From 3D printing to programming robots, young Indigenous people in five regional communities across Australia will take part in a unique digital training program.

A partnership initiative between the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) and the Telstra Foundation, the Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX) Flint program provides $25,000 worth of support for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities to host digital technology training for young people.

As part of the program, local facilitators receive tech training to deliver digital workshops and communities receive a range of world-class equipment to foster hands-on learning.

Young people undergoing training learn a range of new skills, including MIT Scratch computer programming, robotics and 3D printing – building new skills and confidence.

NCIE CEO Kirstie Parker said that IDX Flint offered a lot more than a training exercise for young people.

IDX Flint also aims to increase community capacity through delivering train-the-trainer workshops which builds skills in local facilitators, and provides communities with new digital equipment,” Ms Parker said.

“Working with regional and remote communities across Australia to deliver sustainable digital technology capacity and skills has been a focus for the IDX.

“These digital learning experiences aim to enhance connection to culture and get participants excited about making technology.”

General Manager of the Telstra Foundation, Jackie Coates, said that Telstra was passionate about building digital skills in the next generation.

“These workshops are designed to spark a digital intrigue and interest in young people and start them on a digital journey,” Ms Coates said.

“We believe in the power of technology to do great things, and by putting new digital skills in the hands of our young people, the possibilities are endless.”

IDX received 20 expressions of interest to host Flint program workshops. The five successful applicants were:

  • Alice Springs Public Library
  • Bourke District Children Services
  • Department of Education and Training, Far North Queensland
  • Broome Aboriginal Media Association (Goolari Media Enterprises)
  • Victorian Aboriginal Corporation Languages.

IDX facilitators will travel to each community and conduct workshops and five-day training sessions with local community members over the next six months.

Department of Education and Training’s Senior Community Engagement Officer Torres Webb, is excited to have the IDX Flint program.

“Having the opportunity to be part of the IDX Flint program will open up another exciting opportunity to support the important work of connecting our local schools to community and the community to the school around our strengths,” Mr Webb said.

“By focusing on what’s strong rather than what’s wrong, I believe that the IDX Flint program is just the spark needed to tap into the unlimited creative potential our young people possess.”

In Alice Springs, Tangentyere Council Aboriginal Corporation’s Northern Camps Youth Worker Sophie Mouristen, believes in the importance of engaging with technology.

“The Flint program will enable young people from Town Camps to develop their problem solving abilities, participate within the community, learn many new and useful skills, as well as to create rewarding opportunities for their futures,” she said.

IDX is an initiative operated in partnership between the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (based in Redfern, Sydney) and the Telstra Foundation. IDX aims to establish programs and support infrastructure that strengthens Indigenous participation, practice and entrepreneurship in the digital economy.

Read the Roadmap to Build Digital Excellence.