AWS launches first Aussie Think Big Space in Blacktown Girls High School

Michelle Hardie, Head of Strategy, Operations and Enablement, ANZ at Amazon Web Services

Amazon Web Services (AWS) launched its first Think Big Space in Australia in Sydney’s Blacktown Girls High School. The AWS Think Big Space is a learning environment, which will provide students, in particular young girls, educators, and communities with hands-on, tech-led lessons to explore an interest in Science, Tech, Engineering, Arts and Maths (STEAM).

How does the Think Big Space address skills shortage?

The Amazon Web Services Think Big Space is a grassroots approach to cultivating a greater interest in STEAM among students of all ages and their local communities. Skills in areas such as cloud computing are in high demand, which is set to grow over the coming years.

According to recent research study from AlphaBeta, commissioned by AWS, 3.7 million Australians need to undertake digital skills training within the next year to help our countries keep pace with technological advancements. AWS aims to inspire future builders by providing them with access to high-quality resources to learn about cloud computing and technology.

To achieve this, Amazon Web Services has donated laptops, video conferencing tools, robotic equipment, machine learning and artificial intelligence technologies, and Lego robotic kits to furnish the Think Big Space. Participants will be encouraged to “Think Big” when using these technologies to explore and learn about the potential skills and career pathways in STEAM.

Neighbouring schools will also access the AWS Think Big Space as part Blacktown Girls High School’s community outreach. Peer-to-peer learning activities, like building robots and learning how to code, will be set up to allow high school students to mentor primary school students and help spark their interest in STEAM and potential career pathways in these fields.

In addition to having access to resources, Amazon Web Services technical experts, at the direction of teachers, will volunteer to act as mentors and coaches to students. At the same time, Blacktown Girls High School and Amazon Web Services will host interactive guest speaker STEAM workshops at the Think Big Space covering topics from robotics to coding.

What were the stakeholders’ thoughts on the initiative?

“AWS is passionate about making a positive difference in the communities where we build and operate. With the opening of the inaugural AWS Think Big Space, in Sydney’s Blacktown Girls High School, we believe this dedicated environment will give students, and members of the local community, a first-hand look into what a career in the STEAM field could look like,” said Michelle Hardie, Head of Strategy, Operations and Enablement, ANZ, Amazon Web Services.

“Blacktown Girls High School was a natural fit for us. The school’s enthusiastic initiative to nurture digital skills among young people, particularly girls, is commendable,” Hardie said.

“We are excited to be collaborating with AWS to launch AWS’s first Australian Think Big Space in Blacktown Girls High School,” says Maria Trimmis, Principal of Blacktown Girls High School.

“There is a clear need for more young people to take a vested interest in STEAM fields in Australia. We want to provide our students and the local community with every chance to be able to explore those future opportunities in a practical way,” Trimmis further commented.

Ian Palmer, CEO from Schools Industry Partnership, which has collaborated with AWS to deliver the Think Big Space said, “It has been exciting to be a part of the first AWS Think Big Space being launched in Australia. The initiative shines a light on how schools and industry can work together to bring curriculum to life, especially when students will have the opportunity to meet, and be inspired by people working in amazing tech careers in companies like AWS.”

AWS is committed to providing skills training to help people and students across Australia and New Zealand to advance their knowledge and open up a variety of career paths. We have already trained over 200,000 people in Australia in cloud skills since 2017, and will continue to invest in training programs and initiatives to boost Australia’s digital competitiveness.

Incorporating STEAM education and skills into learning ensures students can graduate with skills required to succeed in digital workplaces. AWS is looking forward to further collaboration with Blacktown Girls High School, and the broader community to advance STEAM careers.