AIIA Celebrates Diversity and Closing the Digital Skills Gap
The intersection of diversity and the digital skills gap underscores a critical challenge facing our industry today. While technology continues to reshape industries and economies, disparities in access to digital resources and opportunities persist, disproportionately affecting marginalized communities. Bridging this gap requires a multifaceted approach that addresses systemic barriers to education, employment, and advancement.
Hear from Aaron Bell, GM, Remote Data Technologies at KJR as he shares the journey that has landed KJR the inaugural iAward for Diversity in 2023. Aaron provides insights into KJR’s journey over the past two years, working with Indigenous Rangers and remote communities across QLD and NT, and how leveraging technology and training has been improving lives and creating jobs on country.
Aaron will join a panel with Ellen Yang, Executive Director of Strategic Policy, Queensland Government Customer and Digital Group at the Department of Transport and Main Road, Duncan Kerslake, Project Manager at Deadly Innovation and Nicole Forrester, VP – Purpose, People and Culture at Fujitsu Asia Pacific to share their insights in how governments, educational institutions, businesses, and community organisations need to collaborate to address the digital skills gap.
Diversity enriches our community in countless ways. Embracing diversity fosters empathy, understanding, and mutual respect, laying the foundation for a more inclusive and harmonious society.
Come along to this important event and be part of the dialogue on how reshaping systems and removing barriers will pave the way for a more diverse community to unlock our full potential and build a better future for us all.
GM, Remote Data Technologies
Aaron leads much of KJR’s exploratory and innovation work. An Aeronautical Engineer by background, Aaron’s +20yr career has seen him playing with Helicopters, Drones, Planes, Tech, Computers, IT, construction, armaments, ballistics, and explosives.
Aaron is an avid technophile with a passion for leadership and purpose. His current projects are focussed on Artificial Intelligence and Machine Learning (AI/ML) applications in remote locations particularly with our indigenous communities. These projects include the development of our Off Grid Drone Dock as well as the employment of AI driven image classification models to track sea turtles, aboriginal rock art, feral animals, coral, beach pollution and much more.
Right now, Aaron is at Torres Strait where he is working with some of KJRs close partners to teach locals how to use Drones, AI/ML and big data to find ghost nets and pollution in their pristine paradise.
Executive Director of Strategic Policy, Queensland Government Customer and Digital Group
Department of Transport and Main Roads
Ellen’s role is to lead the development and delivery of strategies, programs, and partnerships to support digital inclusion, regional digital business and industry growth, pathways for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to participate in the digital economy, and digital policy innovation.
Ellen has more than 20 years’ experience working at senior levels in government and tertiary education focused on driving strategy, innovation, policy reform and program implementation across economic, social, and corporate portfolios.
Duncan is an Aboriginal man of Palawa heritage and holds a Bachelor of Education from Queensland University of Technology. He leads the Deadly Innovation Strategy, a cornerstone of the Queensland Government’s $755M Advance Queensland innovation agenda that sets the framework for engaging with First Nations businesses, innovators and communities focused on self-determination and empowerment.
In this role, Duncan works with and alongside First Nations communities to drive new commercial opportunities and jobs to ensure a focus on economic participation and wealth creation, particularly in the new and digital economy.
Until recently Duncan also held the position as Special Advisor, First Nation Economic Participation with the Department of State Development, Infrastructure and Planning. He worked closely with his policy and corporate colleagues to ensure the inclusion of Indigenous Participation through procurement and infrastructure grants.
Prior to this, he led the Aboriginal and/Torres Strait Islander Business Engagement for the 2018 Gold Coast Commonwealth Games. Through his efforts, $15m in contracts were secured by Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander businesses, creating 1000 jobs in the 14 months prior to the Games.
In 2023 Duncan was awarded the Public Service Medal for his outstanding public service to the development and advancement of Queensland Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander businesses.
VP, Purpose People and Culture
Fujitsu Asia Pacific
Nicole, a proud Wiradjuri woman, serves as the VP, Purpose, People & Culture at Fujitsu Asia Pacific. She plays a lead role in supporting Fujitsu’s people and customers to experience the company’s purpose – “to make the world more sustainable by building trust in society through innovation”. In her role, Nicole leads a team that collaborates across the business to practise Fujitsu’s global values of Trust, Empathy and Aspiration to create an inclusive environment delivering sustainable impact.
Since joining Fujitsu in April 2021, Nicole has led the realisation of Purpose in Practice by championing and driving transformative changes across Fujitsu’s sustainability, diversity, equity and inclusion, and social impact programs. Fujitsu has signed its first renewable energy power purchase agreement; a gold award for the Australian Workplace Equity Index; and supported the Cherbourg Aboriginal Community’s digital transformation journey with its new Service Centre.
Nicole brings to this role almost two decades of diverse leadership experience in Australia and across the Asia Pacific in government and international affairs. After graduating from the Queensland University of Technology, Nicole began her career by joining the Oodgeroo Unit as an associate lecturer in Indigenous health and education.
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