Primary school STEM program tackles skills shortages of the future
Published Wednesday, 09 March, 2022 at 04:28 PM
Minister for Education, Minister for Industrial Relations and Minister for Racing
The Honourable Grace Grace
Minister for Regional Development and Manufacturing and Minister for Water
The Honourable Glenn Butcher
A pioneering STEM program, which aims to provide educators the tools and knowledge to teach specialist design and technology skills, is being delivered in some Queensland primary schools, thanks to a collaboration between the State Government and an educational technology company.
The partnership between the Department of Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water, the Department of Education, Queensland Manufacturing Institute and Makers Empire is providing the world-leading STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) program.
Teachers will learn how to use innovative methods and practices to teach 3D modelling, design thinking and design technologies in integrated ways across the curriculum.
Minister for Regional Development, Manufacturing and Water Glenn Butcher said tapping into the future of the multi-billion-dollar manufacturing industry, by giving educators the skills and the tools to inspire children to study in these areas, is the best way forward.
“We need to inspire kids, we need to foster their curiosity and encourage them to think about studying these fields now.
“It’s never too early to start introducing career options to the next generation of problem solvers,” he said.
Education Minister Grace Grace said that, through Schools of the future: A strategy for STEM in Queensland state schools, the Queensland Government was committed to encouraging more students to engage in STEM, to prepare them for the jobs of the future.
“Our strategy to strengthen STEM education in Queensland includes building teacher capability; lifting student achievement; and increasing student participation,” Ms Grace said.
“This program equips educators with the tools, knowledge and support they need to empower our students with the core capabilities required for our Advanced Manufacturing Industry.”
Queensland Manufacturing Institute Executive Director Shay Chalmers said – like many industries – filling roles is becoming a critical problem.
“Manufacturing is suffering one of the highest rates of skills shortages in the labour market and increasing our pipeline of future STEM workers is critical for our industry’s success,” she said.
“While most people see manufacturing as an ‘industry’, it is really is a series of capabilities. The building blocks of these capabilities begin when our children are in school, which is why this program is so important.”
The Makers Empire program is being rolled out in a number of south-west regional schools in Term 1 and 2 this year, after being successfully delivered at several Gold Coast schools in late 2021.
Minister Butcher said Queensland’s manufacturing industry was becoming more advanced through the introduction of industry 4.0 technology, improved business process and practices and developing and training the workforce of the future.
“The Queensland Government is committed to ensuring that a pipeline of future workers are exposed very early to the technology-rich career opportunities and critical thinking and problem solving skills requirements needed to work in the advanced state,” Mr Butcher said.
Makers Empire co-founder Lap Leung thanked the Queensland Government for supporting the introduction of the program.
“This program is an excellent example of the way education departments and industry partners can help to develop a world-class program to help build skills capacity in primary school teachers and in interest in a future career in STEM and advanced manufacturing in young students.”
Minister Butcher – Emilia Hutchinson – 0437 060 435
Makers Empire – Christina Soong – 0409 159 074