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STEM skills report calls for systemic support of teachers and industry

The Australian Industry Group today released a major report on Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics (STEM) skills entitled Strengthening School-Industry STEM Skills Partnerships.

This report represents a two-year research project funded by the Office of the Chief Scientist to improve student participation in STEM-related disciplines by encouraging school and industry collaboration. The report also investigated the need to improve teacher and student understanding of the demand for STEM skills in the workplace, and to encourage students to consider further study and a career in STEM.

Ai Group Chief Executive, Innes Willox, said industry had been concerned for some time about the supply of STEM-qualified participants entering the workforce.

"The development of a STEM-qualified workforce starts in schools, which have an important role to play in spreading awareness and providing STEM programs for students in concert with industry. This project has made a significant contribution to this process," Mr Willox said.

Australia's Chief Scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, said the report provided a strong foundation to support future school and industry collaboration.

"We need to provide our teachers with the best possible support and professional development, so they in turn are well positioned to inspire students. This project does an impressive job identifying models of schools and industry working together that we can learn from and scale up," Dr Finkel said.

A key finding was the need for the professional development of teachers to enable successful school-industry collaboration, and the role of education systems in providing this support. Schools and companies also need support to form sustainable and enduring partnerships to jointly advance student STEM skills.

The report found that multiple models of school-industry engagement were already in place across Australia, ranging from 'single school-single company' models, through to larger hub-type arrangements involving many partners.

The project included an extensive national mapping exercise, which resulted in the production of the STEM Programme Index 2016.

Download full Ai Group report

STEM Programme Index 2016

Media enquiries: Graham Turner – 0415 285 320