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Around the world, companies are scrambling to fill technical jobs.

This pain is keenly felt in Australia, and press reports have been circulating for years about the dearth of talented computer programmers.

A local ed-tech startup called Learnable has heard these concerns and wants to help solve this problem for future generations. A company spokesperson reached out today to highlight a new campaign to teach 10,000 students to learn to code.

Learnable will provide free training to Australian students for a duration of three years. Students will learn from expert teachers online how to develop and design websites, and build apps. Learnable is Australia’s version of Codecademy — it offers about 3,000 videos and tutorials to help you master Javascript, Ruby, Photoshop, HTML5, and more.

Through the program, Learnable expects to give away about $10 million in free training and tools.

“We want to give students a head start in carving out a career in the technology sector, with absolutely zero barrier to entry,” Learnable’s General Manager Kyle Vermeulen said.

Learnable has garnered support from some of the highest-ranking government ministers and local entrepreneurs for the “Learn to Code” program.

Founder of 99Designs Mark Harbottle put his personal money behind the initiative and said in a statement to the press that it would “pave the way for future Australian entrepreneurs.”

“It is not enough to be digitally literate; all of us need to become more digitally creative. And where better to start than schools,” said Malcolm Turnbull, Australia’s shadow minister for communications and broadband, who called the program a “great initiative.”

Great initiatives aside, the government is currently considering drastic measures to address the skills gap. A new provision was recently introduced to offer visas to technology and IT workers from countries like Vietnam, where children pickup programming skills in second and third grade.

Critics of the visa program say it’s a short-term fix and that the solution is to train the next generation of Australian school kids to fill the most in-demand technical jobs. The Australian Workforce and Productivity Agency called for additional young people to be trained and funneled into the ICT sector after its ICT Workforce Study released in July found evidence of a major talent shortfall.

The Learnable ‘learn to code’ program kicks off today. Click here to learn more and apply.


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