Wednesday, 06 November 2013 17:32

NICTA appoints new head of GroupX program

Karsten Schulz, National Manager GroupX Karsten Schulz, National Manager GroupX

NICTA has appointed a new head of the ICT industry initiated GroupX program to spearhead the on-going national rollout of the progam which is aimed at increasing the number of Australia’s tertiary Information and Communications Technology (ICT) students.

Simon Kaplan, NICTA’s Director of Skills and Industry Transformation, announced the appointment of Karsten Schulz to the newly created role of National Manager of GroupX.

Schulz’s appointment follows the success of the GroupX program implementation in Queensland.

Kaplan said the original GroupX Queensland program in Queensland had contributed to a 50% increase in ICT enrolments in the state.

Group X is a collaborative initiative of industry, research, universities and government funded by the Australian Government’s Digital Careers Program, and includes representatives from industry, the Australian Information Industry Association (AIIA), the Australian Computer Society (ACS), and professionals from the education and government sectors.

The program is currently being rolled out nationally as a four-year program aimed at increasing the number of Australia’s tertiary ICT students, which, in turn, Schulz says is intended to lead to an increase in the number of ICT professionals in Australia, and promote ICT professions and careers.

“These professionals will drive future capability across many industry sectors, helping to solve challenging problems in fields as diverse as health, infrastructure, agriculture and financial services.”

Schulz said the key to success for Group X was effective engagement with young people. “We do this by engaging school children in activities that make science and technology engaging, fun-filled and playful.”

He said that in 2013 alone, GroupX undertook over 60 school visits and events involving 165 schools and 40,000 students across Queensland, NSW, the ACT and Victoria, and “will be working alongside numerous industry and university collaborators to promote a range of programs including RoboCup, Club KidPreneur, SAP Young ICT Explorers and the National Computer Science Summer School.”

Schulz joined NICTA early this year as Commercial Manager in Infrastructure, Transport and Logistics.

Schulz joined NICTA from SAP, where he founded the company’s Young ICT Explorers, an annual not-for-profit competition for school children age 10-17 to inspire them to take up careers and studies involving information technology. He also held senior roles at SAP in Europe and the Asia-Pacific region, and seeded and started several research centres for the company in Australia, China, India and Singapore.

“Being tasked with the responsibility of rolling GroupX out nationally is a tremendous privilege and I am very much looking forward to the challenges ahead,” said Schulz said.

“The development of programs for states and territories beyond Queensland is underway. We are also looking to inject additional resources into successful programs already in place that address the very real ICT skills shortage we are suffering. This is essential if we are to ensure our ongoing competitiveness in the global economy.”

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