Grok Academy, the provider of the most popular digital skills e-learning platform among Australian schools, has unveiled Martha McKeen as their Chief Strategy Officer. In this fresh position, McKeen is set to work cohesively with the executive and senior leadership teams to scale Grok's operations and achieve its mission to equip teachers with the ability to deliver digital technologies curriculum to all Australian students by supplying free, ready-to-use classroom resources and continuous teacher professional development.
Dr. James Curran, the CEO and Director of Grok Academy, cited the breadth of McKeen's experience as the reason for her selection for the role. Her varied background spans education, technology and cybersecurity during her time at the Commonwealth Bank (CBA). Moreover, she has previously collaborated with Grok Academy as an industry partner for the successful Schools Cyber Security Challenges initiative among others. “We’re thrilled to welcome Martha to the role of Chief Strategy Officer where she will be instrumental in supporting Grok through its current growth phase and scale our business to address the nation’s ongoing digital technology skills shortage," Curran said.
Upon her appointment, McKeen expressed her desire in witnessing more children opting for careers in computer science and related fields due to the promising prospects these industries present. "I’m passionate about supporting Australia’s next generation of students to pursue their dreams and recognise technology is an increasingly important part of their lives and future careers. I’ve been warmly welcomed by the team at Grok and am inspired by the difference we’re making in the lives of young people," she said. With her new role at Grok Academy, McKeen hopes to enhance the impact she made at CBA in terms of addressing digital technology skills shortages.
McKeen has introduced a three-pronged strategy to achieve Grok Academy's vision. This includes strengthening Grok Academy's partnership with the industry to facilitate co-creation of learning content that matches Australia's technology skills needs both currently and in the future. There also plans to augment the footprint and impact of crucial programmes such as the Schools Cyber Security Challenges, as well as to boost product innovation within Grok to offer interactive learning experiences that will inspire both teachers and students.
A 2022 report commissioned by the Tech Council of Australia and Accenture anticipates a shortfall of 186,000 Australian tech workers by 2030. Addressing this deficit could contribute a remarkable $A36 billion annually to Australia’s GDP. In 2023, a total of 209,000 Australian students, backed by 6,000 teachers in 3,400 schools, utilised Grok Academy’s classroom-ready online resources.
Dr. Curran summarises, "We want educators to be armed with the best tools and resources so that they can equip the workforce of the future to be part of a thriving digital economy. Martha will be pivotal to helping us scale and achieve our ambitious goals.”
Martha McKeen began her tenure as the Chief Strategy Officer in November 2023 and is based in Sydney.