Tag Archives: school students

Google CwC STEM cropped

Careers with STEM: Code celebrates fifth birthday

Image credit: Google professionals Tina, Fontaine, Deepa and Joël (Lauren Trompp, 2018).

The upcoming magazine is set to be one of the most diverse representations of STEM careers yet.

It showcases real-life pathways to technology careers, promotes diversity and celebrates people in STEM doing exciting things, all to encourage Australian students to get into STEM.

From October 15, a box of the glossy Careers with STEM magazines will be sent out to every Australian high school –  a collaboration between two of Australia’s biggest STEM employers (Google and the Commonwealth Bank of Australia), the Government and agile STEM startup, publisher Refraction Media.

75% of the fastest growing jobs will require skills in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and yet only 16% of university students graduate with a STEM degree, according to a PwC report. “We can’t say what the careers of the future will be, but we know that technology and STEM skills will underpin all careers,” says Heather Catchpole, co-founder and Head of Content at Refraction.

Careers with STEM: Code  is one of a quarterly series of print magazines and accompanies the online hub CareerswithSTEM.com, which features the most in-demand STEM careers, inspirational profiles and study resources for students and teachers. Refraction co-founder and CEO Karen Taylor-Brown explains that the magazines and e-portal were created to close the gap between students’ perception of STEM careers and the reality. “Careers with STEM is about smashing stereotypes around careers, driving diversity and celebrating Australia’s STEM-stars.”

This year, Careers with STEM: Code focuses on the most in-demand Computer Science (CS) jobs and the versatility of digital literacy for any career. With tips on how to design a CS career, diversity in tech and a Cybersecurity special, students will be well-equipped to map out their own unique pathway to a tech career that suits them.

Students can check out the profiles of several Australian STEM professionals from Google, CBA and more to find out  how they got to where they are now. “Technology and CS are at the heart of innovation in every industry,” says Sally-Ann Williams, Google’s Engineering Outreach Manager.  “New jobs and industries will continue to emerge as technology evolves…My hope is that in the pages of Careers with STEM: Code [students] will be inspired and challenged by the people who are working in these fields.”

Cybersecurity has been named one of the top 5 in-demand jobs right now (LinkedIn Emerging Jobs Report 2017) and another 11,000 cybersecurity specialists are needed over the next decade in Australia alone (CSCGN 2017 Report). The latest issue of Careers with STEM: Code includes a special Cybersecurity addition including  tips from CBA cyber-experts on how to break into the industry.

“Every day, we are faced with new cyber threats, challenges and opportunities, which is why we are constantly seeking talented, passionate and creative people to join the cybersecurity sector,” says Kate Ingwersen, General Manager of CISTO (Chief Information Security & Trust Officer) at CBA. “There is a world of opportunity for young people to become our cyber superstars of tomorrow.”

“We’re thrilled to work with so many industry, government and education leaders to bring together Careers with STEM, four times a year, for the last five years”, says Taylor-Brown. “This is a product that can address, at scale, some of the key barriers to careers in STEM, including narrow career vision, real-life relevance and pervasive stereotypes around who works in STEM and what the jobs are.”

“It’s a fantastic magazine…students really enjoy reading about their potential future pathways”, says Matthew Purcell, Head of Digital Innovation at Canberra Grammar School.

Students and teachers are able to pre-order copies of the print magazine now and the e-zine will be available from October 15.

role models

The power of non-linear role models

The world around us is undergoing rapid transformation by people finding innovative ways to use information and technology to better serve our needs. At the heart of these disruptive innovations are people with deep groundings in science, technology, engineering and maths – the STEM disciplines.

Critically, the number of kids studying subjects in school that lead to STEM courses is decreasing. According the Australian Bureau of Statistics only 29% of STEM graduates are women, and in the key disciplines of IT and engineering this falls to 14%. Low enrolment numbers for women in STEM have been a consistent factor since I was an undergraduate in engineering.

Today, Australia competes in the global race for innovative ideas with only half the team – the male half. If we are to develop new industries that move us beyond Australia’s traditional industries and allow us to be globally competitive, we have to change.

For a start, we have to help our kids, and in particular our girls, understand the wealth of opportunities open to them with a STEM foundation. We need to address any perceived or real bias in our high school exam systems and marking arrangements that discourage kids from taking up studies in maths and science. With the highly competitive nature of the results from high school assessments, we need to work to change views that taking STEM subjects could lead to any disadvantage.

We also have to recognise – as a positive – the fact that many STEM graduates will work in roles outside of the classical STEM disciplines. These are role models for a future in which interdisciplinary graduates are able to contribute to the transformation of traditional industries such as the finance, automotive and healthcare sectors.

In an effort to stimulate interest in STEM early on in schooling, Macquarie University runs the FIRST Robotics program in Australia for children in years K–12, with key sponsorship by Google and Ford. This program gives all participants a chance to work as teams that bring together mechanics, electronics, information processing, design and software development skills to build robots and compete with them.

This is an example of how we can not only inspire school students’ interest in STEM, but create pathways for them to pursue these fields into further study, careers, and entrepreneurship in a variety of areas. Today the program involves 5000 kids from 600 schools, and the total numbers of participants across Australia is rapidly growing.

Having stimulated interest at school, we need examples at universities and in the workplace that highlight the important roles that women with STEM backgrounds occupy. This is vital to improving the pull of women through universities and into industries where they are able to make meaningful contributions.

At Macquarie University, we are actively focused on building women’s participation in world-leading research programs through the Science in Australia Gender Equality (SAGE) program. We are able to celebrate the achievements of our world-leading female researchers, including role models such as Macquarie University’s Professor Ewa Goldys (recent winner of a Eureka Award) and Professor Nicki Packer.

Having shining examples of where STEM can take our young women is key to closing the gender gap. We need to expose women to the right kinds of images and messages, which involves having conversations around the non-traditional and non-linear career pathways available to them.

Professor Barbara Ann Messerle

Executive Dean, Faculty of Science and Engineering, Macquarie University

Read next: Deloitte Partner Elissa Hilliard says raising Australia’s STEM IQ means teaching girls foundational skills in their formative school years.

People and careers: Meet women who’ve paved brilliant careers in STEM here, find further success stories here and explore your own career options at postgradfutures.com.

Spread the word: Help Australian women achieve successful careers in STEM! Share this piece on role models using the social media buttons below.

More Thought Leaders: Click here to go back to the Thought Leadership Series homepage, or start reading the Graduate Futures Thought Leadership Series here.