Experts predict that in the years to come, 75 per cent of the fastest growing occupations will require skills in science, technology, engineering or mathematics (STEM).
But we know that unless students are interested and engaged in STEM at an early age, they are unlikely to pursue a career in those fields.
Currently this isn’t the case, with more children dropping out of STEM subjects with every additional year of study. This partly reflects the way STEM subjects are taught, but it also happens because our teachers aren’t properly supported to engage young peoples’ natural curiosity.
This is now an urgent issue that requires immediate action.
Labor will provide 25,000 teaching scholarships over five years to new and recent graduates of STEM degrees to encourage them to continue their study and become a STEM teacher.
A STEM degree is the best background for teaching STEM in our schools, as people with qualifications and a passion for these subjects will be better able to connect with young Australians and engage them in their studies.
Labor’s Teach STEM initiative will provide an incentive payment to attract more STEM graduates to become teachers. Students that have just completed a STEM degree, or graduated within five years, will be able apply for the incentive payments. The payment of $15,000 will be structured so that $5,000 is paid upon commencement of the course of study, with the remaining paid after their first year in the classroom.
This initiative will increase the attractiveness of STEM teaching careers and boost the number of qualified STEM teachers in Australian classrooms. Labor will invest $133 million over four years to deliver our Teach STEM program.
Labor wants to upskill teachers and attract more STEM-qualified people into teaching because we understand that targeted investment across the education system to improve skills and drive innovation is vital to unlocking this country’s most important resource: the creativity and genius of Australia’s people.