On October 11, Careers with STEM hosted our Careers Advice Mentoring Day at CBA in Sydney. In store for students and teachers were forewords from Secretary of NSW Department of Education, Mark Scott and Sally-Ann Williams, Google’s Engineering Community & Outreach Program Manager. Following the forewords, we had a panel of STEM influencers including speakers from Google, Commbank, Cuberider, Thales and more. Students were engaged with personal testimonies about the future of work in Australia, why marks don’t matter and gender equality in STEM education.
Secretary for the NSW Department of Education, Mark Scott opened with his experiences in the changing job landscape in Australia, “I’ve been in my job now for a year, and before that I ran the ABC. It’s interesting coming from an area very much involved in technology and viewing the change technology has had on media.”
“It’s always been true that the future will be different but I don’t think in our lifetimes, or many lifetimes before us, there’s been a sense of the dramatic rate of change that we’re going to experience now.”
Speaking to STEM’s gender imbalance, Mark offered a possible solution that comes by changing the perception of STEM for young girls in primary school. He claims that research shows us that girls and boys can be identical in subjects and marks, but the boys will have a higher self evaluation than the girls, seeing an eventual migration of girls away from STEM subjects. How do we affect this?
“There are some really interesting questions about preparing people for STEM that goes all the way back to primary school and the messages we’re sending in schools, the messages society is sending and the messages families are sending.” says Scott. Essentially we need to create positive role models and messages that permeate our schools, our societies and our families that women should and need to be involved in STEM.
Sally-Ann Williams, Google’s Engineering Community & Outreach Program Manager, focused on dissipating the fear of uncertainty in today’s job market. “I’m someone that likes to take a challenge and reframe it.” Williams announced to a crowd of fresh faces. Williams then had students, teachers and adults alike raise their hands if they were uncertain about what they want to do in their career. Hands across the room sprung up. “It’s absolutely ok. You can turn around and reframe it as a challenge. Ask yourself, how can I position myself to be ready, excited and at the forefront of things that I don’t know are coming?”
“There is so much talk about automation, robotics and artificial intelligence and jobs not going to be there, but jobs will be created. I can’t tell you what they are because they don’t exist yet.”
“11 years ago if I said you’d have a job as an iOS developer, you’d give me a blank stare because iPhones and Androids did not exist. It’s something to be excited and enthusiastic about.” says Williams.
Williams also preached the message of ‘CS + X’, the concept of blending computer science and your passion to craft your very own career niche. “CS + X is the future. The X is what you care about, it’s the problems you’re going to inherit, the challenges and opportunities, it’s fashion, it’s art, it’s music. When you blend that with technology, that’s where the opportunity lies.”
Take a look through our photo gallery for a round-up of the day’s activities.
– Eliza Brockwell
Liked this article? Read about Commbank and UNSW’s Maker Games winners with their app, ‘Find Your Future’.
Author: Eliza Brockwell
Eliza is passionate about creating content that encourages diversity of representation in STEM.