Airwallex and University of Melbourne to forge Australia’s future tech leaders

Jack Zhang, Co-founder and Chief Executive Officer at Airwallex

Airwallex has embarked on a partnership with the University of Melbourne, which will help build the next generation of Australian tech leaders. With a total investment from Airwallex of more than A$3m, the partnership is aimed at increasing access, exposure and career opportunities for tech students, and in turn, growing the pool of future tech talent in Australia.

What are the specifics of the partnership?

The partnership will run over the next three years (2022 – 2025), and further builds on Airwallex’s long-term relationship with the University, which is where the four Airwallex co-founders first met. University of Melbourne’s Engineering and Information Technology students will be considered for a range of opportunities across multiple programs, including:

  1. Airwallex Excellence in Technology Scholarships: 42 financial scholarships, valued at up to A$15,000 per annum, will be offered across the three years for gifted and promising students in Bachelor or Masters programs. Scholarship recipients will be given priority consideration for internships at Airwallex.
  2. The Opportunity Fund: For students experiencing financial hardship, this fund will provide one-off payments for up to 100 students to support their studies, and is available throughout 2022 and 2023 to both domestic and international students.
  3. Student Enrichment Plan: A series of special activations, awards and facilities to foster innovation amongst students and alumni. This will include hackathons, guest lectures and talks from Airwallex leaders at key University events such as the Endeavour Exhibition, which Airwallex has been involved with since 2019.
  4. Future Idea Fund: A plethora of initiatives to increase access and exposure to training and careers in technology.

What does the partnership mean for the students?

Airwallex and University of Melbourne staff and students will also have the opportunity to co-locate in the Melbourne Connect innovation precinct. Located in Parkville, Melbourne Connect brings together world-class researchers, industry leaders, start-ups, govt representatives and students seeking to leverage research and emerging tech to disrupt and transform society.

As a nod to the founders who were running a cafe in Melbourne’s central business district when they started exploring ideas that would become Airwallex, the company will also provide free coffee at Melbourne Connect for students through the partnership.

The partnership between Airwallex and the University of Melbourne will expand opportunities available for students, and in turn, grow the pool of future tech talent in Australia. This initiative comes at a time when the tech talent shortage continues to impact Australian businesses. The Tech Council of Australia has forecasted that Australia will need 653,000 additional people in tech jobs by 2030 to fuel the nation’s economic growth.

What were the executives’ thoughts on the partnership?

Airwallex Co-founder, CEO, and University of Melbourne alum Jack Zhang, said, “Since our inception, Airwallex has strived to create opportunities for exponential career growth and development. Our partnership with the university marks a significant step-change in our contribution to building the tech leaders of tomorrow. It’s a privilege to be in a position to give back to the community that’s been a part of the Airwallex story from day one.”

“Airwallex was founded by looking beyond what’s possible, and we want to empower students to do the same. Whether through scholarships or grants, Airwallex guest lectures or events, our partnership aims to drive innovation and provide meaningful support to the next generation of technology professionals and leaders,” Jack Zhang further commented.

“We understand deeply the tech talent challenges facing businesses today. By providing students with opportunities and support from inside the sector, this partnership aims to grow the local talent pool and ultimately, strengthen Australia’s tech and startup ecosystem. I look forward to seeing the next generation of Australian tech leaders, entrepreneurs and innovators benefit from this partnership and make their mark in the world.”

Dean of the University’s Faculty of Engineering and IT Professor Mark Cassidy said the University was delighted with the partnership. “It is very exciting to see alumni, like Jack and his co-founders, achieve such success with their business and be able to give back so generously to the next generation of tech professionals and Australia’s broader tech sector.”

“The scholarship and opportunity programs will make a real difference to our students’ ability to focus and continue with their studies each year, while the enrichment and idea programs will equip our students with the knowledge and mindset to become leaders in the workforce.”

“This partnership exemplifies the University of Melbourne’s commitment to collaboration as a means of nurturing innovation. Bringing together world-class researchers and educators, industry and students, we can create an environment where great minds connect.”

“The Tech Council of Australia welcomes this exciting new partnership that will ensure more students gain crucial skills that will allow them better access to great Australian tech jobs. This partnership is a great example of the power of collaboration and how organisations can work together to improve and create new pathways to attract more students to consider and take up a career in tech,” commented Tech Council of Australia CEO, Kate Pounder.