The ME Program is leading the way to careers in the manufacturing industry at St Philip’s Christian College – Waratah. In a recent review of the program it was revealed that a specialist robotics course run through the school was gaining popularity with students. Robyn Horsley, Director of Teaching and Learning Innovations and ME Coordinator at the school has been monitoring the growth of key subject areas relevant to the manufacturing industry since they began the ME Program in 2011.
Robyn said “in 2010 there were only 15 students in Senior school involved in a compulsory robotics program in Year 9. In 2011, during the implementation of the ME program we gained an extra 18 students in a voluntary after school Robotics Program and now in 2012 we have 24 students now involved in the voluntary Robotics program.” St Philip’s Christian College has partnered with Forgacs , one of the largest manufacturing companies in the Hunter to allow students to explore the potential within the vibrant sector as well as to help students understand the need for mathematics and science based subjects in their careers.
“The ME program through robotics has increased the engagement, excitement and interest in science in our middle school students (years 5-8) and allowed our senior school students to act as mentors and technical experts” Robyn said, “leading them to the increased uptake in future careers in mechatronics. There has been a 200% increase in interest in pursuing Mechatronics (Advanced manufacturing) as a career pathway.”
St Philips Christian College has used the ME Program not only to access industry experiences but also to show students new an interesting career paths developing in the industry such as the Mechatronics facility at the University of Newcastle.
Tony Lobb Executive Director of Forgacs gave these reasons for engaging in the initiative, “At Forgacs we are encouraged by the enthusiasm young people are showing towards both our industry and the future technologies required for a healthy manufacturing sector. The skill sets required in the manufacturing sector today are changing at such a rapid speed as we focus on producing better products and at a faster pace with more sophisticated equipment. The technologies used as part of the St Philip’s Robotics Program give students the skills that will be fundamental to our industry into the future. Forgacs are proud to be part of the move to create a more dynamic and highly skilled manufacturing workforce in the Hunter”.