Three regional schools are the latest to benefit from STEM industry school partnership program

Illawarra schools are the latest in NSW to start prepping their students for jobs that don't exist yet. Image: Shutterstock

Three schools in the Illawarra region of NSW will now have their own academy of STEM excellence under the NSW Department of Education’s STEM Industry School Partnerships (SISP) Program designed to ready young people for the future of work.

The Illawarra region has long been an industrial economy powerhouse, and this week schools in the area can add an Academy of STEM Excellence to their list of credentials.

Three local hub high schools – Corrimal, Warrawong and Lake Illawarra High – have become the latest regional facilities to offer students new opportunities for STEM learning under the NSW Department of Education’s STEM Industry School Partnerships (SISP) Program.

The newly appointed STEM Project Officer for the Illawarra Academy, Andrew Laidler, will work with Principals and stakeholders to introduce the future-focused initiative to the region.

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“The success of the SISP program has been something we in the Illawarra have watched over the past two years, and I’m happy that our teachers are on-board to drive the same opportunities through our own Academies for students in our school catchments,” Mr Laidler said.

“STEM, through the SISP program state-wide and through the Academies within targeted regions, has been about linking learners with exciting projects that connect their minds to the real-life possibilities.

“Illawarra students have some of the same challenges in accessing innovation and industry-connected resources as fellow regional students. We are keen to start unpacking those challenges to create new opportunities for our students and their future,” he said.

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Future-focused and industry-relevant

The Illawarra Academy of STEM Excellence will make immediate headway in its mission to link STEM learning with in-demand industries, ensuring that there’ll be a big emphasis on Advanced Manufacturing – a huge employment opportunity in the area.

Local steelmaker BlueScope will play a lead role in the delivery of industry-focused school STEM projects, alongside the University of Wollongong and the NSW Government through the Regional Industry Education Partnerships program.

“BlueScope is really proud to be the inaugural Industry Partner for the SISP Program in the Illawarra and we believe we can play a strong role in both attracting and contributing to the development of local students considering furthering their studies in Science, Technology Engineering and Maths (STEM),” said BlueScope’s Manager of Corporate Affairs, Michael Reay.

“It is extremely pleasing to be able to support local students from our community of schools. We see a great opportunity to leverage our Port Kembla Steelworks, Australia’s largest manufacturing plant, by providing students with practical and real-world insights into the application of their classroom learning and experiences.”

Illawarra is the SISP program’s eighth regional area to be established since the initiative kicked off in 2017.

Keen to know more about prepping for the future of work? Head here for 15 jobs that don’t exist… yet.

Cassie Steel

Author: Cassie Steel

As Refraction’s digital editor, Cassie Steel spends her days researching robots and stalking famous scientists on Twitter.

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