Universities boost investment in STEM sector

Universities boost investment in STEM sector

Reports have shown continued interest in STEM courses among school leavers – and universities are wasting no time leveraging this by supercharging their efforts to improve their STEM programs and course offerings.

The University of Adelaide and Charles Darwin University are offering more health science courses to provide more career pathways for students in this sector.

Most recently, La Trobe University has launched an app to help students navigate their way to a STEM career. The University has also entered another venture with its long-standing partner, online platform LifeJourney, to deliver a mobile app which encourages secondary students to pursue STEM-related careers.

The app is currently only free to La Trobe students – aside from secondary students – from schools that are involved in university-related outreach programs. It features stories and advice from STEM professionals to give students insights on in-demand and so-called “21st century” careers.

According to the app’s website, out of 83% of students seek career advice from cyber and STEM professionals, only 20% of students manage to receive guidance.

Students will have access to new mentors to help build both soft and hard skills every month. Also included are self-discovery exercises to help students plan their career pathway.

In a recent survey, K-12 educators had said that a student’s proficiency in STEM skills is important to keep up with the emerging technologies in the workplace. Various efforts to get students interested in STEM – such as using games in classrooms –  have been implemented to achieve this.

Students also share the same sentiment, as a recent survey showed, with as much as 65% 10-to-16-year-olds indicating interest in learning STEM-related skills.

ECU develops a ‘triple helix’

While La Trobe focussed on helping students plot their way to a STEM career, Edith Cowan University (ECU) has looked to promote further their collaboration with the industry and government sectors while improving their students’ learning and working opportunities.

Last week, ECU opened a new $50m science building, located in the university’s Joondalup Campus. The facility houses government and industry offices and “superlabs”, where multiple classes can be held using the latest AV technology.

Professor Steve Chapman, ECU vice-chancellor, referred the Science Building as a ‘triple helix’ as it allows the government, academia and industry sectors to work side-by-side. The environment opens students to learning opportunities, work experience, and even future employment leaders.

Professor Chapman further said that the new Science Building also allows ECU to take part in solving global issues.