Students get fresh look at STEM opportunities

Students get fresh look at STEM opportunities

With automation and digitisation of the Australian workforce in full-swing, STEM education is considered as the way forward by policymakers and governments when it comes to preparing students for employment after school.

However, reports have shown that student outcomes across the four key disciplines of STEM have been slipping in recent years. Currently, around 30% of Australian 15 year-olds are not meeting basic standards for reading, maths or science.

To address this, a major Australian bank launched a summit last week at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA) to inspire students about the possibilities available to them.

The Commonwealth Bank’s ‘Wired for Wonder Youth Summit, held last Friday, blended science, technology and the arts in an interactive and engaging forum that included speakers such as Boost Juice Founder Janine Allis, educator and technologist, Frances Valentine, and Emergent CEO and strategist, Holly Ransom.

More than 400 high school students from 25 different schools across NSW attended the event, which covered topics such as entrepreneurism, design thinking, creativity, confidence building, goal setting, stress management and science and technology. 

Sharon Collins, Commonwealth Bank’s Head of Future Talent and Community Inclusion, said although often not fully recognised, the linkages between STEM and the arts were profound.

“Arts provide an avenue to explore, create, and imagine. To be successful in STEM students need to be comfortable in thinking differently and using creativity to approach and solve problems,” Collins said.

“A focus for the Youth Summit was to build students confidence and to break down the misconceptions about a potential career in science or technology, by displaying the different career and study pathways that are available.” 

Collins said that as one of the country’s largest employers, the bank is increasingly looking to employ people with a range of different skills and backgrounds to better meet the needs of its customers. 

“We are hiring more people from fields not traditionally associated with banking or finance, with the latest intake from our 2018 Graduate Program including students who studied arts, social science and drama,” Collins said.