The Great Southern Science Council’s ‘Science Rocks’ Career Expo has been helping students learn which STEM career paths are available in Australia since 2014.
Traditionally aimed at year 9 students, Scitech and Rio Tinto partnered with local STEM organisations for the 2019 expo in Albany, widening the attendees to include students from years 7 through to 10to create a greater impact on the uptake of STEM in regional Western Australia.
The expo’s two-day run – on May 23 and 24 – gave students the chance to learn about STEM industry opportunities, with professionals from Perth and the local region speaking at the event.
Over 500 students from the Great Southern attended talks, demonstrations, small group career advice and workshops with a focus on STEM and Innovation.
The expo clearly had a positive impact as feedback from the students showed many taking an active interest in what career opportunities were available in the STEM fields.
Students from the Australian Christian College in Albany said they “thoroughly enjoyed the experience” with many feeling “inspired by people who love their jobs and want to share that passion with others.”
One student responded that they “now definitely want a job in science,” with others saying it helped them “think about [their] future and about the many options” available.
Mount Barker Community College students claimed the expo gave them a “broader idea of possible careers” with one student highlighting the resources and people available at the event.
“I got to talk with an immunologist 1 on 1 and this gave me more insight,” they said. “It also helped my knowledge of engineering.”
Students from Bethel Christian College also gave feedback, with one attendee feeling driven to “try hard in school to have a great engineering career”. A student from St Joseph’s College was impressed with the resources available, saying “it has informed me about career pathways I never knew about.”
The ‘Science Rocks’ Career Expo has fostered participant interest, engagement, motivation and knowledge in STEM and STEM Careers. In the long term it is expected the expo will help students make more informed career choices resulting in lower levels of attrition from their chosen fields of study. Participants are expected to be more likely to study STEM subjects, demonstrate improved performance in STEM subjects and finally, be more likely to pursue STEM careers.
Every year, Scitech and Rio Tinto partner with local STEM organisations and professionals in a regional town to present a STEM careers expo for all lower secondary school students in the area and to ensure the information provided at the expo has a positive impact on the uptake of STEM in regional areas.