Airshow inspires next generation

A multi-stakeholder partnership to inspire the next generation of manufacturing kicked off at the 2019 Edinburgh Air Show on November 8.

The Royal Australian Air Force, along with Boeing, BAE Systems Australia, Airbus, Lockheed Martin, Northrup Grumman, SAAB, universities and vocational education providers, will run the program, named Astro-STEM.

600 students participated in the program to find out more about future careers in science, technology, engineering and maths. These were conducted through VR flight simulators, mixed reality demonstration, drone racing, military aircraft displays, and information about careers in aviation and aerospace.

The program follows a week where skills for defence were the topic of discussion at the National Defence Skills & Workforce Summit. At the summit, attendees discussed how to bridge the gap in the number of students studying STEM subjects and the demand for STEM skills for the major defence projects to be delivered in the coming years.

South Australian Premier, Steven Marshall, acknowledged the urgency of the situation.

“These students aren’t learning about the jobs of the future, these are the jobs of right now,” he said.

“Our expanding defence and space sectors are presenting unprecedented opportunities for South Australians right now, across the community.

“What Astro-STEM is seeking to achieve is inspire in young people a love for STEM subjects and the technology that knowledge allows, so they can start dreaming of the next big leap forward,” said Marshall.

With the space sector in South Australia, and around the nation, also competing with defence for the same talent pool, connecting these future opportunities with the current student body was SA Minister for Innovation and Skills, David Pisoni’s focus.

“South Australia is benefiting from huge job opportunities in science and technology related industries, not least of all in the defence and space sectors, and we want to give our young people every opportunity to take full advantage,” he said.