Lockheed Martin Australia STEM education partnership reignited

Image credit: Regional Development Australia

Lockheed Martin Australia (LMA), Regional Development Australia (RDA) Hunter and the University of Newcastle has reignited its alliance for STEM education.

The Altitude Accord was established in late 2018 to raise the skills base of the Hunter’s future workforce and encourage student interest in STEM careers in the defence industry.

The program engages University of Newcastle students in activities that address real-world industry problems that gives them direct access to LMA people, sites and partners.

Undergraduate engineering students participated in a virtual lecture series presented by Lockheed Martin Australia engineers working on leading defence programs including the Future Submarine Program, and simulated training system for the Royal Australian Air Force (RAAF) Pilot Training.

Engineers Weetek Foo and Richard Yeng (supported by Daniel Tucker) and David Harrison, each presented guest lecture aimed at informing and motivating the 100 first, second and third year students.

Topics included system of systems engineering, ship/air integration, the challenges of large-scale systems, hardware engineering in Defence, and engineering software design.

University of Newcastle second-year Aerospace Systems Engineering student and inaugural Altitude Accord Scholarship Tour winner Ian Whittall attended the lectures.

“Having the opportunity to hear directly from people like this is really encouraging – it helps us understand the engineering jobs that are available, especially here in Newcastle (Hunter),” he said. “I was lucky enough to earn a spot on the Altitude Accord Scholarship Tour last year as well and I really appreciate the opportunities that the University and Lockheed Martin Australia are working on for us. I hope there’s more like them next year.”

They highlighted LMA’s national and international defence industry projects, they uncovered the breadth of engineering career opportunities associated with those projects and they discussed the development of important transferrable skills.

Tucker also added detail about applying for LMA’s two-year graduate program and reiterated the value of transferrable skills, explaining that because challenges and constraints are consistent across business streams and projects, adaptable skills allow their workforce to transition.

Lockheed Martin Australia and New Zealand chief executive, Joe North, said the company was delighted to be supporting The Altitude Accord again in 2020.

“The partnership provides LMA with the opportunity to engage directly with engineering students and play a role in supporting them to become industry-ready for future career pathways in Defence Industry,” he said.

“We’re able to showcase the career opportunities available in the Hunter which helps us build regional capability and a homegrown highly-skilled sovereign workforce.”

University of Newcastle’s Pro Vice-Chancellor Faculty of Engineering and Built Environment, Professor Brett Ninness, said his faculty is very appreciative of the time and effort LMA engineers committed to the new lecture series.

“Our engineering undergraduates find direct interaction with industry experts an extremely valuable and enjoyable addition to their regular programs,” he said.

“Real-world examples of the theory they’re learning add context and relevance for students and prove inspiring and motivating. We’re looking forward to building on our partnership with Lockheed Martin Australia and creating more opportunities for our students to interact with its industry leaders.”