Jul 18

Industry tees off to promote STEM study

Rory Chatterson, Illawarra manager of The Smith Family Ian Batty, Simon Milne, Caleb Avery, Evangelos Mourmourakis and Terry Coleman prepare for the STEM City Golf Charity Day. Picture: GEORGIA MATTSTHE Science, Technology, Engineering, and Mathematics (STEM) group will hold an awareness day to highlight a drop in students studying the disciplines.

STEM City is a collaborative group of STEM industry employers concerned about a decrease in students doing STEM disciplines at both secondary and tertiary levels. To raise awareness about STEM City they will host a debut STEM Charity Golf Day this weekend.

CEO of Evanscorp, a STEM City member organisation, Phillip Evans said despite 30 of the fastest growing occupations requiring a background in STEM disciplines, student numbers were alarmingly low.

“People are studying the wrong things at high school and picking HSC subjects with no maths at all. Then they are not well set-up to do maths in any form when at university,” he said.

“A lot of innovation comes out of STEM based disciplines, and this then creates an issue in terms of the border industry, where we’re having trouble hiring people.

“In a broader sense we have 30,000 unemployed teachers and people like Pillar [a superannuation company] are having trouble filling 40 positions.”

Mr Evans said the idea of the golf day was to introduce local businesses to the philosophy of STEM City and generate awareness among parents and students to think about what they choose to study.

Mainteck boss Tim Moss said STEM skills were vital to sustaining the engineering capabilities of the Illawarra.

“And it is critical to the region that we retain that capability,” he said.

The first annual STEM Charity Golf Day at the Links Shell Cove Golf Course on November 7 from 7am will raise awareness of local STEM opportunities, and raise funds to support education through The Smith Family’s Learning for Life program.

STEM City partner companies Mainteck, CompuEase, Pactera, Custom Made Engineering, Evanscorp, Objective Computing, Mainteck Services and Selera Labs are encouraging the next wave of enrolments in key STEM vocations.

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