STEM program sets Aussie students on path of discovery

STEM program sets Aussie students on path of discovery

Secondary school students in Newcastle, about 2 hours north of Sydney, have embarked on a discovery of science and technology through an innovative new learning and mentoring program.

The GFG Foundation program is partnering with CSIRO, that’s the Commonwealth Scientific and Industrial Research Organisation, an Australian Government agency responsible for scientific research, and Prince’s Trust Australia to create additional learning opportunities for Australian students. The program involves weekly sessions facilitated by CSIRO Education and Outreach staff and supported by mentors from the GFG Foundation and InfraBuild – part of the GFG Alliance.

InfraBuild is Australia’s leading vertically integrated steel recycling, manufacturing, and distribution business, providing sustainable steel and steel products for commercial and residential construction, large scale and nation-building infrastructure, primary producers and rural sectors.

Our Foundation focuses on programs that support people, particularly young people, to reach their potential and strengthen industries and local communities by boosting skills and employment prospects. Along the way, our people are involved through mentoring programs and transfer their skills, knowledge and experience to the next generation.

The 20-week program will immerse Year 9 and 10 students from four schools in the world of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) – working with industry mentors to develop STEM-based projects that will benefit their local community, from the CSIRO’s Energy Centre.

With hands-on activities, industry excursions, STEM projects and the opportunity to meet industry professionals, the program will support the development of STEM-related enterprise skills and help students explore career pathways.

The program, which has been successfully running for two years at the Whyalla Steelworks in South Australia, will include elements of the Prince’s Trust Achieve Program, which supports students develop communication and presentation skills, and helps build self-confidence and self-esteem. Mentors from different parts of the InfraBuild business in Newcastle also participate in the program, sharing their own life experiences. It will culminate with a showcase and celebration event when students receive recognition of their participation with a certificate and Bronze CREST Award for the successful completion of an inquiry project.

GFG Foundation Director and Regional President, Dak Patel, said the program provided students with an opportunity to learn more about industry. “We believe it is critical for young people to learn about the industries operating in their community and foster their ideas,” he said. “We’re excited to continue our partnership with well-respected and experienced organisations like CSIRO and Prince’s Trust who will be able to share their unique insights with the innovators of tomorrow.”

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