How can we create a STEM skills pipeline?

STEM skills and knowledge are rapidly becoming one of the most required pre-requisites for future occupations.

Research shows 75 per cent of the fastest growing occupations require STEM skills and knowledge. However, enrollments in these subjects have plummeted, with women and indigenous groups particularly underrepresented. In a place like the Territory with such a strong focus on VET and nearly 30% indigenous, how can we create a STEM talent pipeline?

Of the 14 Australian schools supported by the Australian Government to take part in Pathways to Technology (P-TECH), Casuarina Senior College is the only one in the Northern Territory.

The Mastering Innovation Northern Territory (MINT) network in partnership with Skilling Australia Foundation (Top End P-TECH) and Casuarina Senior College came together to explain what this exciting initiative means for the Northern Territory.

The P-TECH pilot is an innovative model of education-industry collaboration that provides students studying for their Senior Secondary Certificate with an industry supported pathway to a science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related diploma, advanced diploma or associate degree.

P-TECH was started in the Brooklyn New York school district by global tech company IBM to address what they projected as severe skills shortages in ‘new collar’ jobs. Due to the model’s success in the USA, the Australian government has committed $5 million dollars to pilot it across Australia.

The Australian Government has engaged Skilling Australia Foundation to assist local stakeholders to work together to implement P-TECH learning programs at all 14 pilot sites, including in Darwin.

The P-TECH pilot involves the establishment of long-term partnerships between industry, schools and tertiary education providers that enable businesses to play an active role in the learning and career development of their future workforce. This includes mentoring and providing pathways from school to further education, training and employment, including opportunities for employment with the school’s industry partners.

The P-TECH model features opportunities for students to connect and build relationships with industry partners, and engage in hands-on, project-based activities, both at school and in the workplace. These experiences will help students to make informed decisions about their future careers and pathways.

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