RDA Hunter’s, SMART Workforce Initiative (SWI) has corporate, industry, as well as State and Federal Government partners. The SMART Workforce Initiative is part of RDA Hunter’s “ME Program” which also includes the Defence Industry Skilling Program (DISP) funded by Australian Government’s Department of Defence.
The purpose of this initiative is to raise student’s awareness of possible career opportunities and knowledge of STEM industry pathways whilst increasing the number of students undertaking STEM subjects in participating schools.
The SMART Workforce Initiative has an emphasis on Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics. Its primary objectives are to:
(a) Provide a continuous stream of STEM enabled young people to support local industry;
(b) Increase the uptake of STEM in primary, secondary & tertiary educational institutions;
(c) Increase student awareness of STEM employment pathways in the Hunter Region;
(d) Facilitate student opportunities for hands on experiences in STEM based industries;
The long term benefits are:
(a) To increase the pool of young people ready to move from school into further education and apprenticeships, internships, scholarships and part-time work/study combinations;
(b) To educate Australia’s youth about the employment options available in STEM industries; and
(c) To improve competiveness of the hunter region, through an increased pool of future, STEM enabled employees.
It includes close consultation with education and industry stakeholders. The development of innovative STEM curriculum and resource materials is facilitated through the STEM Toolkit project.
School based STEM learning and extra curricula activities are combined with vital on the job work experience, delivered by a range of the hunter regions leading industries. Individuals are equipped with technical skills and knowledge to help them make informed education and career choices.
Experience and education is supported through the school system, where teachers and careers advisers can mentor students and assist with their early career choices and the subjects they study.
The SMART Workforce Initiative is about creating and promoting opportunities for young people to help shape their education and work experience towards sustainable and fulfilling career paths. It also provides an opportunity for local industries to invest in their long term future by engaging with students adding to their current recruitment initiatives.
Through the ME Program students are made aware of possible career opportunities and have a greater understanding of the role of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects in future careers. The Program aims to provide practical experiences for students and teachers through collaborative industry interaction. A fundamental element of the SMART Workforce Initiative is to contextualise certain topics within STEM courses so that the content of learning becomes more real, relevant and engaging for both the teacher and student. This is achieved through strong collaboration between educators and corporate, industry and government stakeholders.
The SMART Workforce Initiative is made up of numerous programs/initiatives which are often run in conjunction with the Defence Industry Skilling Program. These programs/initiatives include;