With 75% of new Australian jobs requiring STEM skills, according to a Department of Industry, Innovation and Science report, the Westpac STEM Girls Work Experience program is "the latest in a series of investments by the bank to support and grow Australia’s STEM workforce".
Anastasia Cammaroto, general manager, Business Integration, Westpac Group Technology, launched the program today at Sydney’s Auburn Girls High School.
“We know that Australia as a nation is dropping in school mathematics performance. Research suggests that by the time girls reach the age of 15 a large proportion has either already dismissed or not even considered a career in technology," she said.
“The Westpac STEM Girls Work Experience program is another powerful way we are tackling the barriers that exist in STEM education, such as gender diversity and socio-economic disadvantage, to inspire and support more young women.”
Australia’s chief scientist, Dr Alan Finkel, welcomed the announcement.
He said: "Tomorrow’s breakthroughs start when today’s students are given the opportunity to fall in love with science and mathematics. However, we know not every student feels equally encouraged to enter STEM subjects or careers.
“This program will tackle this issue right at its heart, helping young women to shine in fields where they are often underrepresented.”
Westpac also notes its partnership with the "Australian Business and Community Network and other partners to launch the pilot with the aim to see 100 students benefit from practical and soft-skill development work experience".
Indeed, Westpac reminds us that it has "over 20 well-established STEM-focused initiatives across the organisation including the Westpac Scholarship Program, Mathspace, Code Camp and the Westpac PhD STEM Program. This is in addition to supporting technology and other STEM-discipline students through a variety of tertiary pathway programs".
Cammaroto added: “Through our work with schools and universities and partnerships with industry and government, we are proud to advocate increasing STEM skills and awareness in our people, our customers and the communities we operate in."
Westpac also hosted the Vogue Australia annual Vogue Codes Summit with the Sydney event held earlier today.
For the first time, Westpac has collated its work in this increasingly critical sector in the Westpac STEM Commitment, which you can read about here.
Anastasia Cammaroto, general manager, Business Integration, Westpac Group Technology and ABCN chief executive Allegra Spender with Auburn Girls High School students.