STEM initiative launched for Hunter students
An initiative to develop local students with defence industry-specific STEM skills has been launched by Lockheed Martin and the Hunter branch of Regional Development Australia (RDA).
Defence and technology service provider Lockheed Martin will initially invest $60,000 in the STEMstart initiative, which will target secondary schools, TAFE and universities to enhance the curriculum and provide training in cyber security and information and communications technology. It will see 16 students trained in the field.
Lockheed Martin are delivering the RAAF’s new F-35 fighter jets, and have projected that an extra 200 jobs will need to be filled by 2020 in order to support the aircraft.
The first two arrived at Williamtown last week.
“Defence projects such as the F-35 deliver significant economic impact in the Hunter, bringing next-generation technology and related new, high-value, skilled jobs,” RDA Hunter Chairman John Turner said.
“We look forward to sharing our knowledge and expertise with Lockheed Martin Australia and connecting them with the region’s wider defence industry, education and government to help build the workforce they need.”
The announcement was made at an expo held at Fighter World, Williamtown, which featured interactive displays such as flight simulators and virtual reality technology.
Careers Advisor for All Saints College, Maitland Lyn McKendry said interest in STEM-based careers was growing amongst her students.
“The career path is changing, there’s better flexibility and moving around,” she said.
“Because they’re such digitally-based students they can get their hands on this virtual reality stuff [at expos] and they love it.
“A lot of them come back and say, ‘Wow, I didn’t know you could do that’ or ‘I didn’t know that was a career path’.”