STEM subjects take centre stage
Tuesday, 5 April 2016
When 32 school students visited Wesfarmers Chemicals, Energy & Fertilisers’ (WesCEF) Kwinana operations, which includes CSBP and Kleenheat, today they were exposed to a whole new side of industry, with robots, virtual reality and drones, all of which are currently used at varying levels at CSBP and Kleenheat, on show.
The visit was part of the Kwinana Industries Council (KIC) iWOMEN Project, which WesCEF has been involved in since its inception in 2012, however this year’s agenda focused more specifically on activities related to Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) subjects.
WesCEF General Manager Human Resources and Health, Safety and Environment, Liane Unewisse said STEM subjects were extremely important to WesCEF’s businesses.
“STEM skills have been identified as increasingly important for the competitiveness and future prosperity of Australia and since WesCEF employs engineering, accounting, information technology and science professionals and paraprofessionals, as well as tradespeople, STEM capability is also very important to the future of our businesses,” she said.
In addition to this, WesCEF has sought to be active in improving gender equality by promoting STEM employment pipelines to women, as announced by WesCEF’s Managing Director, Tom O’Leary, at a Committee for Economic Development of Australia (CEDA) event late last year.
“A significant part of the gender pay gap is due to the underrepresentation of women in non-traditional and higher earning roles; this underrepresentation is a direct outcome of the subject study choices that girls are making at school, and subsequently at university,” Tom explained.
“Nearly 25 per cent of girls take no mathematics subjects after Year 10, compared to 10 per cent of boys , and more and more girls are opting out of the full range of STEM subjects altogether,” he said.
“We’re thrilled to be partnering and sponsoring this year’s iWOMEN Project, and sincerely hope that by showcasing some of the more exciting aspects of STEM subjects, we can entice the young women involved in the Project to at least consider STEM subjects in Year 11 and 12,” Liane added.