The Skills & Thrills Initiative (STI) will provide education, industry and the broader community with an umbrella matrix of accredited Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) outreach intervention programs which are mapped against National Curriculum outcomes and which also meet employability outcomes as defined by industry. STI aims to provide performance objectives and a management focus for existing STEM career intervention programs. Most of these career intervention programs have historically been developed with mixed agendas by individuals, teachers or industry organisations. Some are driven by a personal passion to develop activities which interest children, some to achieve financial return and others are designed specifically to address skills related issues. In each case the outcomes have all had at least some impact on increasing awareness of engineering for those that participate in the activities.
The primary goals of STI are:
- document and publicise intervention programs which are currently available to Australian schools in a similar format to the UK’s Technology Learning Grid;
- provide programs with a common set of task oriented outcomes aimed at unifying the outcomes and guiding principles used to develop and manage intervention programs; these would include, as an example, a definition of current industry employability skills as developed by organisations such as Australian Industry Group (AIG);
- provide each of the intervention programs with current research applicable to the development of career intervention programs, particularly in terms of influencing children’s motivational drivers and systems based approaches to intervention development;
- assist programs with the knowledge and skills needed to increase collaboration with industry and help facilitate interaction between industry and the education system;
- host a showcase and conference of the best from each of the current intervention programs giving students, teachers and industry the opportunity to gain recognition for their work and contributions, this showcase conference will call together people from all parts of the education and industry spectrum to share ideas and a vision for the future and discuss how Australian society can build a better future for our children.