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Generation STEM could be game changer on local jobs

Almost three out of four Macarthur region residents travel out of the area for work. This has been the case for decades, but it’s possible all this is about to change for the better. A combination of highly skilled workers and the proximity of the Western Sydney Airport may just be the right formula for more locals also working locally.

There’s a push to encourage more local students to take up STEM subjects (science, technology, engineering, mathematics) which are considered the best pathway to a highly skilled workforce.

 As part of this strategy, Camden Council has hosted the first public showcase of student solutions to a number of STEM based projects.

Students from both Elderslie High School and Mater Dei High School presented solutions which applied STEM principles, to projects which drew on challenges faced by the local community.

Mayor of Camden, Cr Theresa Fedeli, said she was proud to partner with Camden Region Economic Taskforce (CRET) and CSIRO to deliver the showcase.

“The next generation of future thinkers have come up with ideas, solutions, methods and initiatives that are completely unique, fresh and exciting,” Cr Fedeli said.

“The event was a terrific opportunity to collaborate and share knowledge.

“Council, and the wider community, were able to ask questions, take new ways of thinking on board and learn what the next generation of residents want and expect from their leaders.”

The event formed part of the Generation STEM community partnerships program which CSIRO education and outreach director Mary Mulcahy says is the first program to be rolled out.

“It’s designed to encourage more students to take up STEM at school and STEM-related jobs,” Ms Mulcahy said.

“Major developments in Western Sydney, including the Western Sydney Airport, will generate up to 200,000 STEM local jobs.

“By partnering with local government and industry, Generation STEM grows STEM skills in young people so they can take advantage of this opportunity, right here in Western Sydney.”

CRET chair Adriana Care said helping to deliver the program to local high school students was part of CRET’s work to support, develop and maintain a strong local economy in the Camden region.

“One of the key issues identified for the region, in relation to labour market participation, is that nearly 70 per cent of residents travel outside of the region for work,” Ms Care said.

“This drain poses a potential challenge to upcoming local development at the Western Sydney Airport and the Aerotropolis, which will require a highly skilled local workforce.

“Generation STEM can assist in building an active workforce pipeline, in partnership with industry in the Camden region.

“This will also assist CRET to attract new industry to the region and ensure existing industry can take on new opportunities and continue to grow.”

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