STEM program prepares students for the future

Thursday, 22 September, 2022

STEM program prepares students for the future

A Queensland Government initiative that aims to address future skills shortages in critical manufacturing jobs is benefitting students in Toowoomba and the Darling Downs.

Additive Manufacturing and STEM 3D Printing Primary Schools Project is a collaboration between the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water, the Department of Education, the Queensland Manufacturing Institute and innovative educational technology company Makers Empire.

Queensland Minister for Manufacturing Glenn Butcher said the program, which is being rolled out in seven South West Queensland primary schools, will be critical to the continued success of Queensland’s booming manufacturing industry.

“Jobs shortages are top of mind for a lot of Queenslanders at the moment and we know a lot of these journeys start with education,” Butcher said.

“Finding creative ways to teach STEM to children will ensure we capture the next generation of problem solvers and will prevent a skills shortage that could affect important industries such as manufacturing.

“In order to cement our position as a world leader in advanced manufacturing — creating good jobs and better services — Queensland needs to nurture the next generation now.”

As part of the program, teachers in the participating schools completed an industry site tour at Wagner Composite Fibre Technologies, a world-class manufacturing facility based in Toowoomba.

More recently, teachers and students participated in an ‘expo-style’ problem-solving day. Activities included presentations about exciting developments and pathways in the Queensland manufacturing sector.

Minister for Education Grace Grace said the project aims to give teachers professional development opportunities, essential to helping them deliver the critical STEM subjects.

“On top of that, this project will also help students engage in that STEM curriculum and develop design-led thinking and problem-solving skills,” she said.

Makers Empire co-founder Lap Leung said: “The Queensland Government and Queensland manufacturing industry are leading the way in partnered collaborations — this program involves two government departments, industry, and state and private schools working together to address future skills shortages in advanced manufacturing.

“More and more Queensland students will now have developed STEM, design thinking and problem-solving skills and potentially also have developed an interest in a career in Queensland advanced manufacturing, thanks to this program.”

Queensland Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Shay Chalmers congratulated the participating schools.

“With a combination of amazing teachers and industry-supported STEM education programs thriving in the region already, being able to supplement this with the Makers Empire program is going to take STEM education to the next level.”

Image credit: Suslov

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