Funding to boost STEM opportunities for women

Thursday, 11 March, 2021

Funding to boost STEM opportunities for women

More Australian women will be encouraged to study science, technology, engineering and maths while they’re working, as part of an expansion of the $24.8 million Women in STEM Cadetships and Advanced Apprenticeships Program.

As the only South Australian university involved in the program, Flinders University has received funding to upskill 120 women as part of the Diploma of Digital Technologies over the next four years. The first cohort of 27 women have commenced the Diploma at the College of Science and Engineering, including teachers from schools in north, south, east, west and regional SA.

Professor Giselle Rampersad said this will directly increase the number of women in STEM with a multiplier effect, as the teachers in this program will hopefully inspire their students into studying engineering.

“We are excited to upskill teachers and industry women in STEM at Flinders University as part of the Diploma of Digital Technologies in collaboration with BAE Systems Australia, the Australian Technology Partnership and the federal and state governments, to grow the pipeline of women in STEM and inspire the next generation,” said Professor Rampersad.

Professor Rampersad added that women are currently under-represented in engineering and defence, noting that the program will be a significant boost to both areas. Professor Rampersad said statistics for women in engineering are at a level of 16% at peak, while women are also under-represented in defence, at 14%. These new placements will therefore help ensure progress.

Federal Minister for Education and Youth Alan Tudge said the Women in STEM Cadetships and Advanced Apprenticeships Program has proven so popular that the number of places has been increased from 500 to 600 nationally. Minister Tudge said the program will upskill Australian women by allowing them to combine work and study to get a qualification in STEM.

“We want and need more women in STEM, and increasing the number of places available in this program will help us move towards that goal. Getting qualifications in these critical areas will give participants important skills that can help them get ahead in their current role and put them ahead of the pack when looking for future jobs,” said Minister Tudge.

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