NSW extends STEM support for Hunter workforce

The NSW government is investing a further $400,000 over two years into a program, that trains young people with the essential skills needed for the defence industry in regional NSW.

STEMship, an initiative developed by Regional Development Australia (RDA) Hunter, in partnership with the NSW Government and TAFE NSW, is a vocational training and education (VET) pre-employment program focusing on the development of science-technology-engineering-mathematics ( STEM) skills at a technical level.

The state minister for trade and industry, Niall Blair, said the funding for the STEMship Program, would give students practical industry experience and prepare them for exciting future careers.

“This program is helping the NSW defence industry get the best people it needs to capitalise on the Commonwealth’s once in a generation defence spend on future technologies,” Blair said.

“It’s also providing a key pathway for students to move into highly technical apprenticeships and traineeships,” he added.

Read: Lockheed Martin, RDA Hunter partner to grow STEM workforce

“STEMship has been successfully rolled out in the Hunter since 2016, with 65 per cent of participants gaining related employment immediately following the program,” Blair said.

Parliamentary Secretary for the Hunter, Scot MacDonald, said this initiative provides students with skills and expertise for the 21st century workplace.

“The Hunter is well known for its world-class defence industry and programs like this ensure that our reputation continues for years to come,” MacDonald said.

“STEMship gives Hunter aerospace and defence companies like BAE Systems which manages Air Force maintenance, the skilled workforce needed to help defend Australia and grow our defence industry,” he said.

Defence related companies participating in the program have included BAE Systems Australia, Varley Group, Thales Australia, Civmec, and UAVAir Pty Ltd.

RDA Hunter Director of Regional Development, Trevor John said STEMship is creating new careers, including the first traineeship in the flourishing Australian drone industry.

“It is encouraging students interested in STEM careers and providing the pathway to ensure they are well prepared for the jobs that projects like the new Joint Strike Fighter aircraft are creating,” he said.