Google's charitable arm, Google.org has put up $1 million to be shared by the Australian Indigenous Mentoring Experience (AIME), FIRST Robotics Australia and Engineers without Borders Australia to encourage young women, Indigenous Australians and students from low socio-economic and regional areas to choose careers in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
According to Google Australia engineering director Alan Noble, there has been a 36 per cent decline in the number of students undertaking computer science degrees between 2001 and 2013.
“Today, there are only 12,000 graduates every year. Overall, enrolments in STEM degrees are flat," he said.
AIME will develop and incorporate STEM content into their Year 7 and 8 curricula for Indigenous students. The program will increase the digital skillset of 4000 Indigenous students by 2018.
FIRST Robotics Australia will take its First Lego League and First Robotics programs into 150 new schools, providing a robotics set, teacher mentoring and support to student groups across Australia.
According to FIRST, it will reach more than 1500 students among low-SES areas, regional and other underrepresented groups.
Engineers Without Borders Australia will expand its Regioneering Roadshow, which will give hands-on, STEM and computer science-focused training to 5000 young people, with a focus on young women.
The Google grant will double the existing program’s geographic reach and connect young professional engineers to community, youth and school groups across regional Australia.