STEM literacy is predicted to be one of the most important skill attributes of a future workforce and was highlighted as a priority in the Cessnock City Skills Audit. The skills taught within STEM are all soft, transferrable and desirable employability attributes. These include problem solving, collaboration, strategic thinking, creative thought, and digital literacy.
The Cessnock Local Government Area is the home of STEM education in Australia, and Cessnock City Council is breaking new ground forging a fresh partnership. Council and the STEM Industry School Partnerships Program (SISP) will partner to champion how local government can play a leadership role in STEM education. The partnership with SISP allows Council to play a part in the development of the NSW STEM strategy and its rollout across the state and better integrate the triple helix approach where local government, education and industry collaborate for greater workforce, social and economic development outcomes.
Cessnock is home to the flagship SISP program, the Cessnock Academy of STEM Excellence (CASE) where one of Australia’s foremost experts in STEM education, Dr Scott Sleap is encouraging students to think big about their future.
The partnership will champion how local government can play a leadership role in STEM education. Council’s participation with SISP and CASE will provide a blueprint on local government involvement, and enhance how local industry and businesses are engaged in the education of a future workforce.
Council’s new partnership focuses on how local industry and businesses are engaged in the education of young people. It aims to foster greater collaboration between local government, education and industry, and will result in greater workforce outcomes for local young people. Integration of these skills and engagement with employers within local schools, through STEM programs will ensure that students are aware of employer expectations. Through involvement in STEM, local businesses can invest in development of employability skills in young people. They can provide vital links to mentoring, vocational experience through entry level roles, or work experience opportunities that relate to local employment opportunities.
The innovative partnership will also enable local businesses to access labs and workshops, technology and infrastructure such as industrial 3D printers, laser cutters, and CISCO cyber security training. Council will also connect high performing students for mentoring with local business people and identify possible employment pathways.
STEM’s foremost direct benefit in Cessnock is the development of employability skills, however the indirect but invaluable outcomes are the results connected to student engagement and retention. This vital partnership provides a test arena to mitigate and prevent the next youth unemployment bubble. Preventing disengagement from work and study through offering STEM programs may provide relief to compounding youth unemployment statistics which ensue with at risk youth, and generational socioeconomic disadvantage.
STEM can support students to gain critical skill sets, and make upright educational and career decisions relative to jobs growth. Students who make upright career and tertiary education decisions tend to have better employment outcomes and pathways which lead into jobs rich industries. Aspirational programs in schools can help students understand that careers involving University or Tertiary education are a realistic goal, often a barrier in regions such as Cessnock which experience below average tertiary educated populations.
More information on STEM partnership:
The Cessnock Local Government Area is the home of STEM education in Australia, and Cessnock City Council is breaking new ground forging a fresh partnership. Council and the STEM Industry School Partnerships Program (SISP) will partner to champion how local government can play a leadership role in STEM education.
20 August 2019