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School-based initiatives will shore up our future pipeline of skilled workers, equipping students with the requisite knowledge and understanding to pursue STEM careers in the defence industry sector.
At the secondary level, initiatives must continue to encourage engagement in STEM and broaden the focus to raise awareness of STEM careers and pathways. The proposed initiatives encourage industry and the education sector to work together to inform career choices and equip students with the necessary baseline skills to continue through the STEM pipelines – either as school leavers or through vocational or higher education qualifications.
Engineering is Elementary is an immersive professional development program for primary school educators, providing them with skills and resources to teach engineering and other STEM subjects in primary school classrooms.
Cost – Funded under existing arrangements by the Commonwealth and delivered by Questacon.
Timing – 2024 to 2027.
Impact – STEM-skilled, knowledgeable and confident educators, with awareness of the application of STEM to real-world problems, can build student interest and identity in STEM and inspire students to consider future careers in STEM fields. Approximately 1,500 primary school teachers will be engaged nationwide over this period.
The Schools Pathways Program is designed to raise school students’ awareness of possible career opportunities and increase their knowledge of the defence industry and defence industry pathways, while encouraging student involvement and participation in STEM. This will increase the pool of young people with the knowledge and skills to pursue defence industry careers.
Cost – $2.6 million. Commonwealth funded and delivered with South Australia.
Timing – 2023–24 to 2025–26.
Impact – Increasing the number of teachers confident in their ability to provide STEM career information will allow greater reach to students, enabling them to make informed career choices. Up to 15,000 students and 1,350 teachers are expected to benefit from this program over the period.
BAE Systems, in partnership with Lumination (a specialist Australian education technology company), provides primary school students with problem-solving and innovation challenges through the Beacon program.
The program expansion will improve student perception of STEM subjects and increase participation of women, First Nations students and those from low socio-economic status backgrounds.
Cost - $1.93 million over three years, 2024 to 2026. South Australian Government funded and delivered by BAE in partnership with Lumination.
Timing – Scaling up from 2024.
Impact – Inspiring young people in years 4 to 8 to stay engaged in and pursue STEM subjects, plus weekly online professional learning sessions for teachers. Delivery into 80 schools by 2026, targeting around 12,000 students.
High school students from under-represented groups (low socio-economic status students and First Nations learners) can apply for scholarships to pursue STEM subjects at South Australian Certificate of Education Stage 1 and 2 levels.
The fund covers the cost of tutors, laptops, excursions or any other strategy that directly supports the student to achieve in their chosen STEM subjects and pathways.
Cost – $1.9 million. South Australian Government funded and delivered.
Timing – Annually from 2024.
Impact – Estimated 50 scholarships per year from 2024; 200 scholarships over four years targeting students in low socio-economic status groups.
The initiative will invest in capital and facilities upgrades and equipment for the expansion of defence-relevant Flexible Industry Programs (FIPs) into an additional 20 South Australian schools to enhance the accessibility of industry-endorsed pathways to employment, and ensure a continuous pipeline of young skilled workers, particularly in critical occupations such as ICT, cyber security, engineering, and electrotechnology.
Cost – $1.5 million over two years, 2023 to 2025. South Australian Government funded and delivered.
Timing – Implementation from 2023–24.
Impact – 20 new schools, at 15 to 30 students engaging in a defence industry related FIP per school, per annum; targeting up to 600 students per annum on a defence-relevant career path.
This initiative provides resources to educators and parents to support conversations with primary school aged children about the range of careers in the defence industry, such as advanced manufacturing and naval engineering.
Cost – Up to $250,000 in 2023–24. Commonwealth funded and delivered.
Timing – Complete and promote the ebook by March 2024.
Impact – Boost awareness of careers in advanced manufacturing and the defence industry, and generate student pipeline effects for the coming decade.
In addition to the key education and training initiatives required, there are a number of supporting measures that underpin the implementation of these initiatives including, Evidence-based decision-making, Strategic communications and outreach, Skilled migration, and Security clearances.
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