The Australian Government has announced funding of $20 million will go to a new Indigenous Girls’ STEM Academy to be delivered by CSIRO in partnership with CareerTrackers. A further $5 million will go to the Stronger Smarter Institute to support Indigenous women teaching STEM.
Over the next decade, the Indigenous Girls’ STEM Academy is expected to support 1000 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and young women to move from Year 8 through to graduate employment.
The Minister for Indigenous Affairs, Nigel Scullion, said that the Academy is a long-term investment in Australia’s young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women.
“The positive impact of education on the future success of individuals, families and communities is clear. We also know STEM skills apply in a variety of areas, opening the door to a world of opportunities and will play a critical role in the future workforce,” Minister Scullion said.
“The Indigenous Girls’ STEM Academy will nurture a passion for STEM and support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls and young women through ongoing individualised student support, mentoring, summer school programmes and work placements with industry leaders.”
CSIRO, Australia’s national science agency, in partnership with CareerTrackers, a not-for-profit organisation creating Indigenous employment pathways, has received $20 million to boost the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls in STEM over 10 years through the national Indigenous Girls’ STEM Academy.
CSIRO’s Acting Executive Director of People, Trevor Heldt said that three in every four jobs of the future would require STEM skills.
“Despite this, Australia is suffering from a chronic decline in students pursuing STEM subjects. This is particularly true for young Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women,” said Mr Heldt.
“With over 35 years of experience delivering education programs and a proven track record in engaging Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in STEM, we are looking forward to helping address an important national challenge through the establishment of the Academy.”
Under the banner of the Indigenous Girls’ STEM Academy, the Stronger Smarter Institute has also received $5 million to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women who are teachers in STEM. This initiative will deliver an evidence-based approach to improve the experiences of students, and increase workforce opportunities for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander educators.
High aspirations and quality school experiences are critical to the success of all students in STEM. By investing in girls early in their education, and strengthening the pipeline through education to employment, the government will back a generation of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander women to be the leaders, role models and game changers of the future.
“I urge corporate and philanthropic groups to get behind this initiative by investing in further academy places and employment opportunties across STEM sectors,” said Minister Scullion.
“This is a once in a lifetime opportunity, it will take all of us to be bold and do our bit so Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander girls realise their potential, dream big and achieve in the jobs we can’t even imagine yet.”
The Academy will commence in 2019 with an intensive STEM residential program, with an intake of 100 Year 8 girls per year. The program will offer an extension to the standard STEM curriculum and expose participants to cutting-edge technology.
Find out more about the Indigenous Girls’ STEM Academy