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Conference design for a Gen Y audience

ACS_Brenda_Ansley

Spice caught up with Australian Computer Society President Brenda Aynsley to find out how to design a conference program that makes Information Computer Technology (ICT) careers appeal to Gen Y.

How do you design a conference program that makes ICT careers appealing to young people?
The venue space really helped with this. YITCON was held at The Forum in Melbourne, which is typically where there are a lot of rock concerts. So we thought this would be appealing for youths! We also made sure we had a good range of speakers that are interesting to young people such as successful entrepreneurs who could talk about their career journeys. For example, Naomi Henn, a 20 year old entrepreneur who founded TapIn, was someone who really resonated with youth as a young female leader. We also had Gabe Zichermann, the founder of Gamification.co, futurist Ross Dawson and the CIO of Woolworths Clive Whincup amongst the speakers.

In what ways have you integrated tech stuff into the program?
We had a digital forum as part of the event with hundreds of students getting the opportunity to engage and interact with some leading technologies. This included a hologram presentation, robots and an interactive soccer pitch projected on to the floor where you could virtually kick the ball. There was also Adappt, which is powered by the Foundation for Young Australians (FYA)and Samsung Electronics, plus we had motion sensing technology that allowed students to navigate Google maps without clicking anything but simply hovering their hand over a motion sensor.

How did you decide on the speakers?
We wanted to have a good range of speakers from different backgrounds, industries, and levels of seniority. Our main objective was to get young people excited about technology and to help demonstrate what skills they need to equip themselves for their careers. We also wanted to show them how important technology is now and how it’s going to be incredibly important in the future.

What are the objectives of the ACS? What are some of the other activities they have planned to meet these objectives?
The ACS exists to create the environment and provide the opportunities for professionals to succeed in their field of work. We are particularly focused on the next generation workforce, including students but also current workers and how they can keep their skills up to date with fast paced changing trends in technology. Specifically, we are concentrating on the importance of IT in education and how Australia needs more focus on ICT professional development and certifications. We work with key ASX listed companies, federal and state government agencies and ministers and other industry partners both locally and internationally. We hold regular events all over the country for our members.

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