Program of ‘national significance’ aims to boost STEM education

Program of ‘national significance’ aims to boost STEM education

Major companies such as Hewlett Packard, Telstra and Westpac will soon provide students with an online mentoring program to boost their participation in science, technology, engineering, and mathematics subjects.

The initiative will be unveiled tomorrow in Melbourne, under the "Australia Day of STEM" banner initiated by US online education consultant, LifeJourney.

Westpac CEO, Dave Curran, called the program one of “national significance”, adding it would ensure that youth were equipped with the vocational skills they would need for the 21st century workplace.

“STEM is what will drive the future of our nation and ensure that we become increasingly more competitive — and remain competitive — on the world stage,” Curran told The Australian.

“Most jobs of the future will require some combination of STEM skillset, so we have to encourage the students of today to see the enormous opportunities that a career in STEM can provide — and in doing so, build a generation empowered by STEM skills.”

Australia's outgoing Chief Scientist, Ian Chubb, will be the keynote speaker at Tuesday’s launch, which follows the Federal Government’s push to improve STEM education in the nation’s schools.

The program will also involve education on cyber security, fraud analytics in banking, healthcare biometrics, programming for software firms, data science and technical skills for defence contractors.

Students will access the program by logging in to a website on their computer or iPhone app and selecting up to 30 corporate mentors who will explain their careers via a pre-recorded video.

The role models will demonstrate their duties and lay out the skills and qualifications students would require to rise to the roles.

Other organisations involved include La Trobe University, BAE International, Deloitte, Cisco Systems, Lockheed Martin, iWebGate, Trustwave, Iwebgate and Collingwood Football Club.