Instead of returning to school after the holidays, 16 Hunter students in Years 10, 11 and 12 have taken on positions in the STEMship program that commenced at the beginning of May at TAFE NSW Newcastle.
An initiative of Regional Development Australia (RDA) Hunter, Training Services NSW (NSW Department of Industry) and TAFE NSW, STEMship is Australia’s first STEM based, VET pre-employment program that provides a VET pathway for secondary high school students as an alternative to university. It aims to promote job creation in the Hunter by providing a talent pool of work-ready employees for industries such as defence, advanced manufacturing, engineering, resources, electronics and aerospace.
Year 12 student, David Newman, is completing his Gold Duke of Edinburgh Award and is one of five boys from St Philip’s Christian College, Port Stephens who were successful at gaining a position in STEMship.
David, who is interested in studying electrotechnology, says STEMship provides him with the perfect opportunity to transition into further education with TAFE NSW and believes it’s a step in the right direction for his career.
“I was excited to learn that I had secured a place in the STEMship program and I hope that it will help me achieve my goal of getting an apprenticeship with a reputable company,” David said.
Rural Fire Service Volunteer and Francis Greenway High School Year 11 student, Zane Folpp, said he hopes the STEMship program will help him gain vital workplace skills to be better qualified and gain employment.
“I believe that by doing this program and having valuable contact with industries, I will be a step above other candidates,” Zane said.
“I am very interested in the engineering and manufacturing side of things and enjoy getting my hands dirty, pulling things apart and putting them back together. I believe I will be learning up to date information and skills related to the industry I am interested in, and I will be able to experience and put these skills into place.”
TAFE NSW Head of SkillsPoint Innovative Manufacturing, Robotics and Science, Karen Humphreys, said successful completion of STEMship will provide David and Zane with a full Certificate III in Engineering – Technical, inclusive of four weeks industry-based practical work placement.
“In addition to the training and work experience, the 16 students will have the opportunity to gain employment in some of the Hunter Region’s most innovative organisations,” Karen said.
“With access to over 25,000 employers, TAFE NSW knows what industry is looking for from prospective employees, so it’s our job to ensure students are job ready and equipped with real, practical skills and experience needed to be in demand and get the job they want.
“We want students to be job ready, so the program aims to equip students with the skills and knowledge needed for a seamless transition to work. This includes resume writing, team building skills, appropriate behaviour in the workplace and addressing any numeracy and literacy issues which could otherwise form a barrier to employment.”
RDA Hunter’s STEM Workforce Manager, Rick Evans said he’s looking forward to what the students in this year’s cohort will achieve.
“STEMship is recognised as a valuable source of suitable, job-ready personnel and a key part of the Hunter Region’s Workforce Development Strategy,” Rick said.
In February 2018, Premier Gladys Berejiklian announced an additional $50,000 to the STEMship program, with a view to increasing the take up of science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects.
IMAGE | The 16 high school students who successfully gained a position in the 2018 STEMship program at TAFE NSW Newcastle.