A $5.1 million investment to deliver pathways into STEM qualifications in Australian schools is reaping results.
P-TECH offers secondary school students an industry-supported education pathway to a STEM-related diploma, advanced diploma or associate degree.
Established as a pilot program in 2016 Pathways in Technology, or P-TECH, is an exciting opportunity for secondary school students to explore the world of science, technology, engineering and mathematics.
Working in partnership with schools and tertiary education providers, industry partners support project-based learning at school and in the workplace, provide mentoring, work placements, paid internships and apprenticeships or traineeships to interested students.
Post-school, P-TECH students have the option to continue their study or pursue employment in a STEM field, including job opportunities with the school’s industry partners.
Apprentice Coordinator with Ergon Energy Sam Fraser said his comapny is an industry partner for the P-TECH program and provides work experience to students.
“It’s proving to be a great way for our business to see the calibre of those who might apply for our apprenticeships in the future,” Sam said.
“There is a stigma that trades is for those who can’t get into a university course, which is completely untrue. The beauty of the P-TECH program is that students are exposed to roles that can help them develop into great future engineers.”
Analysis of labour force data by the Department of Education, Skills and Employment shows that jobs in science, technology, engineering and mathematics are growing faster than other occupations.
Such is the demand for these skills that many other organisations have partnered with educational institutions to deliver the P-TECH model. Some of these include Mars Australia, Century Engineering, PricewaterhouseCoopers, SAAB and Brisbane Airport Corporation.
“P-TECH promotes innovative thinking, which is crucial in modern industry. Those who come through the program will be an asset to any business as they will bring a fresh perspective and ideas to the workplace,” Sam said.
An evaluation of the pilot undertaken in April 2019 with students, teachers and industry partners found that P-TECH has resulted in positive outcomes for students in their engagement with STEM and their exposure to STEM-related career paths. Students reported new ways of learning and new aspirations for their future. P-TECH also resulted in significant benefits for schools, tertiary education partners and industry partners.