ACS Canberra Branch secures grant funding to support women starting an ICT career

11 May 2022


ACS Canberra is excited to have received funding from Skills Canberra to assist women to transitioning to an ICT career.

  • ACS Canberra is supporting 40 women in a pre-traineeship program as a pathway to employment
  • Opportunities for female members to mentor and organisations to participate
  • The program is designed to address barriers facing women entering a male dominated sector

Gender diversity is a challenge for the ICT technology sector. According to 2021 ACS Digital Pulse, women make up only 29% of employment compared to 48% in similar occupations within the professional, scientific and technical services industry.  If this level of diversity was achieved for the technology workforce, the Australian economy would grow by $1.8b and 5000 FTE on average each year over the next 20 years.

When choosing a further study or a career in a male dominated sector, such as technology, women face the following barriers:

  • Gender stereotypes and entrenched and outdated attitudes,
  • Lack of role models,
  • Isolation from being the one and only, and
  • There is little understanding of what is involved in a tech role.

The ACS Canberra Supporting women transitioning to an ICT Career program focuses on the needs of women considering a digital technology career.

According to Grattan Institute, women’s employment has been harder hit than that of men during COVID, with 8% of Australian women having lost their jobs and total hours worked down by 12 percent.

With this in mind, the project will target women in the 25 + age group who are:

  1. A new entrant to the workforce
  2. Re-entering the workforce
  3. Transitioning from other sectors, such as tourism or hospitality

The ACS program is a supported pre-traineeship program that will prepare participants for traineeships in digital technologies, including the cyber security sector.

The 12-month program will provide technical and professional skills development, practical experience, and mentoring support to overcome the barriers facing women in male dominated professions. 

The project has three elements:

  • Confidence – For women, low self-confidence is a barrier to enter employment or transition to new sector. Through a series of virtual workshops, this pillar allows participants to develop self-awareness, articulate their value, increase visibility to influence, and to effectively build networks.
  • Skills – Social biases have affected women studying STEM subjects and considering STEM careers. The Skills pillar allows participants to build knowledge required for a range of entry level technology roles via curated online courses.
  • Support - The final pillar exposes participants to ICT Career opportunities through work experience and networking with professionals in the sector.  A female mentoring program provides a supportive coach and role model for participants.  Finally, information and networking sessions will give participants the tools for the next steps in their tech career.

This program receives funding support from the ACT and Australian Governments through the Future Skills for Future Jobs Grants (FSFJ) Program, under the National Partnership on the Skilling Australians Fund. 

What can you do to help?

The Support pillar of the project is an opportunity where you can get involved.


We are looking for 40 female mentors located in Canberra to support the program participants.  The anticipated time commitment for mentors is 1-2 hours per month. It is also hoped that you can be available to attend two World Cafe Workshops and 2-3 networking sessions over the twelve months. You can register your EOI here.

Work experience opportunities

We also want the participants to finish the program with at least experience for their portfolio all the way to offers of employment and traineeships.  If your Canberra-based company is interested in exploring the opportunity to employ a trainee, we want to hear from you.

Ongoing funding

Government funding is only available for one round of the program.  If your company is interested in partnering with ACS Canberra for future rounds, or sponsoring a participant, please contact us.

Come and join ACS Canberra to build our workforce and increase its diversity & inclusion while offering real options for those who have been disadvantaged and affected by the pandemic.

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