Melbourne, Monday 19 August 2013: Australian students are today being given $10 million of technical training free from Learnable.com, a global online learning company founded in Melbourne, which believes that every student should have the opportunity to learn to code.
Announcing the initiative, 'Learnable for Schools' General Manager Kyle Vermeulen said, "We know there's a huge demand from Australian students who want to learn to code, and employers seeking these skills. So today we're giving 10,000 students the opportunity to learn from expert teachers, for free. By simply signing up, students get three years access to courses to learn to develop and design websites, apps, and more."
Learnable believes there's no better time to learn how to code than now. In a recent jobs report "Software Engineer" ranked in the top three jobs, thanks to low stress, great work environments, and high pay1, yet many Australian companies are struggling to find qualified programmers2. Even in the US, despite computing science being the university degree that leads to the best paying jobs, there will be a million more computing jobs than computing science students by 20203.
Vermeulen said, "We want to give students a head start in carving out a career in the technology sector, with absolutely zero barrier to entry. Our hope is that some of them go on to build the next Twitter or Facebook."
Learning to code is also close to the heart of Learnable Co-founder and Melbourne based start-up investor Leni Mayo.
"Australia is near the bottom of the OECD in creating students interested Science, Technology, Engineering and Math4 (STEM). I'm concerned that Aussies kids are missing out on the opportunities created by the technology and communications revolutions. If we don't teach our kids the skills we need as a nation, we run the risk of being left behind.
"In Vietnam, computer science education begins in year four, in the UK coding is now a key component of the new school curriculum from primary school. If Australia wants to be globally competitive it is vital we include programming in schools as early as possible".
The Learn to Code initiative is backed by Mark Harbottle, BRW's 2012 entrepreneur of the year and founder of successful 99designs.com. "For me, learning to code in year 11 set my career in motion. This program will help pave the way for future Australian entrepreneurs."
The "Learnable for Schools" program kicks off today. The first 10,000 Australian Students to sign up will get 3 years of free access to Learnable.com (valued at $1,000 per student, retail monthly price of $29).
The Hon Malcolm Turnbull MP Minister for Communications and Broadband - "It is not enough to be digitally literate, all of us need to become more digitally creative. And where better to start than schools. More computer science, more coding in schools is vitally important. This is a great initiative - well done learnable.com!"
The Hon Senator Kate Lundy, Minister for Multicultural Affairs, Minister Assisting for Innovation and Industry Minister Assisting for the Digital Economy - "In our increasingly digital world it is essential that citizens be more than passive consumers of online content. Coding skills, or at the very least an understanding of what can be done through coding, should be seen as core competencies. People who can create, enhance and use digital tools have the ability to participate fully and enhance the accessibility and equity of our digital environment."
Bill Bartee, Managing Director Southern Cross Venture Partners and Blackbird Ventures - "Learning to code is fun and exciting. It enables you to solve problems and build new, amazing things. In the networked economy, demand for coding skills is high and getting higher. If you have a chance to learn to code using Learnable, do it!"
Ross Dawson, Futurist - "As the capabilities of technology soar exponentially, the most valuable languages to learn will be those give us access to that immense power. Students looking to their future should take the opportunity to learn the language of computers."
Sonja Bernhardt OAM, CEO ThoughtWare - "One key thing I've learned from my years of encouraging girls and women into IT careers is that the main driver is discovering a personal interest in technology at a young age. But children won't learn how much fun coding can be unless they get to do it in an engaging way. I think this initiative shows the way of the future: using the flexibility and power of modern IT to lower the barriers of entry into satisfying career paths."
Michael Fox, Founder Shoes of Prey, Sneaking Duck, Ex-Google - "A brilliant software engineer can add so much to our business from improving the photo realism of our 3D shoe designer, developing fun new ways for people to design shoes at our store in David Jones Sydney, to helping us understand and present the perfect pair of shoes to a customer before they've even designed it themselves. However hiring great software engineers is one of our most challenging tasks at Shoes of Prey, not enough people learn these skills so they're in short supply! I'd encourage everyone to learn how to code. Not only is it fun, but you'll be able to achieve a lot of amazing things and companies like us are going to fight hard to hire you!"
Vicki Forbes, Principal, Brentwood Secondary College - Learnable for Schools Pilot School "Our secondary schools are now home to students who were born in the 21st century and many of them intuitively act as creators of technology rather than just consumers. But how do we find the spark that ignites a lifelong passion for creating with technology? The Learnable for Schools initiative has the potential to be just the right spark for so many of our students. We are very excited to be the pilot school for such an innovative project."
Leio Ohshima McLaren (aged 13), Founder of AppAppAway - "Every young Aussie kid like myself, should learn how to code. Our millennial generation need to be tech-savvy and develop the skills necessary to keep Australia at the forefront as service providers to a future world that will be governed by technology. Vision is change and without a doubt that vision is coding!"
Nathan Feiglin (aged 15), Founder & Digital Content Producer Tch News U - "Coding not only allows young people additional knowledge, it affords them opportunities that were once considered way ahead of their time. With programming knowledge, any young person can be the next Zuckerberg without having to wait and go to university."
Learnable.com is a fast growing global online learning platform consisting of thousands of online courses, books, and videos, created by industry experts for web designers and developers. Learnable launched in 2010 as a spin off from the SitePoint Group (the company behind 99designs.com, sitepoint.com and Flippa.com)