Australia, October 30, 2015: The ACS – the professional association for Australia’s ICT sector – has today welcomed the latest report by the Office of the Chief Scientist that suggests more must be done to encourage greater entrepreneurship in Australia.
The report has found that producing and training entrepreneurs is not seen as a priority for most Australian universities.
ACS President, Brenda Aynsley OAM, said the report is timely and agrees the next step is for the government and the university sector to work together with industry and the ICT profession to help bring about a transformation.
“Going forward, we know that high-growth, technology-based businesses will be the driving force behind Australia’s economy. A report by PwC predicted technology based startups are worth over $US109 billion to the Australian economy and have the potential to create 540,000 jobs by 2033.
“We need look no further than the Government’s own data for recent, compelling evidence that entrepreneurialism is the driver of our future economy – a very small fraction (three per cent) of start-ups drive the majority (77 per cent) of their post-entry job creation in Australia.
“Several universities have introduced promising initiatives, for example UTS. The University is crossing the traditional boundaries of knowledge by harnessing new technologies such as their newly launched Data Arena, which allows researchers to discover new insights into big data.
“However, there are still many universities with programs that are too small, do not encourage or engage students in STEM disciplines, and do not reflect international best practice – this is ultimately compounded by limited engagement between universities, government and industry.
“The ACS supports the recommendation that there needs to be stronger engagement between universities and the technology startup ecosystem. We share the Chief Scientists concerns about the significant fall in enrolments in tertiary ICT degrees which has occurred over the last decade in Australia. This at a time when there is a shortfall in suitably qualified ICT professionals and the demand for these skills is expected to grow in Australia by 100,000 between now and 2020.
“We look forward to working collaboratively with the Australian university sector, the government and other industry bodies to make the connection between the higher education systems and their role in spurring innovation and entrepreneurialism.
“We would also like to acknowledge the work of Professor Ian Chubb AC and the significant contribution he has made to public policy debate in this country. Professor Chubb has been a loud, influential and effective voice on the critical importance of STEM skills if Australia is to remain a high wealth country in the digital age. At the same time, we also congratulate and welcome Dr Alan Finkel AO to the Chief Scientist role, and look forward to working with him to encourage greater innovation and entrepreneurship in this great nation,” Ms Aynsley said.
About the ACS
The ACS (Australian Computer Society) is the professional association for Australia’s Information and Communication Technology (ICT) sector. Over 20,000 ACS members work in business, education, government and the community. The ACS exists to create the environment and provide the opportunities for members and partners to succeed. The ACS strives for ICT professionals to be recognised as drivers of innovation in our society, relevant across all sectors, and to promote the formulation of effective policies on ICT and related matters. Visit www.acs.org.au for more information.