AUSTRALIA’S first CoderDojo for Indigenous Australians, to close the digital divide and increase employment, has been developed by Barayamal.
CoderDojo First Nations is a national network of coding clubs being developed for Indigenous Australians, which aims to ‘close the gap’ by empowering Indigenous youth with coding skills to help prepare them for Australia’s ever changing economy.
The first coding club kicked off at Capalaba State College, near Brisbane, in the final school term of 2017, aiming to teach more than 60 Indigenous students how to code. CoderDojo First Nations has also gained interest from other schools and community organisations throughout Australia and plans to expand nationwide in 2018.
CoderDojo First Nations is an initiative of Australia’s Indigenous business accelerator program, Barayamal, and CoderDojo, the world’s leading volunteer-led community of free programming clubs for youth between seven and 17 years. Founded in Ireland in July 2011 by James Whelton and Bill Liao, as of January 2015 CoderDojo had more than 550 operating coding clubs (Dojos) in 55 countries.
“CoderDojo First Nations mission is to inspire and empower Australia’s Indigenous youth with coding skills, confidence and opportunities to achieve their dreams and create a better world and future for all who live in it,” Barayamal founder and CEO Dean Foley said.
He said according to Australian Bureau of Statistics research, more than half (53%) of all Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people were aged under 25 years in 2016.
“It is extremely important to have programs specifically for Indigenous youth because jobs are changing in the economy and becoming more digital and tech-skilled orientated, and we do not want this disparity gap between Indigenous and non-Indigenous Australians to continue rising,” Mr Foley said.
“I reached out to existing non-Indigenous organisations that teach youth how to code but they were ‘too busy’ or ‘booked up’ and couldn’t help us teach Indigenous youth how to code. When I found out about CoderDojo and the positive impact they are creating, I decided to launch CoderDojo First Nations to create a national network of volunteer-led coding clubs so Indigenous youth don’t get left behind.”
The digital technologies market is expected to grow from $79 billion in 2017 to $139 billion in 2020, according to a report by Deloitte Access Economics in 2016. However, according to the latest government employment study, the Indigenous unemployment rate is currently 21 percent, an increase of 4.3 percent since 2008, and four times the current non-Indigenous unemployment rate of just over 5 percent.
“Through disempowerment and lack of opportunity, the Indigenous community in Australia has the highest rate of suicide of any community in the world,” he said. “By empowering Indigenous Youth, we can help re-shape these statistics and our communities.”
Deloitte Access Economics estimated that increasing economic participation of Indigenous Australians to parity levels could result in an Australian economy that is up to 1.15 percent larger in 2031, a gain of $24 billion in 2012-13 terms.\
Mr Foley said CoderDojo First Nations would partner with multiple educational organisations to run school and term based Entrepreneurship and Coding programs