Delivering innovation in education and health

Microsoft ANZ and Australian Catholic University (ACU) are joining forces to deliver value to students, the future health and education workforce and the broader community.

ACU and Microsoft ANZ have in common a commitment to empowering individuals and communities through innovation. ACU’s mission aims at enriching lives through learning and knowledge and bringing opportunities to those in need. Microsoft’s mission is to empower every person and every organisation on the planet to achieve more.

The partnership is articulated through a three-horizons strategic plan focused on:

  • empowering students through digital innovation,
  • empowering staff and professionals, and
  • bringing innovation to telehealth and aged care. A program of collaboration projects is in place to deliver on this framework.

Under the partnership, Microsoft ANZ and ACU will work together to personalise the higher education experience at ACU through signature pedagogy for enhanced on-campus teaching, as well as a blended learning and virtual reality (VR) experiences for students in health sciences and education.

ACU Dean of Innovation and Industry Engagement Professor Myriam Amielh said:  “This work is aimed at enriching student learning through exposure to a broader and richer range of technologies and digital tools. The partners will explore the use of immersive and holographic technologies to support health and education students in developing an appreciation of clinical and classroom scenarios.”

Microsoft’s Employee Resource Groups (ERGs) build communities within the organisation that bring the power of diversity to life. ERGs across Microsoft connect teams across identities and provide career development, networking, and mentorship, while also hosting activities that promote community engagement and cultural awareness.

The partnership will involve Microsoft’s ‘Women at Microsoft’ ERG with a focus on digital skills, as one of the group most disadvantageously affected through COVID-19. The partnership will also connect Microsoft’s new ‘Military at Microsoft’ ERG with ACU’s Veterans’ Entry Program, also designed to support and empower former service members. The collaboration will provide students and staff opportunities for digital onboarding, networking, internships and work-integrated learning. It will also provide an opportunity for the more than 70% of ACU students who are female to partner with ‘Women at Microsoft’.

ACU Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Zlatko Skrbis said: “ACU’s strong position in the education and health sectors and longstanding partnerships with major health, education and Catholic institutions provide an exceptional platform for developing multi-partner Innovation projects that have a potential to deliver benefit to the Australian community, particularly in the areas of education, telehealth and aged care. The partnership with Microsoft will provide the best of technology innovation to students, the future workforce and the broader community.”

Managing Director for Australia at Microsoft ANZ Steven Worrall said: “To empower every person and organisation in Australia to achieve more, we must support our most fundamental systems to thrive – two of the most critical being healthcare and education. This requires a workforce that has the skills to transform in step with the changing needs and expectations of both sectors, armed with job-ready skills delivered through our educational institutions and practical learning through industry. At Microsoft, we’re proud to be partnering with Australian Catholic University to ensure our students and educators have the tools they need to drive innovation in essential services like telehealth and aged care.”

Director of Education for Australia at Microsoft ANZ Tiffany Wright said:

“Innovation is only as good as its impact, and nowhere can technology make a more meaningful and life-changing difference than in helping us better educate and care for our communities. By joining forces, Australian Catholic University and Microsoft will not only make learning more enriching and applicable in the real-world thanks to the power of technologies like virtual reality. It’s our shared belief that a diverse and inclusive workforce is needed for more sustainable innovation that makes this partnership drive true impact.”

Drawing from ACU’s position in the education and health sectors and long-standing partnerships with major Catholic health institutions, Microsoft and ACU will jointly explore potential multi-partner innovation projects that have a real potential to deliver benefit to the Australian community in the areas of education, telehealth and aged care. It will prioritise innovation in aged care in line with recommendations of the recent Australian Royal Commission into Aged Care Quality and Standards, including but not limited to professionalising the aged care workforce.


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