More than 2500 students across the Wide Bay region are celebrating National Science Week, with a range of hands-on science, technology, engineering and mathematical (STEM) activities being held in Maryborough.
Minister for Environment and Science Leeanne Enoch said Prep to Year 12 students are learning about coding, robotics, entrepreneurship, and drone flying through a science educational program that is supported through funding from the Palaszczuk Government.
“Queenslanders are embracing the wonders of STEM this week, as part of National Science Week, and it’s great that so many students in the Wide Bay region have the opportunity to learn about amazing career paths in this area.
“This STEM pop-up program in Maryborough is the second to be held by the Office of the Queensland Chief Scientist, and it’s fantastic to see how much it has grown in the last year.
“This year, students are getting the opportunity to build their own apps and computer games, program robots, build and fly micro-drones and solar cars, and learn how to develop and pitch a business plan.
“Queensland is a world leader when it comes to science and it’s great that programs like these encourage students to really get involved with STEM and build the skills that are needed to face many of our planets challenges.”
Queensland Chief Scientist Professor Paul Bertsch said that we were seeing profound change in the global economy.
“Disruptions to virtually every sector are being driven by the increase in the use of sensors, robotics and artificial intelligence to the increased demand for renewable energy and the growth of advanced bio-manufacturing,” Professor Bertsch said.
“We are also seeing the impact of science, innovative technologies and big data analytics on traditional industries, like agriculture – from the use of drones and autonomous tractors to using satellites and remote-sensing technologies to provide our farmers with key information to support decisions around crop production and stock management.
“A STEM education, whether at university or through TAFE, is essential for our young people to ensure they can take advantage of the new jobs and business opportunities arising from the rapid growth of this knowledge economy.
“It’s also good for the economy overall, with a PwC report in 2015 showing that just shifting 1 per cent of the Australian workforce into STEM roles would add $54.7 billion to the GDP.
“This is why the Regional STEM Pop-up event is so important, as we look to encourage our young people to consider an interest in STEM subjects and qualifications, so they are ready to embrace the jobs of the future.”
Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour said stimulating students to take an interest in science, technology, engineering and mathematics was essential.
“STEM subjects will have a huge role in shaping our future, helping us repair our damaged planet and creating jobs in sustainable industries,” Cr Seymour said.
“The Fraser Coast is an innovative community which has a big focus on sustainability. These National Science Week activities will focus our attention on STEM subjects and highlight their importance to us.”
Deputy Principal Senior School at Aldridge State High School Shane Haddow said National Science Week was crucial in engaging students in STEM.
Aldridge State High School is hosting a range of activities over the next couple of days, including drone training, coding and robotics workshops as well as looking at the science of Australia’s First Nations peoples.
“Our world is changing rapidly due to major advances in science and technology, including robotics and artificial intelligence. We want to prepare our students with the skills they’ll need to find jobs in the knowledge economy. National Science Week is a great way for students to experience hands-on science. It’s also a lot of fun.”
Ms Enoch said National Science Week (10-18 August) was a chance to find out about the achievements in Queensland science and the contributions that our scientists are making to our lives.