A number of Australian corporates have come together to launch Australia 2020, the next phase of the Day of STEM education initiative to inspire young Australians to pursue a career in a science, technology, engineering, or maths-related field.
This new phase of the program, run by Life Journey to ‘raise the national IQ for STEM and cyberscience’, looks to showcase people working in ‘next-generation’ fields, such as cybersecurity, drone delivery, financial services, and autonomous vehicles, showing students what such a career could look like.
Being showcased through the program are Ian Hill, chief innovation officer at Westpac; Simone Bachmann, digital trust specialist at Australia Post; Deloitte cyber risk director Celeste Lowe and technology consulting director Sonia Haque; and RACQ digital experience expert Cara Walsh.
Students begin by going through a career ideating session, helping them to identify their interests. It then has them explore six career paths at different companies through an interactive media experience. After exploring each, students rank the mentors based on how they felt about each career pathway.
The platform then allows participants to live a day in the life of the mentors, showing them how their interests, skills, and passions could align with the skills of the mentors and the skills businesses need in the future. By following a mentor’s journey it also looks to help students connect what they’re learning in the classroom with a real career.
Haque said, “The platform develops the hard and soft skills of students. It is important for students to know that soft skills, such as problem solving, critical and design thinking, curiosity, decision making and communication, are just as important as the hard, technical skills.”
Day of STEM in July ran the STEM Cup, which allowed students to explore career pathways in sports science and data analytics. The initiative finished up with an online maths challenge where students were asked to step into the role of a ‘capologist’, perfect for those obsessed with fantasy sports.
The initiative is the latest in a long line looking at engaging kids in STEM subjects and fields, with the number of kids taking part growing steadily: Code Club Australia, for example, officially set a world record in July by getting the most kids coding at the one time.
The organisation’s Moonhack event saw over 10,000 kids take part in a series of online computer programming exercises throughout the evening, with with Code Club Australia general manager Kelly Tagalan saying it was the first event of its kind to both capture the imagination of kids across the country and improve digital literacy at the same time.
You can learn more about Day of STEM here.
Image: Ghada Sleiman.