Supporting the next generation through STEM

Supporting the next generation through STEM

Technology is moving at an extraordinary rate as companies are forced to innovate or be left behind in a global...
byLynda Rovis-Hermann

While technological advances continue, the mining sector faces the difficult prospect of finding workers with the skills needed to understand, operate and further develop the new tools of the trade.

Programs such as STEM UnitED are looking to solve the technology skills gap in the long term by fostering a new generation of STEM professionals with the right skills for any job.

STEM UnitED was created by leading STEM education provider Fire Tech Australia, with support from the WA Mining Club, RUC, and Platform Communications, to introduce thousands of Western Australian Year 9 students to the world of robotics and drones with the aim of promoting STEM-related careers.

Platform Communications director Kirsty Danby said it was important to attract talent into the industry early to avoid losing them to other sectors perceived as more interesting or less impactful on the environment.

“What STEM UnitED does is introduce these young students to the world of robotics and innovative technology, showing them exactly what they can do in the world of STEM,” Danby said.

“It lets them see that STEM is more than just algorithms, chemistry and coding; with STEM they are able to make tangible differences to their world through technology, automation, and electrification.

“Deloitte’s latest Tracking the Trends report said mining holds the key to a lower carbon future through many of the minerals it mines. STEM students who join the industry will play a direct role in the transition to net zero emissions.”

In 2021, STEM UnitED reached more than 4,000 Year 9 students in more than 140 sessions at 20 schools.

Firetech managing director Andrea Conte said the program was renewed for another three years, with the aim of reaching more than 5,000 students a year. “The focus for the next three years will be on robotics and automation,” Conte said.

“The STEM UnitED program has been endorsed by Arduino, global leaders in robotics and the Internet of Things education.”