Find the answers to some of our most frequently asked questions below. If you cannot find the answer you need, please contact the team for assistance.
STEM Professionals in Schools is funded by the Australian Government Department of Education and delivered by CSIRO.
We expect partnerships to collaborate at least once a year, but you can interact as often as you like to make the most of your partnership and support the longevity of the program.
STEM Professionals in Schools offers partners total flexibility to decide when and what activities they would like to do together, and how much time will be spent. Your commitments can be scaled up or back as needed.
Impact on teacher (and STEM professional) workloads depends on the partnership’s own planned activities. The partnerships are intended to enhance student learning, and in many cases the STEM professional’s input can tie in with the teacher’s lesson planning for the school term or year.
If both partners are committed to larger projects together, this will of course take more time and effort from both parties – it’s up to you!
The first step is to apply! Our Program Support team will see you through the registration process and on to finding you a partner.
There are also resources, regular webinars (including one for newcomers, and another for kick-starting partnerships), and ongoing Project Support Officer support to get your partnership up and running.
Yes you can! Many of our participants have multiple partnerships. There is a check box for expressing interest in more than one partnership on the application form.
If you are already partnered and would like another partnership, contact the program team.
CSIRO Education and STEM Professionals in Schools is committed to supporting academic achievement and curiosity in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects among Aboriginal and/or Torres Strait Islander students. If you have a particular interest in supporting Indigenous and Torres Strait Islander students, you can indicate this in your application form.
If you are already registered and would like to indicate this interest, please update your profile in the CSIRO Education Portal and notify the program team.
FAQ: Partnership creation
Finding you a partner can take some time. It depends on your partnership preferences, and also who is available to be matched.
Our program support team work around the clock to find you the right partner as quickly as possible, but sometimes some patience is needed, particularly if you have specific requirements. The more flexible you are in who you are matched with, the sooner you are likely to be matched.
No. Our partnerships are between a STEM professional and a teacher at an Australian school.
However, it is possible to transfer a partnership to another teacher within a school, or for a STEM professional to be partnered with multiple teachers from the same school.
If you have an existing connection with a teacher or STEM professional that you would like to formalize via our program, we are happy to assist! Both individuals will need to register and make a note of their preferred partner, and a Program Support Officer will make the arrangements.
Neither partner 'owns' the partnership; the idea is that you work together to co-design and (usually, but not always) co-deliver activities for students.
We recommend an initial meeting followed by periodic check-ins to get to know your partner and align your ideas, and shared goals.
FAQ: Partnership activities
The sky is the limit! Some common activities include:
- Co-developing learning activities that support the curriculum
- Mentoring teachers
- Site visits or field trips
- Supporting specialist STEM clubs
- Sharing of personal career journey, and presentations
- Hands-on demonstrations
- Supporting students for specialist projects
There are stories from other partnerships to inspire you on our website.
Our program offers a partnership where participants give their time and expertise subject to their availability free of any costs. The decision to purchase any goods or services lies with the partners.
Scientific principles have very broad applications, and often STEM professionals' knowledge and background will qualify them to add value in many areas outside of their specific role or expertise.
Ask your STEM professional what they are most comfortable with. Many have personal interests (for example model airplanes, photography, and LEGO) that have also been introduced in partnership activities.
STEM professionals must satisfy our eligibility criteria to apply, which includes obtaining a Working With Children Check in the relevant state or territory.
In addition to these requirements, STEM professionals have access to the STEM Professionals in Schools Induction Modules, designed to provide information on the program and how to make the most of your involvement. Ongoing, we offer a range of webinars to support you and your partnerships throughout the year, as well as access to Program Support Officers who can provide you with support at any time.
Before visiting a school, ensure your teacher partner has advised of their school’s visitor instructions, e.g. where to park, where to sign in, and any other considerations like additional child safety measures.
It is also important to be mindful of the school’s policy around photography of students, particularly if you would like to share images of your activities with colleagues, media, or on social media. In most cases it is possible with permission from parents/carers in advance – with notice, CSIRO can provide a talent release form for this purpose.
If you are particularly excited about an upcoming school activity, it’s likely that we will find it exciting too. Don’t forget to give your Program Support Officer a heads up for special events; we may look for ways to share your story so your partnership can inspire others!