By:  STEM Contributor
April 19th, 2018

The National Youth Science Forum: Helping to plan a future in STEM

Heading into Year 12 young people often feel overwhelmed, confused and ill-informed when it comes to making decisions about their future study and career options.

In the science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) arena this is exacerbated further by the huge variety of different occupations in these fields, the fact that many are generally not the “traditional” or “safe” occupations touted by parents, teachers and career advisors, and the increasingly conflicting messages about future job options.

The NYSF

Botany & Pond dipping, Australian National Botanic Gardens

The National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) Year 12 Program is designed to overcome some of these issues and give participants a broader understanding of the diverse study and career choices available in the STEM fields, and to encourage them to continue their studies in these fields.

Year 12 Student, Kingsley Rosman from Aberfoyle Park South Australia participated in the program in January.

“The NYSF is an amazing program that brings together hundreds of grade 12 students with a passion for science. It gives those lucky enough to attend an opportunity to see state-of-the-art laboratories, get their hands dirty with fun workshops, hear inspiring talks from world-class scientists, and meet others with a scientific interest from around the country and the globe,” he said.

“The program really confirmed what I had already wanted to do, however it was different for everyone. Some of my peers completely changed their career path after attending, however for me it simply opened up more pathways to achieve my goals.”

Outreach initiatives

The NYSF is a national not-for-profit organisation that offers a suite of STEM outreach programs including the flagship Year 12 Program. Operating for over 35 years, the NYSF has seen more than 11,500 young people participate in the two week immersive program.  

Every January, students are selected with the assistance of Rotary Australia from all over the country with 41% of students from remote and regional areas attending the program in 2018.

In 2018 nearly 600 participants participated, two sessions of 200 each in Canberra at the Australian National University (ANU), and for the first time a third session of nearly 200 young people at the University of Queensland (UQ) in Brisbane.


What to expect

Over the 12 days participants get to:

> > Live on campus to get a taste of university life;

> > Attend industry and facility site tours to gain an insight into what it’s like to work in the real world;

> > Visit some of Australia’s cutting-edge science and technology labs at Australia’s leading universities;

> > Hear from some of Australia’s leading scientists at lectures and workshops;

> > Take part in group activities that improve communication and presentation skills; and

> > Socialise and practice networking and communication skills at a social events, including a gala dinner and Rotary and Alumni Evening. The development of social skills is an integral part of the NYSF experience.


NYSF Chief Executive Officer, Dr Damien Pearce, says the NYSF allows students to be more informed when making decisions about their future career and study direction.

“With over 75 lab visits per session this year, multiple lectures and workshops, there is no doubt participants left the program more informed about their future prospects in the STEM fields.”

“Time and time again we hear from students who have completely changed their career and study trajectory after attending the program, discovering courses and careers they had not known about before.” Damien said.

“For others, attending the Year 12 program confirms and consolidates the choices that they have already made, and gives them valuable tools to assist them into the future.”

Program begins January 2019

The NYSF Year 12 Program will run three sessions in January 2019.  Session A and C in Canberra, hosted at The Australian National University (ANU); Session B, held in Brisbane, is hosted at the University of Queensland.

To apply for the NYSF Year 12 Program students must be in year 11 in the year they apply, to attend in the following January. Applications are open from 1 March to 31 May each year.

Want to know more? Go to the NYSF website www.nysf.edu.au

“Some of my peers completely changed their career path after attending, however for me it simply opened up more pathways to achieve my goals.”

– Kingsley Rosman

Want to know more? Go to the NYSF website www.nysf.edu.au

STEM Contributor

Author: STEM Contributor

This article was written by a STEM Contributor for Careers with STEM. To learn more, please visit our contact page.

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