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ACU partners with global tech start-up to tackle digital skills crisis

By Cia Kouparitsas 
Published: March 14, 2023
READ TIME: 3 minutes
WithYouWithMe is partnering with Australian Catholic University (ACU) to uncover insight into Australia’s digital workforce and the life challenges faced by diverse community groups across the country, in a bid to establish new pathways into meaningful employment in the technology sector.

The organisations have signed a two-year Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) that aims to achieve two major outcomes: the recognition of prior learning of WYWM’s training data and cybersecurity training for ACU courses, and a joint research initiative aimed at equipping the Australian Government with the evidence required to take national action to help solve the country’s digital skills crisis.

The research will focus on improving aptitude tests that can predict job success and demonstrate the benefits of using psychometric testing and skills-based hiring rather than assessing qualifications via a CV.

The partnership follows the Australian Government’s announcement of its commitment to creating 1.2 million tech jobs by 2030.

ACU’s collaboration with WYWM hopes to make tech jobs more accessible to groups of people who are often overlooked by employers, including military veterans and their families, neurodivergent people, refugees, members of Indigenous communities, and youth.

Through the partnership, individuals who have completed WYWM’s industry accredited training programs can access direct pathways into select ACU courses, with recognition of prior learning to help kick-start the next stage of their education.

WYWM Social Value Partner Cia Kouparitsas said: “Contrary to common belief, proficiency in the digital skills that will fuel our economy – for positions like cyber, analytics and JavaScript – can come from a diverse range of study, prior experience, training courses, micro-credentials and learning avenues.

These jobs skills are critical to every major industry in the Australian economy. Current employment methods – which typically assess individuals on CVs and university degrees alone – are not keeping pace with society’s needs and are not fit for purpose in the tech sector.

Cia Kouparitsas,
WYWM Social Value Partner

“Together with ACU, we look forward to creating new paths of entry for individuals from all backgrounds to access world-class training and education opportunities, and to break down the barriers to employment by driving a national conversation around prioritising an individual’s potential over their experience.”

WYWM is a veteran-founded company that helps individuals from diverse communities join the digital workforce by offering free access to aptitude assessments and skills testing, rapid job readiness training and job placement opportunities. They also work with leading organisations to fill digital skills gaps in their teams while creating a more diverse and inclusive workplace.

The company has 75,000+ users on its platform, and 13,500 candidates presently undertaking training for a new career.

ACU Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Research and Enterprise) Professor Abid Khan said the university looked forward to working with WYWM to solve one of the country’s more complex employment problems.

“ACU and WithYouWithMe are aligned in their goals for social impact, digital career pathways, and impactful research outcomes,” Professor Abid said.

Partnering with industry to solve complex problems and enable positive social impact is something ACU is deeply committed to. Through our partnership with WYWM, we look forward to providing insight and direction into the issue of digital literacy and contribute to a positive outcome for the Australian economy and workforce.

Professor Abid Khan,
ACU Deputy Vice-Chancellor

ACU is a publicly funded and world-ranked university. With over 32,000 enrolled students on seven campuses in Australia, and one in Rome, the university produces more nurses, allied health workers, and teachers than any other university in Australia. ACU graduates work in hospitals, schools and businesses across all Australia’s states as well as regional and rural locations. The university is ranked in the top 50 universities in the world for education, nursing and sport science and is a leading research institution in areas aligned with its mission and tradition in Catholic education.

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