An Australian Government Initiative

Regional Development Australia

Important Steps for STEM

18 July 2018

Regional Development Australia (RDA) Hunter is doing its bit to tackle an issue crucial to Australia's future.

Australia does not have enough students studying Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics—mainly because so many girls are choosing to study other subjects. That means hundreds of female students are cut off from a wide range of careers, and Australia is losing a great deal of undeveloped talent.

RDA Hunter has been working since 2009 to change that.

Female enrolments in Year 11 two-unit Maths have increased from 15% in 2016 to 21% in 2018,

In 2016, only 1.4% of enrolments in Engineering Studies in Hunter region partner schools were females. That figure is now 2.6%. It's still too low, but the New South Wales average is only 0.3%.

RDA Hunter's STEM Workforce Manager, Rick Evans, has been delighted by the early results of the workforce development program, ME. RDA Chair, John Turner, said that ME was emulated widely because it works.

The ME Program is underwritten by and delivered in close partnership with the Australian Department of Defence. It facilitates formal partnerships between Hunter industry and high schools and builds awareness of defence industry career pathways. The program currently partners with 47 Hunter high schools.