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STEM skills the key to Australia’s economic success

27 July 2015

Teachers, educators, engineers and business people met in Sydney today to discuss practical ways to inspire Australia’s younger generation to engage with science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).

The second annual STEM Education Conference saw experts focus on solutions to some of the biggest issues facing STEM education and how it can equip young people with the skills for the jobs of the future.

“STEM is the key to Australia’s future productivity and competitiveness, and acquiring STEM skills starts in childhood. That’s why we need practical solutions to address obstacles in STEM education,” Parliamentary Secretary Karen Andrews said.

Mrs Andrews said that the involvement of companies such as BHP Billiton, MacICT and Intel at the conference was an indication of how important STEM is to Australia’s economy.

“This conference is an important part of the national conversation with educators, government and business to boost involvement in STEM. We want more young Australians to get a foundation in STEM, so they can be the agents of future scientific and technological breakthroughs,” Mrs Andrews said.

“The Australian Government recognises that STEM literacy helps people develop or adopt new technology. This in turn can improve productivity, and drive Australia’s economic competitiveness.

“We want to make sure teachers are getting the support and resources they require to nurture the next generation of the STEM workforce.”

Experts at the conference discussed a range of educational ideas to address the lack of STEM students, including using video games to teach STEM, practical teacher training, and teaching engineering in schools.

“Not only do we want to increase our STEM student population, we also want to make sure that after graduation, STEM students can work with industry to boost business growth, productivity and competitiveness,” Mrs Andrews said.

Industry innovation and STEM skills are a key part of a Vision For a Science Nation, the Government’s paper on a national approach to STEM.

Media contact: Mrs Andrews' office 02 6277 4360