Supporting equal opportunities in regional skills development23/10/2017
RDV is pleased to partner with the Department of Education and Training, regional industries and the tertiary education sector to support skills development for women and young people in regional Victoria.
This is especially important in a region like Gippsland, which experiences low educational attainment, low year 12 completion rates, low tertiary completion rates and significantly high youth unemployment compared to statewide averages.
A number of related projects were supported through the Government’s $34 million Regional Skills Fund – a place-based grants program that aligns with the Victorian Government’s education and training reforms as well as initiatives to support innovation, skills and workforce development.
One of these projects is ‘STEM Sister’s: If you can’t see it, you can’t be it’, which up to 40 female Year 10 students with exposure to opportunities for work and study in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
The program involves students meeting inspiring women in these sectors, attend network events, and participate in work placements and industry visits. These initiatives support young women to aspire to a career in STEM and respond directly to local industry moves to address gender equality in the workforce.
For example, last year EnergyAustralia Yallourn undertook a recruitment campaign to encourage more women into the power industry due to what Head of EnergyAustralia’s Yallourn Power Station and Mine, Mark Pearson, described as “historically low female participation”.
These sentiments were echoed by Paul Helmore, UHT Factory Manager from Murray Goulburn Leongatha. He said the regional program addresses a significant gap in promoting STEM pathways for young women and helps “prepare women for array of positions that exist in a business”.
Another project that received support through the Regional Skills Fund is designed to give Gippsland secondary school students hands-on experience in key local industries. Students will be exposed to opportunities for employment in areas of workforce shortage, including advanced manufacturing, health, energy, mining, and food and fibre.
Participating students will increase from 300 to 500 and participating secondary schools will increase from 12 to 18. New industry partners to the program, Flavorite hydroponics, Exon Mobil and Fujitsu, will help increase industry participation from 12 to 19 members.