Sparx sets STEM alight in its second year

Local Kwinana, Rockingham and Cockburn students see a bright future thanks to industry and university collaboration.

A science, technology, engineering and math (STEM) program for year 8 students was developed by Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy & Fertilisers in partnership with the Kwinana Industries Council and Murdoch University.

The Bright Sparx After-School Club builds student awareness and confidence in STEM subjects and careers by providing an opportunity to participate in unique activities outside of what they learn at school.

Now in its second year, over 80 students from seven different schools have participated in fun STEM activities such as forensic science, field ecology, coding and robotics, as well attending excursions to CSBP in Kwinana and Murdoch University. 

Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy & Fertilisers Chief Executive Officer, Ian Hansen, said that building STEM capability was important for the future growth of industry.

“The demand for employees with STEM-related skills has become increasingly important as emerging markets, globalisation and technological acceleration is transforming the way we do business.

“Being involved in Bright Sparx is a fantastic opportunity to showcase career opportunities available in STEM disciplines and foster a love of learning in STEM-related subjects,” said Mr Hansen.

Kwinana Industries Council Director, Chris Oughton, said the program is a great example of successful industry and university collaboration. 

 “The demand for STEM-related skills is increasing while participation in science and advanced math at school is declining. It is vital that industry and educational institutions work together to increase student participation in STEM subjects,” said Mr Oughton.

Recent participant Courtney Abernathy said the club exposed her to subjects outside of what she learnt at school.  

“I found the club very enlightening. I learnt so much and it was a great opportunity to meet new people and experience new things,” said Miss Abernathy.

Courtney’s mother Diana Abernathy echoed her sentiments.

“I think Courtney had a fantastic experience. She got to see and do things that she probably wouldn’t have if it wasn’t for Bright Sparx,” said Ms Abernathy.

Murdoch University Student Ambassadors coordinate the program activities and Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy & Fertilisers employees act as mentors, helping students understand the link between school subjects and possible career pathways.

The program will continue in 2018.

<ENDS>

Media contact: Alexis Westerside (08) 9312 9249 or 0421 878 279, awesterside@wescef.com.au