Growth in STEM to support future WA jobs

News story:
During National Science Week, we take a look at how the State STEM skills strategy will help to prepare for the jobs of the future in WA
Children enjoying STEM skills education

WA’s future workforce is benefiting from a cross-sector commitment to bolstering the current level and diversity of students studying STEM courses.

As our jobs continue to be reshaped by technology, automation and a diversifying economy, the State’s first ever STEM skills strategy, kick-started with $3.3 million in State Government funding, underlines the growing importance of skills in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

Increasing participation in STEM is a priority target of the Our Priorities: Sharing Prosperity whole-of-government targets program. The target aims to see 85 percent of Year 12 students complete two or more STEM courses or STEM-related vocational, education and training (VET) qualifications by 2024.

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Seventy-five per cent of the fastest growing jobs require STEM skills and STEM jobs are growing at one and a half times the rate of non-STEM jobs.

Minister for Science Dave Kelly

“By 2030, workers are expected to spend double the amount of time solving problems, 41 per cent more time on critical thinking and judgement, and 77 per cent more time using science and mathematics skills," Minister Kelly said.

The whole-of-State strategy was developed by an advisory panel of industry experts, researchers and educators, chaired by WA’s Chief Scientist Professor Peter Klinken. It is focused on getting all sectors working together to maximise the impact of existing initiatives, increase uptake of STEM studies and reskill current workers for the jobs of the future.

The strategy is also targeting the current lack of diversity in STEM education and related careers. Women represent only 16 percent of citizens with STEM qualifications in Australia and Aboriginal people represent less than one percent of higher education students studying engineering and science.

Work towards the target is already underway, including STEM professional learning and mentoring programs to develop the teaching practice of more than 1,000 public school teachers in lower socioeconomic areas and the development of a STEM communication campaign to increase take-up of STEM studies and careers.

The Minister for Science also recently announced the awarding of $738,000 across eight projects through the Digital and Technology Skills Program to increase engagement and skill building in Western Australians under-represented in STEM. The funded projects will develop participants’ digital and technology skills such as coding, data analysis and geospatial mapping, and provide deeper knowledge of concepts such as virtual reality and artificial intelligence.

"By supporting STEM education service providers outside the formal education system, we are opening up more avenues for Western Australians to build their skills and gain employment in a STEM future," Minister Kelly said.

For more information refer to the media statement.


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Page reviewed 13 August 2019



13 August 2019