These 4 disciplines are critical to the future of our society. They intermingle, diverge, working in parallel and partnership to touch every aspect of our daily life. From what we eat and how we travel to the medicines that keep us healthy and the energy powering this device on which you’re currently reading this.
STEM skills are helping our planet adapt to climate change. STEM skills are enabling science to develop new vaccines for underdeveloped nations. STEM skills are opening our eyes and minds to the boundless opportunities available in areas like entertainment and engineering.
And yet, paradoxically, the study of STEM subjects has been in decline over many years. Now employers are finding it difficult to unearth people with the skills they need to innovate, grow their business and bring their ideas to life.
STEM skills are more important now than ever before – their applications impact almost every industry on the planet. And STEM careers are much more than scientists and engineers. Many jobs require STEM skills at basic levels in order to recognise, understand and apply innovations. Plumbers, Carpenters and Electricians do. But that’s just the start. An understanding of STEM and its applications increases exponentially the career options available to you.
And it's not all about work. Technological leaps in the past decade alone have been driven in part by our appetite to do, see and know more – and the remarkably innovative and ever changing technologies we use to source this information demand a degree of STEM know - how to understand. Such heightened levels of ‘STEM literacy’ in the community naturally feed through into basic employability skills – a trend that will only increase as technology becomes more prevalent in how we work and organisations are compelled to innovate in order to remain competitive.
Globally, significant efforts are being made to encourage the study of STEM subjects and pursuit of STEM careers. Here at home, lifting our national performance in the areas of STEM is a considerable challenge, but one well within our capabilities. The Australian Government is investing around $9 billion dollars into science, research and innovation. We have the support, the resources and a legion of passionate STEM ambassadors willing to lend a hand. If Australia is to regain its place at the northern end of the world’s most innovative economies, it will need a community and workforce that possesses, champions and applies STEM literacy and high-level STEM skills.