In an effort to encourage young people to consider a career in the burgeoning technology industry the government has launched a Virtual Work Experience Program.

The program aims to help young people and post-school leavers aged 14-25 build their skillset through online modules designed in collaboration with companies including Microsoft, the Commonwealth Bank and the National Broadband Network. The modules will help students develop skills in a wide range of areas, from cyber security and software engineering to data science and network engineering. Students will be introduced to real world tech roles getting to immerse themselves in interactive activities and ‘Day in the Life’ videos.

It provides industry-relevant experience for participants’ resumes and young people with disability will be included in the program, with the aim of shifting the gap in disability youth employment. Around 39 per cent of 15-24-year-olds with disability are employed, compared to 63.5 per cent of 15-24-year-olds without disability.

The program continues the Tech Council of Australia’s focus on creating more disability employment pathways in its goal to reach 1.2 million jobs in tech by 2030.

Social Services Minister Amanda Rishworth said the Tech Council of Australia has worked with an expert advisory panel to ensure the program’s accessibility for young people with disability, through measures such as closed captions and transcripts.

Tech Council chair Robyn Denholm said tech jobs are amongst the fastest-growing and best-paid jobs in the economy. “We want more women, Indigenous Australians, people with disability and those living in our outer suburbs and regional Australia to have the ability to access these fulfilling careers.”

Youth employment organisation Year13 will be promoting the program. Tech Council Australia and Year13 are aiming to reach more than 200,000 young people online via social media over the next two years through a targeted campaign.

The program will also be available to more than 2200 schools on the Career Tools Platform.

The Virtual Work Experience program can be accessed at: