On Wednesday the 11th of October, over 50 students, educators and STEM supporters gathered together at the new Commonwealth Bank building in Haymarket to share a love and curiosity for STEM and its future. This event, a joint venture between Inspiring the Future Australia, Refraction Media and the Commonwealth Bank, also celebrated the release of Refraction Media's latest wonderful magazine Careers with Code.
We were fortunate enough to have the NSW Secretary for the Department of Education, Mark Scott, to give the keynote speech at the event. When speaking about jobs of the future and the unknown factor of what the workforce will look like, he said “it’s not a case of getting out the crystal ball and anticipate precisely what the future will be, it’s more a case of getting people ready with the skills to flourish no matter what that future turns out to be.”
Mark Scott encouraged the students and other guests there that the unknown of the future of jobs is not something to fear but the nature of a rapidly evolving and changing society, that will the right skills can see people thrive. He asserted that “[Young people] are going to need strong skills in literacy and numeracy, deep knowledge and deep mastery in certain areas, creative thinking, collaborative thinking and a great mindset.”
Sally-Ann Williams from Google also said a few words, encouraging students that their passion and their problems are opportunities for the future, saying “all of those things you can be passionate about, that you can be excited about, that are a part of who you are; when you blend that with technology… that’s where the opportunity lies.”
Following introductions and speakers, a panel of STEM professionals spoke to questions around the broad nature of STEM in the workplace, the opportunities it provides, the importance or non-importance of results and the challenges the panellists overcame to get to their careers today.
We heard from 6 excellent panellists:
· Matt Scott; Deputy Principal Innovation (Relieving) at The Canobolas Rural Technology High School
· Amy Lo; Googler and software engineer (Google photos)
· Janet Mao; CBA graduate
· Solange Cunin; Founder, Cuberider
· Bryce Eldredge, Founder, The Rural Network
· Daniel Rasbusek, EngineeringTechnician, Thales
Following the panel discussion STEM supporters and educators were invited to continue networking over morning tea, while the panellists and additional volunteers took part in Speed Career Networking with the Students. This gave students an opportunity to ask direct questions to different volunteers and discover more about their future aspirations and how they might get there. Many students had a strong idea of where in STEM they’d like to focus and were able to connect with volunteers in that area who could give them particular advice from their experience and even make the right connection for their future.
Overall it was a wonderful event celebrating the vast opportunities and possibilities of STEM and beyond. Thanks to all our wonderful guests and volunteers, and special thanks to our VIP’s.