Westpac recently announced a bold commitment to STEM that unites a number of existing and new programs that amplify its commitment to help build a STEM-confident nation. Senior Manager Sue Doherty reveals some of the challenges in pulling together an organisation-wide commitment. Having a targeted approach and a suite of different opportunities to support people from all walks of life, in particular youth and women, is very much part of the strategy.
For those of us working in the banking and finance sector, we are acutely aware that statistics tell us that we are in a science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills drought, despite an estimated 75% of new Australian jobs requiring these important skills.
As we enter our third century, I am really passionate about improving and innovating education and being part of the digital revolution solution. I’m an advocate for wanting to change the dialogue around subject and career choice for the next generation.
We need to stop referring to maths and the sciences as the ‘hard subjects’ and instead emphasise the skills they support like innovation, creativity, problem solving and communication.
STEM skills are essential for anyone wishing to safeguard their career and succeed in the digital revolution and beyond.
STEM skills are therefore no longer an optional extra.
This knowledge is what drove me to launch an industry first document that collates Westpac’s aspirations, contribution and investment in growing Australia’s workforce.
The Westpac STEM Commitment provides a compelling narrative around Westpac’s STEM work to date.
It showcases the existing and new initiatives underway that further supports its belief in the critical importance of building a STEM-confident nation for the benefit of all.
The STEM Commitment captures over 20 well established initiatives run by the bank, including the Westpac Scholarship Program, Westpac PhD STEM program and partnerships with Vogue Codes, Mathspace and Code Camp.
Westpac’s STEM journey
We embarked on this important project last year with the initial thought that it would take two months! In reality it turned into a 12-month project after which we were thrilled to publish our STEM Commitment in conjunction with the launch of our Westpac STEM Girls Work Experience Program, encouraging up to 100 female high school students to gain valuable STEM experience, and in line with our annual Vogue Codes Summit.
Like most big organisations, Westpac is complex with many different divisions having responsibility over different programs and initiatives detailed in the STEM Commitment.
Identifying the right stakeholders and articulating a clear purpose of what we wanted to achieve was the first real challenge.
Getting support from our executive sponsor Chief Information Officer, Dave Curran, and STEM champion, General Manger, Business Technology Integration, Ana Cammaroto, was critical – their support turned a passion project into something we are today really proud of.
We worked closely with a consulting firm STEM Matters who helped us craft the narrative, define our focus areas and identify case studies to amplify the programs and impact we wanted to make.
We also sought advice and guidance from other key stakeholders including the CSIRO and the Office of Australia’s Chief Scientist, all incredibly helpful in the test and challenge phase of the project.
Westpac consumes STEM skills not just in technology but across the entire bank.
We are passionate about helping and working with our customers and communities, the education sector, government, parents, teachers and students to help them understand why STEM skills are so important.
We believe that Westpac along with the rest of corporate Australia can be really influential in helping to unpack what the skills and careers of the future are going to be and we want to encourage other organisations to get behind this important movement.
Read about Westpac’s STEM Commitment.
Applications for the Westpac Group Technology Summer Internship Program are now open. The internship is a 10-week placement from 26 November 2018 – 1 February 2019 held in Westpac’s Sydney offices.
If you are graduating in 2018 or 2019 then this is the opportunity for you!
The aim of the internship is to provide you with practical, paid work experience in one of Australia’s largest technology teams – Group Technology at Westpac.
With a team of over 9,500 people working in some amazing areas like Cyber Security, Internet Banking, Mobile Application Development, Infrastructure & Operations or Business Consulting, you will get to spend time in a team working on some of the most sophisticated and cutting edge technologies in order to give you a better understanding of how technology plays an integral role in everything we do at Westpac.
Submit your application directly through the Westpac Graduate Programs team. Applications close on Friday 10 August 2018.
Sue Doherty is the STEM Strategy Senior Manager at Westpac, responsible for developing and implementing initiatives focused on optimising the Westpac Technology workforce.