Fire Tech Australia’s STEM unitED program, aimed at promoting careers in STEM by introducing thousands of Western Australian Year 9 students to the world of robotics and drones, has successfully concluded its third year despite the difficulties experienced due to COVID-19.
COVID-19 heavily impacted STEM unitED workshops during the first two terms, however the program successfully reached 4,440 students in 2020, an increase of 1,050 from 2019.
Fire Tech managing director Andrea Conte said they are continuing to extend the program to as many school districts as possible and managed to run two full days of workshops at Collie Senior High School.
“We also aimed to reach students from a range of diverse suburbs in 2020, including Governor Stirling High School, Balga Senior High School and Girrawheen Senior High School,” he said.
“We have already received expressions of interest for the continuation of the program in 2021 from schools including Morley Senior High School, Woodvale Secondary College, Carine Senior High School, Aranmore Catholic College, and Baldivis Secondary College.”
In a survey conducted this year, the program saw a 6.6 per cent increase in the number of students that said they enjoyed learning science, with 17.6 per cent of respondents strongly agreeing with this statement in the first workshop and 24.2 per cent strongly agreeing at the conclusion of the program.
It also saw a 4.8 per cent increase to 17.5 per cent of students who said they enjoyed learning mathematics and a 4 per cent increase to 13 per cent in the number of students who said it is important to know science to get a good job.
Before the start of the program 144 respondents said they would like to work within the mining industry, increasing to 164 at its conclusion.
The STEM unitED program was created in collaboration between foundation partners RUC, the WA Mining Club, and Platform Communications.
WA Mining Club Vice President Craig Hook said: “I encourage Members to support STEM education in their local schools to leverage the great work of the WA mining industry in keeping the economy strong during the pandemic.”
If any Member or their company would like to get involved in the program in 2021, please contact Andrea or Craig for more information.
“We were very impressed with your program and the students enjoyed themselves.” – Madeleine Mee, Library Officer, small school.
“Thank you for giving us this wonderful opportunity.” – Daniel Aleksovski, Head of Science, Ballajura Community College.
“Our students enjoyed and learnt a lot during the Robotics workshop.” – Alister Lam Kam Cheung, maths teacher, Morley Senior High School.
“Thank you very much for providing this opportunity to our students.” – Charan Pable, Head of Science and Maths, Girrawheen Senior High School.
“We would like to be part of this fantastic opportunity again next year. Count Girrawheen SHS in.” – Pabla Charan, Girrawheen Senior High School.