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To drive innovation and to meet Australia's future job needs, we need an increase in STEM skills. By connecting schools with industry, STEM Professionals in Schools is equipping teachers with the skills they need to boost STEM education in the classroom, and beyond.

A report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) showed that STEM-related jobs such as scientists, ICT professionals and engineers grew about 1.5 times the rate of other jobs in recent years1, and that STEM skills are more broadly beneficial to individuals regardless of occupation due to the transferability of related skills like problem solving, critical thinking, and communication skills.

A study 2 of international best practice for promoting the participation of young people in STEM compiled a vision for a thriving STEM nation that includes the following key components:

  • Coordinated collaboration between stakeholders across the STEM ecosystem
  • Sustained professional development, capacity and engagement of teachers.

STEM Professionals in Schools - St Peter's Lutheran School
STEM learning in practice ©  CSIRO

Similarly, the goals outlined in the Education Council’s National STEM school education strategy (2016-2026) reflect the importance of increasing teacher capacity and STEM teaching quality, and facilitating effective partnerships with tertiary education providers, business and industry3. In a 2017 report the Australian Chief Scientist said that Australians need businesses and schools to work together in order to ensure that our teachers and students are provided with the most up-to-date scientific methods and information.

STEM Professionals in Schools' most recent program evaluation 4 found that at a national strategic level the program presents a unique value-proposition, providing participants with highly valued exposure to real-world STEM experiences and learning, and being one of the only nationally funded programs to include industry and business, and to target discrete equity groups 5.

By connecting industry with schools, teachers and students are exposed to the relevance of STEM in everyday life in exciting and memorable ways. STEM Professionals in Schools increases teachers' confidence, and inspires students to consider STEM careers as a future pathway, which will be essential to meet Australia's future economic growth and productivity.

References

  1. Australian Government, Industry Employment Projections 2015 Report, 2015, ABS Perspectives on Education and Training: Australian qualifications in STEM, 2010-11, pg 1.
  2. Ms Sarah Chapman & Dr Rebecca Vivian, 2017, Engaging the future of STEM, pg 8.
  3. Education Council, National STEM School Education Strategy, 2016-2026, pg 7.
  4. Australia’s Chief Scientist, 2017, Report: Strengthening school-industry STEM skills partnerships, pg 2.
  5. Tesselate Communications, 2020, STEM Professionals in Schools 2018-2019 program impact evaluation, pg 35.

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