STEMstart stars graduate with cyber in their sight
On June 28 eight TAFE NSW Glendale students celebrated their final day of the inaugural STEMstart pre-employment program with a trip to the RAAF Base at Williamtown.
STEMstart is an initiative formed via a collaboration between TAFE NSW, Regional Development Australia (RDA) Hunter and global defence and technology company Lockheed Martin Australia. The goal is to ensure students emerge as highly-skilled, high-value workers ready for defence technologies roles.
Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related occupations have a 1.6 times higher growth rate than non-STEM jobs in Australia, and in the last five years STEM employment has grown by 16.5 per cent*. Now the students have completed the program, all will embark on a Certificate III in Information, Digital Media and Technology and eventually a Certificate IV in Information Technology Networking.
Eleebana teenager Harry Nikic said he chose the program because of the prospective job opportunities. “I wasn’t enjoying the high school learning environment and my careers advisor suggested I try STEMstart. At the time I’d started buying and selling electronics online and I knew information technology was a great field to get into. It’s interesting and there’s a big demand for IT workers in today’s workforce,” Harry said. “The employment potential involved in this played a big part in me leaving school and enrolling in the program. I did quite a bit of research into Lockheed Martin Australia, saw the organisation employs 100,000 people worldwide and more than 1,200 people in Australia, and thought the course would also be a great opportunity because there may be a job with them at the end of it. “Now I’m really excited about where the future will take me. Ideally, I’d like to get a job with Lockheed Martin Australia. Either way, I’d like a job that offers a good income and the possibility of travel. I’m thinking cyber security could be a great avenue because of the high demand for workers and lack of qualified professionals.”
TAFE NSW Head Teacher, Technology, Glendon Pryor said, “It was fantastic to see students’ enthusiasm grow throughout the course as they uncovered their potential to move forward into an IT career. They really got stuck into it. I am looking forward to following their progress as they continue their study journey with us. We are hoping this will be the first of many TAFE NSW, RDA Hunter and Lockheed Martin Australia collaborations.”
Interim Chief Executive for Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand, Scott Thompson, said this initiative is part of the company’s commitment to investing in genuine opportunities for Australians in regional centres. “As home to Australia’s first fifth generation F-35 fighters and Australia’s largest regional economy, we understand the importance of the Hunter to our nations wider economic and national security interests. This partnership with TAFE NSW and RDA Hunter is just one way we are working to raise the technology base in the region and develop the high-value, job-ready skills needed to create, and sustain, advanced technologies for defence.”
RDA Hunter’s STEM Workforce Manager, Rick Evans said, “RDA Hunter is very pleased to be working with Lockheed Martin Australia and TAFE NSW to help develop the industry-skilled, homegrown Hunter workforce it needs for the future. STEMstart is an important element of our multi-faceted partnership. It is an innovative program that provides TAFE NSW students with technical and work-readiness skills which we contextualise with on-the-job experiences at LMA’s Hunter sites.”
The intense, month-long STEMstart pre-employment program provides significant prospects to students via a STEM-focused curriculum that enhances their vocational pathway for technical training. The content is focused on building their understanding of, and critical skills in, areas including cyber security, ICT and programming.
Australia’s largest training provider, TAFE NSW offers over 1200 courses, from certificates to degrees. Many can be studied online via TAFE Digital, when and where it suits students. Visit www.tafensw.com.au or call 131 601.