - one pupil from the first events shared her hopes and dreams of someday working for NASA. These workshops are providing a platform for pupils to think about STEM education differently and with more and more schools taking up the opportunity to hold an interactive event, each one is another achievement for the program.
From an internal perspective the outcomes have been very positive:
(a) Engaged and energised Avanade employees
(b) Community involvement sharing a topic they love
(c) Capability and skills upgrade through research and playing
(d) Presentation skills and content delivery to diverse audiences
Quantative, now over two hundred students (between Year 3 - Year 12) engage via Programmes that Avanade has led within Schools with other activity in the process of arrangement.
Qualitative, not only is it openly promoting interest to Girls for IT it is also creating a programe of thought leadership for Teachers of pedagocical use in the classroom utilising new and emerging tech and approach.