Fostering the future of tech talent
In a time of rapid technological transformation, the demand for innovative solutions to complex problems – and the skills needed to find them – has never been more pressing. Partnering with industry to grow the future pool of tech talent, the University of Melbourne has joined forces with global fintech company Airwallex to support high-achieving technology students to become the innovators of tomorrow.
Airwallex was founded out of a Melbourne cafe by pioneering University of Melbourne alumni Xijing Dai (2006), Max Li (2006), Lucy Liu (2010) and CEO Jack Zhang (2007). Since founding in 2015, the company has grown to employ over 1200 people across 19 international offices, and provides modern technological solutions to help businesses operate across borders in an increasingly globalised world.
Keen to support the next generation of tech leaders, Airwallex partnered with the University in 2022 to offer a range of opportunities such as scholarships, grants, events and career support for promising students studying within the Faculty of Engineering and Information Technology. The initiative exemplifies one of the ways in which the University collaborates with industry partners to enrich teaching and learning, and contributes to solving workforce and sector challenges.
Bachelor of Science student Ayush Tyagi was an inaugural recipient of the Airwallex Excellence in Technology Scholarship, valued at up to $15,000 per annum across three years. The scholarship recognises Ayush’s skill and potential in computing and software systems, and has helped provide the second-year student with reassurance that he’s on the right path.
“It’s opened up many future pathways for me,” Ayush said, “and will help me concentrate on my studies and career without having to worry so much about the financial stress of educational expenses.”
The partnership, valued at $3 million in total, also offers specialised opportunity funds for students experiencing financial hardship – an all-too-common reality facing many students and one that is particularly familiar to Airwallex co-founder and CEO Jack Zhang, who recalls how difficult it was being an international student and holding down three part-time jobs while studying. In addition to the financial assistance and award schemes it provides, the partnership also facilitates mentoring experiences for students, giving them invaluable access and exposure to professionals in the field.
For Ayush, who hopes to pursue a career in software engineering after graduating with a masters degree, facing industry professionals for the first time when looking to gain relevant work experience was an intimidating prospect.
“The Airwallex partnership eases this pressure by preparing students through exposure and insight into the industry, specifically via its mentorship program and networking opportunities.”
The Airwallex–University of Melbourne partnership comes at a critical time when the tech talent shortage continues to impact Australian businesses. In 2022, the Tech Council of Australia forecast that Australia will need 653,000 additional people in tech jobs by 2030 to fuel the nation’s economic growth.
“We understand deeply the tech talent challenges facing businesses today,” said Zhang. “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 start up ecosystem.”
The partnership will run over three years from 2022–2025 and showcases the impact of a University of Melbourne education, not only on its alumni, but for the communities they go on to serve.
“It’s an honour and 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,” said Zhang.
“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.”
Banner image: Second-year Bachelor of Science student Ayush Tyagi was an inaugural recipient of the Airwallex Excellence in Technology Scholarship, in recognition of his skill and potential in computing and software systems. Image: Peter Casamento