VIC goes virtual

Victorian students enjoy an electrifying return to school with Bright Future STEM

Last week AMMA teamed up with resources and energy employers to deliver our Bright Future STEM program to Victorian primary school students.

It was an electrifying return to school for the students at Coburg West, Mickleham Primary and Sunbury Primary Schools as AMMA worked alongside energy infrastructure company Jemena and its sister company, national energy service provider Zinfra.

Energy experts from the two companies delivered online talks, in an extension of recent International Day of Women and Girls in Science (11 February) celebrations.

The female role models digitally joined more than 200 year 5 and 6 students to share their experiences working in the energy sector, and encourage interest and uptake of STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) subjects and careers — particularly amongst young women.

Topics explored as part of the sessions included: How does electricity get to your home? How do electric vehicles work, and How much energy does Melbourne Airport use? Students also took part in an interactive in-class experiment, using thermometers and glasses of warm water wrapped in various materials to learn about energy and heat conservation, and how this works around the home.

In addition to presentations, participating schools receive information packs with hands-on learning activities like electric circuit kits, helping to light up students’ interest in both STEM subjects and working together as a team, particularly after recent returns to the classroom.

To assist the students in continuing their STEM fascination, schools also received interactive activity packs with hands-on learning activities like electric circuit kits.

The initiative responds to findings from the STEM Equity Monitor 2021 data report and 2019–20 Youth in STEM Survey that women make up less than a quarter of students studying STEM, while parents and teachers are the greatest influencer groups of young people’s education and career decisions.

Kristen Stribley, Strategy Analyst from Jemena and Zinfra, said it is important for students to be introduced to the exciting and ever-evolving world of STEM and energy from early on.

“Research shows many kids make decisions about whether they’re interested in science, maths and technology subjects early on in their schooling, rather than at high school or during tertiary study,” Ms Stribley said.

“The energy sector offers a range of interesting and diverse career choices – at Jemena and Zinfra we have roles ranging from the crews who build and maintain electricity and gas networks, to engineers who are helping to design green hydrogen and biomethane facilities, to IT professionals who develop and support the online systems that underpin how we manage critical energy.

“As someone who enjoyed humanities subjects like English and History at school but now has a more STEM focused career, I want all kids, and especially girls, to know it’s important to keep an open mind, explore different subjects and never be afraid to follow your dreams.”

The sessions follow similar Bright Future visits hosted by Jemena and AMMA in 2021 for over 100 students across Melbourne’s west, in celebration of International Day of Women and Girls in Science.

Another virtual Bright Future STEM session was held with Quarry Hill Primary School in Bendigo, with member company Deepcore Drilling helping to inspire students.

Deepcore Drilling’s Tyler Brown,  a fourth year apprentice Diesel Mechanic and colleague, project superintendent Dona Carter shared their career journey as students dialled in from four classrooms.

Students also competed in small groups to build the biggest secure ‘’Mast-Mallow’’ tower using tips and advice from our STEM experts.

Each classroom had a winning group of students who will now enjoy an amazing opportunity of an excursion at Deepcore sites.

“In particular, female industry STEM role models play a critical role in the program to help breakdown gender stereotypes and inspire young girls to follow a passion for STEM. As the program continues to grow and evolve, with expanded initiatives and new and improved activities, we’re proudly continuing to inspire the next-gen of STEM professionals and resources and energy workforce.