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How Dell student TechCrew is shaping the next generation of IT leaders

By Contributor
Fri 15 Jul 2022

Article by Dell Technologies A/NZ K-12 Education lead Trenton Coburn.

The 15th of July marks the United Nation’s World Youth Skills Day, which celebrates the importance of equipping young people with skills for employment, meaningful work, and entrepreneurship. In 2022, the day takes place amid a serious local skills shortage in the Australian tech sector. The Australian Information Industry Association’s annual member survey found that although over 75% of Australian companies are actively recruiting staff, local talent acquisition has declined by 20% compared with 2021, with leadership roles the hardest to fill.

Turning the situation around requires information, education, experience, and time to create IT leaders. The solution? It needs to have several prongs, but one important component is educating and exciting young people as early as possible. Innovative high-school IT programs that give students a head start while instilling a passion for the field at an early age, such as Dell Technologies’ specialised program for high school students, Dell Student TechCrew, aims to do just this.

The initiative encourages students to be their school’s own IT support, arming them with access to technology skills and training for future tech jobs while also providing the school with a valuable resource. Following the impressive results across North America, Dell Technologies has launched the program across ANZ to empower the next generation of IT leaders. 

Training Students Through Practical Experience

Dell TechCrew promotes future career skills and learning through Dell’s industry-leading technical certification program and practical, hands-on experience as students help their peers and school staff members with technology issues.

The program features a ‘train the trainer’ model, where Dell Technologies trains educators or non-profit partners to deliver the TechDirect certification, which has been adapted to meet the needs of high school students.

In 2021, The Cathedral College in Rockhampton and four other local schools completed the first year of the Dell TechCrew program. This year six new schools across New South Wales, Queensland, and Victoria will participate in the initial teacher training program to set up their Dell Student TechCrews; they’ll have access to on-demand training, live monthly Q&A sessions for teachers, as well as access to content to incorporate into their classrooms that covers technical skills and career skills such as hardware repair and customer service.

Using the Conrad Design Method developed by the Conrad Foundation, a non-profit organisation and Dell Technologies’ strategic giving partner, the program equips students with skills such as problem-solving, entrepreneurism and innovative thinking.

At the end of the program, the students train the next class of Student TechCrew participants and help them obtain their Dell TechDirect Certification, an industry qualification that IT professionals use to manage their devices. This allows the program to further scale while giving the students extra learning opportunities.

Aaron Nunn, ICT Director at The Cathedral College, said, “From the industry qualifications, to the hands on practical, to the valuable soft skills and insights, our students have enthusiastically embraced the program and are eager to broaden their future career pathways,” he said.

Empowering Australia and New Zealand’s Future Tech Leaders

TechCrew gives students from a broad range of backgrounds the opportunity to drive a world-class program. Participants gain industry qualifications to equip them with the skills they need to flourish in the IT industry whilst assisting their peers with IT support.

The qualifications give students an advantage in the STEM field for study and work beyond school.

Will, a student at Australian school The Cathedral College, said the highlight of the program is the career pathways it breaks open for students. “The qualifications we receive give us a clear advantage in the STEM field for study and work beyond school. To see passionate people through the virtual field studies who love their work in IT makes this career very appealing and opens your eyes to what may be possible.”

Maridon, a Year 12 student, encourages other girls to join. She says, “The Dell Student TechCrew program has given me a tremendous sense of empowerment and independence that I don’t need to rely on others.

Technology is our present and future. To know that I am able to work with technology and have an understanding of it through the qualifications the Dell Student TechCrew program gives me is invaluable for my future.”

Programs like Dell TechCrew are pivotal in equipping students with the tools they need for the future. These student-led helpdesks give young people an opportunity to gain insights and experience in the tech industry. It empowers them to be comfortable around technology, inspiring them to study IT at a tertiary level and ultimately nurturing the next generation of IT professionals.

Educating Our Youth to Secure Our Future

World Youth Skills Day offers a chance to reflect on how we’re supporting young people and, in turn, our society. We need to address the current skills shortage by educating our young IT talent as early as possible, showcasing the possibilities of a career in the field and giving the next generation of IT leaders a leg-up. The future of tech belongs to our youth; empowering them is critical to ensuring a thriving IT sector in Australia for years to come.

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