2019 showed us exactly how important STEM – the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths – is and will continue to be for the foreseeable future. Since 2001, researchers, journalists, politicians and educators have been reminding us about how essential these fields will be for our country and for the world that we know. STEM has been growing by leaps and bounds and gaining a strong foothold in almost every industry around today. There is no more separating STEM from Art, STEM from languages or STEM from culture. STEM is everywhere and we need to empower our future generations in order to cope with the fact that it is not going anywhere.
Predictions for the future
CSIRO’s report in 2016 identified some of the trends for STEM industries. They reported that automation and artificial intelligence will continue to advance, jobs will become less rigid due to an increase in technology, entrepreneurial skills will be more prevalent and that education requirements in professionals would increase. The CEO of the Australian Computer Society, Andrew Johnson, predicted that the number of devices connected to the Internet of Things could sky-rocket from 15 billion in 2016 to 200 billion this year, thereby increasing the opportunities for every industry that is connected. However, for industries to take advantage of these opportunities, their workforce must be trained and ready. Johnson also predicted that we will be facing an international STEM skill shortage.
Therefore, we need to get our children ready. Education systems have been racing to keep up with the times, now even offering Cloud Computing, 3D printing and Artificial Reality as programs to school children. Technical knowledge is only one part of the package. Schools also need to equip children with soft skills.
The days of memorising and rote learning have been replaced with a holistic education, hands-on activities and learning through trial and error. There have also been higher importance placed on lifelong learning. Studying doesn’t stop once we walk out of our school doors. Learning has to be continued, and upgrading must become a norm.
As a result, children need to be inspired to grow and to strive to heights higher than we could have imagined in the generations before them. We know that we cannot prepare them sufficiently for what there is to come because we have no idea what to expect.
With all the uncertainty that revolves around our future, STEMmates aims to provide vital support and opportunity for STEM education. Our courses are designed to engage young kids to get passionate and excited about the fundamentals of STEM subjects outside the classroom.
Complex theories are taught by challenging – as well as facilitating and guiding – kids to think critically and creatively in order to find solutions to problems, rather than giving them a textbook and spoon-feeding them information.
Talk to STEMmates today about how we cultivate curiosity, imagination and passion for STEM through activity-based, hands-on interactive workshops.
Girl Up was founded by the United Nations in 2010 and since then has been working through projects around the world to achieve gender equality. They have created various ways in which people internationally can come together and defend the rights of females. Some of their programs include advocacy, fundraising, leadership and STEAM and STEM workshops. STEM – the study of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics – and STEAM are almost identical in their pursuit, though the latter includes the Arts as well. The Girl Up movement hopes to encourage girls into careers in the technology industries.
Girl Up in Australia
The global movement had its first Australian summit in September 2019 in Sydney at The Women’s College. Ashleigh De Silva, Girl Up’s first regional leader, stated that the movement started in Sydney in 2018 and currently holds over 300 members. With an interview with CIO magazine, De Silva stated, “Girl Up is really passionate about getting girls into STEM because that’s something that’s been very male dominated for a very long time. So it’s great to get girls into that industry – it starts from the grassroots when girls are still in school and it’s important to foster that interest.”
Event speaker, Eliza Dawes, head of marketing for GitHub APAC, challenged summit attendees by asking, “So why choose something like STEM? If you want to change gender equality or fight climate change, STEM gives you the skills where you can actually do something about it. Without science or the ability to look at the data and collaborate with your colleagues, it’s difficult to really make an active change. There are lots of ways to do it, but STEM gives you the ability to create change in the world and solve problems.”
Australian girls in STEM
Australia’s STEM population is greatly made up of males. Women comprised only 17% of the qualified STEM population in 2016 and made up only 31% of the total number of STEM academics in 2016. Only 18% of Biology professors are female and this trend also continues in Engineering, seeing only 12.4% of the workforce there as female. The IT industry also is facing a similar issue with females making up 28% of the workforce in 2017.
STEMmates for girls in STEM
Like Girl Up, STEMmates hopes to encourage learners of all genders to defend gender equality and to become involved in STEM subjects. Through our hands-on courses and activity-based learning, we hope to spark an interest in young learners that will continue with them late into their careers. Get your child involved in our STEM courses today through our Facebook and website pages. Because when girls rise, we all rise!
STEMmates is proud to have been a part of Australia’s first STEAM Carnival, held at Canning Showgrounds in Perth last weekend. Parents and children were out in full force, taking advantage of both the great weather and the many activities available.