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These 5 key areas will unlock Australia’s tech potential

A new report highlights maths, digital skills, farming tech, engineering and entrepreneurship as key to Australia’s ability to unlock its full “technological potential” into the future.

The future is digital – and Australia can either be part of the revolution, or risk falling behind.

So how do we ensure we unlock our full potential?

According to a new education report from ATSE (the Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering), there are five key areas that could make or break our future potential:

  1. Maths education: Improving the quality of and access to mathematics education in rural, regional and remote Australia.
  2. Digital skills: The demand for digital skills is growing all the time, so Australia needs to ensure its workforce is up to the task.
  3. High-tech agriculture: Australia’s agricultural sector is a crucial part of our economy, and it is on the cusp of a big technological transformation. So we’ll need lots more tech-skilled workers in the ag sector.
  4. Engineers: The people behind the ‘E’ in STEM build and maintain our critical infrastructure and assets, but we currently don’t have enough of them. Whether through immigration or new graduates, Australia needs to address this skills shortage, and stat.
  5. Entrepreneurship: It’s one thing to develop skills and knowledge in STEM subjects – another to know how to turn that into successful commercial inventions and businesses. We need our STEM classes to cover entrepreneurial skills.

What do they recommend?

The ATSE report offers lots of recommendations for how we can use our educational institutions to address these five areas, and ensure Australia goes into the future with a technological edge on the global stage.

The four overarching recommendations in the report include:

  1. Find a common language to streamline how we talk about the challenges and solutions among organisations and individuals;
  2. Invest in evidence-based approaches to STEM programs to ensure effectiveness and value for money;
  3. Promote a culture of lifelong learning, to ensure the workforce stays up to date with the STEM skills needed into the future;
  4. Raise the profile of STEM careers in Australia to showcase their attractiveness and accessibility.

Some other specific recommendations included:

  • Offer VET courses to upskill teachers, especially in remote and regional areas;
  • Deliver more culturally appropriate education for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities;
  • Provide opportunities and pathways for farmers to upskill and stay up to date with tech trends;
  • Improve conditions in the engineering sector to attract more women and people from diverse linguistic and cultural backgrounds;
  • Map entrepreneurial skills (like creativity, resilience and communication) into the STEM curriculum.

ATSE is a non-government, not-for-profit organisation made up of experts in science, technology and engineering, with the goal of helping Australia and Australians use and understand technology to solve complex problems.

The report was a result of several national roundtables held between experts, industry and government. The full report is available to read online here.

More from the Careers with STEM Teacher’s blog:

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