Students graduate from STEMship TAFE program

Image: Think ahead: Noah Fittler, Jarrod Hickey and Samuel Maljers are three of 16 students to graduate from the 17 week STEMship program on Thursday. The program was piloted last year. Picture: Marina Neil

After one term of year 11, he decided to leave school to accept a STEMship, which is a science, technology, engineering and mathematics scholarship offered as a collaboration between TAFE NSW, Regional Development Australia (RDA) Hunter and the government. The 17 week project-based training program includes studying electronics, pneumatic systems, computer-aided design and sheet metal fabrication and participating in four weeks of work placement with STEM orientated firms. “It’s all been worth it,” Sam said. “I put in the hard work and it’s paid off. This has set me up for life and I can’t ask for anything more.” He worked with Varley and has been offered a four-year auto electrics apprenticeship. Jarrod Hickey, 16, decided on a trade so he could “get paid to learn”. He said the program brought him one step closer to his dream job of working as an aircraft maintenance engineer. Noah Fittler, 16, said the course was “an eye opener” and cemented his desire for a career in electronics.

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STEM-ship set to launch

Image: WORKING TOGETHER: Participants will complete a work placement component with local industry partners including Jetstar Engineering, BAE Systems, Varley Group, Ampcontrol, UAVAir and EDC Consultants.

Seventeen Hunter Region students are about to embark on an Australian first Vocational Education and Training (VET) pre-employment program designed to equip participants with skills to be more adaptable to the Jobs of Tomorrow. The STEM-Ship initiative was developed by Regional Development Australia – Hunter’s ME Program, the Department of Industry (Training Services NSW) and Hunter TAFE.

STEM skilling is an important element of economic development in a region and the Hunter pilot program is designed to provide a VET pathway for students to move into highly technical apprenticeships and traineeships, higher level Certificate IV, Diploma and Advanced Diploma qualifications, and the possibility of University study once a trade or VET study has been completed.

As the Hunter Region moves to a Smart Specialisation strategy, this program aims to create a job-ready talent pool of potential employees ready to move into industries such as Defence, Advanced Manufacturing, Creative Industries, Food and Agribusiness, METS, Medical Technologies and Pharmaceuticals and Oil, Gas and Energy Resources.

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Department of Industry (Training Services NSW)
Hunter TAFE
STEM-ship is an extension to the success of the i-STEM initiative of RDA Hunter’s ME Program. i-STEM, or Integrated STEM is a BOSTES-endorsed Year 9 and 10 elective which allows students to learn through problem-based activities.

The participants selected to participate in the STEM-ship pilot will complete a 15-week program incorporating 14 Units of Competency with Hunter TAFE as well as a work placement component with some of the Hunter’s most innovative organisations.

Hunter Industry partners have repeatedly suggested that for jobseekers to be successful on attaining employment they must not only have a proficiency in STEM-related disciplines, but have non-technical skills including the ability to communicate effectively with others, the ability to work in a team, complex problem solving and decision-making abilities, along with a passion to work in the chosen industry. The STEM-ship program has been designed to equip participants with these non-technical skills to promote their employability in the future.

The TAFE component is designed to allow students to gain a range of skills across several areas including non-technical and employability skills, WHS, electronics, ICT, design and competitive manufacturing. Participants will work on a project which will utilise and develop their STEM skills.

Participants will complete a work placement component with local industry partners in order to provide an opportunity for the students to increase their employment opportunity with their desired employer in an industry.

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