Amazon Australia, fresh from its push to change the local retail landscape after launching here in 2017, is now turning its attention to the next generation of coders with a STEM program for primary school students.
Camp Amazon is a two-year $150,000 initiative for 100 kids in years 3 to 6 to develop their Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) skills for careers in computer science.
Amazon saw its wants to target “underserved and low-income communities” in NSW and Victoria with the program.
Students in Camp Amazon will attend coding camps and workshops each term, both after school and/or during summer holidays. The classes will be led by Amazon and STEM industry leaders at the company’s fulfilment centres in Melbourne and Sydney.
Students who successfully complete the course will receive a $500 Amazon voucher towards their future studies or careers, while the 10 participating schools will score $10,000 each for communal use STEM equipment.
The program comes at a crucial time for the tech sector, which has long complained of a lack of training and engagement in STEM in the education system. The 2017 National Scientific Statement found that enrolments in STEM were at the lowest level in 20 years.
Launching the Camp Amazon in Sydney today, the company donated its first $10,000 for STEM education materials and resources to Hoxton Park Public School. Amazon’s Robotics Chief Technologist, Tye Brady (pictured above), visiting Australia for the launch, held a robotics presentation for 25 Year 5 and 6 students from the school.
Amazon Australia’s Director of Operations, Craig Fuller, said his company wanted to be “part of the solution” for the growing demand for a STEM-trained workforce for the jobs of the future.
“We want to set up children for long-term success. In Australia, there are 100,000 students currently involved in studying some type of STEM program outside of the school curriculum, but with over 3.2 million students enrolled in Years 1-10, the majority are still lacking exposure to the subjects,” he said.
“Through Camp Amazon we hope to see the long-term benefits of helping create a future workforce for Australia by equipping students with the skills they will need for tomorrow.”
Details on how to apply to be part of Camp Amazon are available here. Submission close 31 May, 2019.