We use our technology, expertise, scale and presence to make a difference in the community.
Digital connectivity is increasingly an essential service, with access to the internet now underpinning everything from social interactions to employment and social services. Finding a job or accommodation, paying bills or staying in touch are all made simpler and quicker thanks to the internet and technology provided you can get online.
As a result we focus on ensuring that everyone can connect and benefit from being connected to communications technologies.
Being confident and literate with technology is an essential skill in the digital age. This year, our Everyone Connected digital literacy programs reached almost 117,000 people. To extend the reach of these programs we partnered with the New South Wales and Victorian state governments to deliver Tech Savvy Seniors. This year, we provided face to face training to almost 32,000 people.
Supporting victims of domestic violence
In November 2014, we launched Telstra Safe Connections® in partnership with the Women’s Services Network to help women impacted by domestic violence to stay safely connected to their friends, family, essential services and vital information. Through the program, we provide up to 5,000 smartphones each year, along with $30 pre-paid credit and educational materials on the safe use of technology.
Through the Telstra Foundation social innovation grants program we invest in tech for good collaborations across Australia and look to the power of smart devices, social media, platforms and apps to champion social change and community connection. In FY15, the Telstra Foundation approved five social innovation grants, including with Code Club Australia (see case study), to the value of $2.4 million.
This year we officially launched the Telstra Foundation Philippines, our first international Foundation, which aims to assist Filipino youth and promote education in the Philippines.
In August 2012, we launched eSmart Libraries, a multi year, $8 million partnership between the Telstra Foundation and The Alannah and Madeline Foundation. This program is designed to better equip Australia’s 1,500 public libraries to support library users with the skills they need for smart, safe and responsible use of technology. To date, more than 40 per cent of public libraries across Australia (more than 600 libraries) have commenced the eSmart journey.
Indigenous Digital Excellence
This year we continued to implement our $5 million, multi year Indigenous Digital Excellence (IDX) partnership with the National Centre of Indigenous Excellence. IDX aims to inspire Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to take the next step towards making digital objects such as apps and devices, build relevant skills and connect Indigenous digital makers with each other and to meaningful opportunities in the digital space.
Case Study: Helping kids code their way to a brighter future
It’s typically not until high school that Australian kids get the opportunity to participate in a concentrated ICT program as part of the curriculum. Studies show that by this stage, young people especially girls are already self selecting out of STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering and mathematics).
Code Club Australia is changing that. Its mission is to give every child in Australia the chance to learn code, via a network of after school clubs for kids aged 9 to 11 years. Code Club Australia is designed to be inclusive of kids who face barriers to thriving in STEM education. The sessions emphasise fun, creativity, problem solving skills and learning through exploring.
The Telstra Foundation is investing $532,000 in Code Club Australia to raise awareness about coding and to support the delivery of an accelerated â€˜train the trainer program, targeting 500 teachers and prioritising schools in low socioeconomic areas. For more information, visit www.telstrafoundation.com/projects/code-club-australia.