News | What is STEM and why is it so important to your child's future?

Posted 20 June 2017 by Catholic Education in News

An estimated 75 per cent of jobs in the fastest-growing industries in the next five to ten years will need science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills and almost all jobs will require ICT literacy (National STEM School Education Strategy 2015).

STEM is a cross-disciplinary approach to

  • Science
  • Technology
  • Engineering
  • Mathematics

STEM learning engages students in authentic, real-world learning experiences where they develop the skills to work collaboratively and independently to solve problems.


Take a moment to consider the key skills needed in today's workplace: problem solving, communication, active learning, critical, creative and analytical thinking, and the ability to work in teams and independently. When students engage in rich and authentic STEM learning they develop these skills, enhancing their employment prospects regardless of their eventual chosen careers.  

STEM skills will be critical to the future wellbeing of the majority of Australian workers. Statistics include:

  • In the past 10 years STEM related job growth has been 3 times higher than non STEM job growth

  • STEM jobs pay 12%-30% more regardless of education level

  • The non-STEM job unemployment rate is twice that of STEM related jobs.

Some of the ways our primary schools in the Diocese of Wollongong are addressing STEM learning: 

  • Engaged students in coding challenges, competitions and the “Hour of Code”
  • Participated in Robotics challenges and competitions

  • Held STEM immersion days and challenges

  • Built Rube Goldberg Machines

  • Designed and built Arduino and Raspberry Pi microprocessor controlled projects.

In the secondary schools students take the skills and knowledge developed in the primary years and build on them by engaging in experiences such as:

  • The Stage 5 iSTEM course

  • Competing in “F1 in Schools” (In 2015 Magdalene Catholic High School was ranked 2nd in the world)

  • Creating in Makerspaces

  • Building and coding robotics systems

  • Building and refining Bottle Rockets

  • The STEM Video Game Challenge.

Initiatives such as those listed above are wonderful learning opportunities. However, STEM is a mainstream component of learning in our schools. Through participation in Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics learning experiences students from Catholic schools in the Diocese of Wollongong develop their STEM skills and this enhances their learning throughout and beyond school.

You can learn more about STEM initiatives in Catholic Education Diocese of Wollongong, by viewing our STEM Strategy 2017-2019.   

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