All about innovation
Held at Commonwealth Bank Plaza in Sydney on 6 March and in its third year, the Expo brought together students, teachers, grads and tech partners. More than 300 female high school students in years 9 – 12 took part to learn more about upcoming and growing career options. “The Girls in Tech Expo is designed to help high schools students better understand the careers and opportunities available in Innovation and Technology’, says Paula Nolan, Executive Manager of Partnerships and Community at Commonwealth Bank.
“Through presentations, an interactive expo and workshops the students discover the myriad of skills that go into making up the STEM careers. We then showcase the various careers these skills lead to and the Industries that need all these great job roles,” says Paula.
STEM on display and real-world careers
The Expo was full of state-of-the-art tech, with a focus on engineering, design, robotics, artificial intelligence, cybersecurity and big data/analytics.
This year, there were representatives from the medical tech, data, computing and e-commerce sectors, with Cochlear, SAS, Microsoft and The Iconic on board to share exactly what skills you need to work across different industries. ”We collaborate with the business sector to showcase real life jobs in actual companies and what a ‘day in the life’ of an engineer or data scientist for example might look like,” says Paula.
Keynote speakers included CBA Senior Manager and behavioural scientist Juliette Tobias-Webb and the Iconic’s Chief Tech Officer, Zhoe Ghani. A team of female software engineers, data scientists and iOs engineers from The Iconic revealed the day-to-day lives of tech experts and coders, and graduates at Microsoft and CBA also shared their career paths.
Students also had the opportunity to take part in workshops run by NIDA, the National Institute of Dramatic Arts, to boost their presentation skills.
Students visiting the “Learning pathways” stand got even more tips on how to choose the right tech career for them. The stand included reps from virtual work experience provider InsideSherpa, apprenticeship network MEGT, Microsoft, CBA and Careers with STEM’s publisher, Refraction Media.
“Studying STEM doesn’t mean you’re destined for a career as a scientist or mathematician.” says Refraction Media CEO Karen Taylor-Brown. “STEM students find jobs across all industries, thanks to a little equation we call STEM + X. There are STEM possibilities in just about any job.”
Students were invited to complete the “What’s your STEM + X?” quiz at the Careers with STEM stand to discover the possibilities of a career which links a STEM foundation to their passions or goals, whether that’s building healthy communities, creating social change, starting a business or exploring their creativity.
Inspiring the next tech generation
One of the aims of the event was to support young people to help them develop the crucial skills for their future careers. “Our end goal is that the students have expanded their knowledge of skills and career options, believe in themselves and come away saying ‘I can do that’, or ‘I want to do that’, knowing that any of these careers are in reach for them,” explains Paula.
Careers with STEM created a booklet of Inspirational Women in Tech for the Expo, which is available free to download. There’s also a huge collection of Women in STEM profiles online – check them out here.
Author: Larissa Fedunik-Hofman
Larissa is the editorial assistant for Careers with STEM and a Chemistry PhD student. Larissa’s goal is to promote public engagement with STEM through inspiring stories.