BiG Day In Gold Coast: Future Techies Get Excited About Australian STEM Careers


  • Hear a wrap up on the ACS Foundation Gold Coast BiG Day In, which inspires school children about careers in technology. 

The ACS is the major sponsor of the ACS Foundation’s BiG Day In careers days, mostly held on University campuses across all states and territories. The BDI returned to the Gold Coast in 2023, hosted again by Griffith University in the Ian O’Connor Building Auditorium, demonstrating that the event is valued as an amazing promotional tool for universities to showcase their programs to future students. A major benefit of holding BDIs on tertiary campuses is that students get a feel for the university, the relevant courses on offer and the facilities.

For ACS and the tech industry, the BDI fills an important role in tech career promotion and outreach. It showcases local and Australian companies, both tech companies or tech teams within other industries like mining, logistics and defence. Students learn about pathways into careers and a ‘day in the work life’ from engaging speakers to understand what happens in a tech work environment. Questions are encouraged and rewarded through the prize giveaways, generously donated by sponsors and presenters.

For the students who know what they want to do, it is an insightful opportunity to ask specific questions directly to workers and employers in their desired fields. For the students who are not sure of their pathway, the BDI allows students to hear from and pose questions to a variety of employers, entrepreneurs, experts and workers.

To start off, the official welcome from Professor Paulo de Souza, Dean (Research) at Griffith University was delivered as the theatre kept filling up with schools as far away as Brisbane and Ballina entered and doubled the existing audience. ACS Queensland Branch Chair Beau Tydd got the crowd pumping with an inspirational and motivating call to action; listen, ask lots of questions and stay on a tech study pathway.


Presenters and organisations on stage at the BDI Gold Coast included:

  • ‘From Hacker to Cyber Hero’ - Dave Rudduck, Solis Security
  • ‘Opportunities & Pathways in Australia’s Oldest Intelligence Agency’ - Zyanna Dwyer, Australian Signals Directorate
  • ‘Technology Across Your Working Lives - 50 Years of Change’ – Greg Booker, Futurist
  • ‘What Do I Even Do Here? (at Technology One)’ – Bryce Ford, TechnologyOne
  • ‘Full STEM Ahead!’ – Tim Ryan, Ashley Nicol & Tanya Giannakos, Westpac
  • ‘Enabling Careers Through Technology at Woolworths Group’ – Eric Wood & Mark Van Der Linden, Woolworths Group
  • ‘Space: Out Of This World Careers In Our Own Backyard’ – Dr Matt Richardson, Australian Space Agency
  • ‘How Did We Get Here? From High School to Securing the World Against Cyber Attacks’ - Dale Bowie, Hollie Wright, Melanie Hanson & Narayana Madinenik – IBM.

The BDI in Queensland always collaborates with the ICT Gateway to Industry Schools program, a Queensland Government contract managed by DYJESBT and run by ACS since 2020. It was particularly pleasing to have David Rudduck from Solis Security present and host an exhibitors table with three other employees. David and Solis Security have supported the ICT GISP in a number of ways, including by hosting a work experience student and enabling employees to speak to students. Solis Security is also an ACS Professional Partner.

The speakers from IBM were also Gold Coast-based.

ACS’ Matthew Jorgensen also spoke directly to 56 students, encouraging them to ask questions and walk away from the day with a clearer view of their pathway options. Exhibitor numbers were limited due to space and included:

  • Australian Signals Directorate
  • Australian Space Agency
  • Australian Computer Society
  • Woolworths
  • Griffith University
  • Solis Security
  • The Queensland Government Customer and Digital Group (Digital Professional Workforce Action Plan).

During these breakout sessions, students and teachers could learn from employers and industry representatives about their options and pathways. The first step is to stay on a digital study path in secondary school, but sometimes that is not possible if there are not enough numbers for an elective class. Accessing free and paid online lessons and longform courses beyond what can be accessed in school is a viable way to develop skills for students and professionals alike.

More and more employers will consider workers who are traveling the traineeship and VET / TAFE pathway as well as a University journey.

If you would like to get involved with any of the three Queensland BDIs in 2024, please contact Matthew Jorgensen (


The next BDI is being held in Newcastle on August 30.


Access free online digital skills training from the Queensland Government Customer and Digital Group at