IDX Flint – Igniting a passion for technology across Australia

From 3D printing to programming humanoid robots, young Indigenous people in six communities across Australia will take part in the 2017 IDX Flint program.

Following a national application process, six successful community organisations will receive up to $25,000 worth of technology and support to create digital training workshops for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people in the local area.

The program is part of the Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX) initiative, a partnership between the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (NCIE) and Telstra Foundation, and aims to build tech and innovation skills in young Indigenous peoples.

A key part of IDX Flint is the program’s specialised tech training for local facilitators, enabling them to deliver digital workshops and building new skills in local educators and leaders.

Through the program, young participants will learn a range of new skills, including Scratch computer programming, robotics and 3D printing.
IDX received 15 expressions of interest to host Flint program workshops in 2017, the six successful applicants are:

· Marula Aboriginal Corporation, Birdsville QLD
· Lake Macquarie Library, Lake Macquarie NSW
· Yarrabah Aboriginal Shire Council, Yarrabah QLD
· Footscray Community Arts Centre, Footscray VIC
· Gurehlgam Corporation, Grafton NSW
· East Arnhem Regional Council, Nhulunbuy NT

IDX facilitators will travel to each community and conduct workshops and five-day training sessions with local community members over the next six months.

NCIE CEO Kirstie Parker said that IDX Flint offered a lot more than a training exercise for young people.

“IDX Flint also aims to increase community capacity through delivering train-the-trainer workshops which develops skills in local facilitators, and provides communities with new digital equipment,” Ms Parker said.

“Working with regional and remote communities across Australia to deliver sustainable digital technology capacity and skills has been a focus for the IDX. These digital learning experiences aim to enhance connection to culture and get participants excited about making technology.

“After this third round of IDX Flint, 15 communities across every state and territory will have benefited from the learning and technology provided,” Ms Parker said.

General Manager of the Telstra Foundation, Jackie Coates, said that Telstra was passionate about building digital skills in the next generation.

“These workshops are designed to spark a digital intrigue and interest in young people and start them on a digital journey,” Ms Coates said.
“We believe in the power of technology to do great things, and by putting new digital skills in the hands of our young people, the possibilities are endless.”

Birdsville Elder Don Rowlands OAM said the program offers both cultural and employment opportunities for local young people.

“The IDX Flint training will encourage our young people to work with our elders to research and record our stories. It will also provide those same young people with new skills and opportunities to pursue in terms of career development,” Mr Rowlands said.

Gurehlgam Corporate Manager Kenn Payne said that Grafton had been looking for a program like IDX Flint for the past five years.

“Our dream is to set up an Innovation Learning Centre to spark the imagination of the young participants, to allow them to be creative and to reap the rewards of learning, not only in money terms but also in personal growth and for the sheer enjoyment of it,” Mr Payne said.

IDX is an initiative operated in partnership between the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence (based in Redfern, Sydney) and the Telstra Foundation. IDX aims to establish programs and support infrastructure that strengthens Indigenous participation, practice and entrepreneurship in the digital economy.