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Innovation and entrepreneurship STEM skills key to future jobs

Innovation and entreprenurship STEM skills

Innovation and entrepreneurship STEM skills are essential parts of the next gen of careers, year 11/12 students heard at the QUT’s Future You Summit this week.

It comes on the back of the government’s announcement this week of HECS-style loans for student start-ups to begin next year. The idea is to boost innovation and entrepreneurship STEM skills for final year graduates and postgraduates.

“An entrepreneurial mindset is really important,” said Rowena Barrett, Pro-Vice Chancellor (Entrepreneurship) QUT.

“It allows you to connect random ideas and build things of value to others, whether that’s a business or solving a problem.”

The four-day Future You STEM festival gave students already nailing their STEM subjects a chance to build on their real-world tech skills at QUT’s Garden Point campus in Brisbane.

READ MORE: Hundreds of high-achieving STEM students head to QUT

Catherine Ball is scientific futurist and author of Converge, a futurist’s insights into the potential of our world as technology and humanity collide.

She spoke of the importance of major moonshot goals for STEM in Australia. One example is Seabed 2030, a plan to map the entire ocean floor.

Dr Catherine Ball

Ball then spoke of how she started her career journey from a home base in midlands UK. She said taking a gap year was a big part of getting a start in her career.

“I’m a big proponent of the STEM MBA (Master of Business),” emphasised Ball. She said get involved straight away: “Get LinkedIn profiles going, get involved in SomethingX, get informed about the STEM startup year.”

“Network, network, network!” said Bell, a systems engineer. Her latest book had landed with Elon Musk thanks to these connections, she said.

Rowena said there were scholarships available for STEM students starting in STEM at QUT.

Hundreds of high-achieving Year 11 and 12 students from across Queensland attended QUT’s Future You STEM Summit this week.

Industry connections start now

Industry opportunities start immediately for STEM students, said Sally Stannard, Deputy Director General (TransLink) – Department of Transport and Main Roads, a civil engineer by background.

“We’ve got a lot of optimisation to do in our network and we need a lot of bright people with maths skills.

“Our train network will soon be controlled by a computer. Cyber security is going to be hugely important. This is an area right around Australia that is desperate for skills in digital, optimisation and construction,” she said.

Think about the skills you can collect now so that you’ll be in demand in the future.

“There’s a huge digital disruption coming,” said Alex Ma from BHP. He then spoke of the role of AI in future careers. “When I did my mechatronics degree, the jobs I’ve worked on since didn’t exist. Think about the skills you can collect now so that you’ll be in demand in the future.”

READ MORE: Interested in mechatronics? Check out our Robots & AI hub

Kitty Spinda, Architecture Practice Manager (Project Manager), Security Strategy and Architecture from SunCorp spoke of the huge opportunities in cyber security, on the back of massive data breaches that were a growing issue for business. “It doesn’t need to be a hardcore terrorist, you can infect yourself with a USB stick, text message or email.

“There’s a lot of deep tech, but people are important, too. Cyber security has a whole spectrum of roles out there, we need business analysts, educators, project managers…people are our number 1 line of defence.”

“We need more graduates and you will always have job security in cyber security,” she said.

READ MORE: Meet people working in cyber security

“Everything seems like a big leap. But it’s just about taking a small step,” said current medical engineering student at QUT, Rob Joseph from Anti-Ordinary, who invented a ski helmet that looks and feels like a beanie and is the safest helmet in the world.

Rob Joseph, inventor of the safet beanie, said innovation and entrepreneurship STEM skills created his business. He made a beanie that acts as a safety helmet for skiers and snowboarders.

“If you are interested in STEM, you’re interested in entrepreneurship,” he said.

Want more?

Weren’t able to secure a place in this year’s Future You Summit? There are still loads of ways you can get skilled up and inspired from the couch!

  • Meet real-life QUT STEM grads and read about their inspiring study and career paths in our Role Models Hub
  • Get a complete introduction to individual STEM careers via our Job Kits
  • Hear from female QUT students, grads and lecturers about how they use their STEM mindsets to smash the glass ceiling in a live, pre-recorded webinar
  • Learn the secret formula to getting that great-paying, in-demand and stellar career that you’ll actually love with the QUT STEM + X Guide


Whatever you’re into, chances are there’s a STEM pathway at QUT – where you’ll build real-world experience while skilling-up in the latest cutting-edge tech. 

Choose from more than 100 real-world courses and turn your passion into a seriously rewarding next-gen career. 

This article is brought to you in partnership with QUT.

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