Australian citizens are now able to volunteer digital skills to government agencies when disaster strikes—and be paid for it—thanks to the launch of the National Resilience Database (NRDB), a digital initiative from innovative tech start-up, WithYouWithMe (WYWM).

COVID 19 has exposed the enormity of the digital skills gap faced by the Australian government in times of crisis and highlighted the need for a solution to enable them to deliver sovereign capability, quickly and effectively, when emergencies occur. By providing government agencies with a new way to quickly access skilled, job-ready talent who can step into short-term roles as required, WYWM is helping to solve this problem.

Scarlett McDermott, WYWM’s Chief Technology Officer, said: “When disaster strikes, one of the biggest challenges governments face is being able to mobilise quickly and deploy the digital skills required to effectively respond. We’ve seen this challenge firsthand from working closely with government agencies during the pandemic. The NRDB is going to provide government agencies with a real-world solution—turn-key access to skilled digital talent which is something that hasn’t existed before. While we can’t stop disasters from occurring, we can help make sure that our country is armed with the right resources to allow us to respond in the best way possible.”

WYWM—which provides digital skills training to the likes of the Australian Government, EY and Accenture—is calling on Australian citizens who are interested to upskill and perform meaningful paid work for the Government to register for the NRDB. In doing so, they will receive access to up to $5,000 worth of free training in areas like: data analytics, cyber security, digital project management, robotic process automation, and software development.

Individuals with service-based backgrounds or security clearance are in especially high demand on the NRDB, however membership and training is open to anyone who is working-aged and holds Australian citizenship. Once qualified, members will have the freedom to apply for short term flexible paid government contracting gigs that make a real difference.

Alison Howe, Acting Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of the National Institute of Strategic Resilience, said filling Australia’s digital skills shortage before the next crisis is a national imperative. “The National Resilience database is a powerful example of industry and government joining forces to enhance Australia’s strategic resilience and preparedness. It is a clever and creative approach to ensuring our government has people with the right skills at their fingertips when crises occur.”

McDermott said while the NRDB only started accepting members this month, there were already 200 citizens signed up to the platform and undertaking digital training and certification. “Australians have a strong track record of putting their hands up to help in times of need. One need only look at the 2018 Australian bushfires where thousands of people rallied together to volunteer their time. The NRDB will provide people with a new way to give back to their communities and country, while also being paid for their contribution. It is going to completely reinvent how Australians can serve their country and the way in which the Australian Government effectively responds to crises,” said McDermott.

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