stem coverWhat you need to know about STEM or science, technology engineering and mathematics training in 2018.

It’s an unfortunate but well-known fact that women and girls aren’t looking to futures in STEM industries the way their male counterparts are.

In fact, in 2016 only 26.4 percent of STEM graduates were women and while that number is certainly improving today there’s still a battle to be fought in encouraging women and girls to look to these industries as opportunities for their future.

Understanding STEM and the importance of these industries is the key to changing minds about the opportunities involved. But of course, it all starts with education and breaking down the confusion or uncertainty around STEM.

“STEM (science, technology engineering and mathematics) skills are at the core of everyday processes, and the need for these skills is growing rapidly,” Westpac’s Group General Manager, Business Technology Integration Anastasia Cammaroto said in a recent podcast on the topic, adding that, “critical thinking and problem solving, analytic capabilities, curiosity and imagination have all been identified as essential ‘survival skills’ in the workplace of the future. Yet, research shows that girls aren’t embracing these opportunities. Instead, they’re electing to drop out of science and mathematics in their mid-high school years.”

It’s argued that STEM training should begin early on in one’s schooling and that both teachers and parents play a key role in encouraging women and girls to stick with STEM subjects throughout their primary, secondary and tertiary education.

“We also need to support teachers who are inspiring girls to pursue STEM careers and make STEM fun at school. We need to motivate girls to stick with STEM subjects right through to the end of their schooling so that they have choices,” Cammaroto continued, going on to note the work Westpac is doing to nurture these STEM students early on in their education.

“Our new Westpac’s STEM Girls Work Experience program is providing new opportunities and experiences for up to 100 female high school aged students to gain practical business and STEM-related work experience. This is important because providing real insight into careers and the skills and capabilities for the future is critically important to help students make decisions about what they’re going to study in Years 11 and 12,” Cammaroto said.”

“STEM skills are essential to Australia’s future prosperity and that’s why we have invested in the upskilling of our community by helping more young women through this program. The Westpac STEM Girls Work Experience program is another powerful way we’re tackling the barriers that exist in STEM education, such as gender diversity and socio-economic disadvantage, to inspire and support more young women,” Cammaroto said.

In 2016, Cammaroto revealed at Vogue Australia’s inaugural Vogue Codes event her decision to choose a career in STEM, noting she wanted a career that would challenge her but also excite her.

“The reason I chose engineering was because I was young, I was excited and I wanted to change the world but I wanted to be practical about it,” Cammaroto said. “For me, it was about choosing a career that was constantly changing and that I would be constantly learning in.”

For the first time, Westpac has collated its work in this increasingly critical sector in the Westpac STEM Commitment.



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