STEM INDUSTRY SCHOOL PARTNERSHIP (SISP) is a contemporary and proven education model that, in partnership with industry, is inspiring students to study STEM and prepare for their futures. It is a dynamic program that is actively growing students’ job readiness skills and contributing to the international competitiveness of regional NSW.
As part of its suite of regional STEM initiatives, the NSW Department of Education Secondary Curriculum Learning and Teaching Directorate leads the STEM Industry School Partnerships [SISP] Program. Delivered in association with Regional Development Australia offices and Academies of STEM Excellence, SISP builds a Kindergarten to Year 12 STEM education continuum, with an emphasis on the primary to secondary transition, and promotes pathways to STEM jobs for students across regional NSW.
Guided by the recommendations of the Education Council’s National STEM School Education Strategy [December 2015] and Optimising STEM industry-school partnerships: Inspiring Australia’s Next Generation [April 20181, SISP partners schools and industry to facilitate contextualised, job-specific STEM learning activities, and teacher professional development to improve STEM expert knowledge.
It matches primary and secondary schools with region-specific industry partners and provides industry-specific technology programs to make classroom learning relevant and engaging. It aims to give students an awareness and understanding of STEM jobs and pathways to them as well as a broad set of technical and enterprise skills.
TEACHER PROFESSIONAL LEARNING
SISP is delivered in partnership with Academies of STEM Excellence in regional NSW. An initiative of the Cessnock High School Learning Community, the Academies of STEM Excellence which are now active in a number of NSW locations, were established to improve STEM expert knowledge in the Cessnock learning community, engage teachers in future-focused learning and teaching practices, and help teachers engage and inspire a passion for STEM in their students. Involving both the primary and secondary schools in each of their locations, the establishment of these Academies are the pivotal component of the STEM continuum upon which SISP is based. In 2018 the Academies were established in Cessnock, Canobolas, Crookwell, and have expanded with the SISP program.
SISP facilitates an extensive program of teacher professional development each year through the Academy. Teachers have access to a range of discipline-specific sessions that include Google for Education STEM Professional Development, Jaguar Primary School Challenge [Re-Engineering Australia], SISP Challenge Days and SMART Discovery Days [The University of Newcastle], STEM Entrepreneurship Education [Tech Girls Movement], STARLab Mars Rover Program, Digital Technologies, iSTEM curriculum development and STEM Equipment Lending Library.
The Regional NSW Future Focused Learning Conference is staged annually as part of SISP. It provides teachers with an intensive, hands-on learning experience focused on curriculum, pedagogy and skills development. It provides delegates with practical knowledge and insights that assist them to develop and implement their own future focused learning initiatives and it stimulates thinking and discussions about the importance of STEM education.
UNDERSTANDING WORKFORCE NEEDS
SISP collaborates with Regional Development Australia [RDA) offices across NSW. Networking extensively within their communities, RDAs deliver insights into the industrial base, economic conditions, workforce requirements and skills gaps in their regions and act as a conduit between schools and industry to foster mutually beneficial partnerships – which underpin SISP.
INDUSTRY SCHOOL PARTNERSHIP
SISP Industry school partnerships are mutually beneficial: students have direct access to relevant, age-specific industry focused STEM activities, industry mentoring, incursions and excursions; while industry has the opportunity to engage with its future workforce – to nurture young people and encourage them to elevate their skills in preparation for actual jobs of the future.
Most SISP industry partners are region-specific and chosen for the future STEM job opportunities they offer in their locations. Innovative and exciting sectors including agri-tech, renewable energy, transport and infrastructure and mining & natural resources are participating in SISP across NSW. And, consistent with the NSW Department of Industry’s Cyber Security Industry Development Strategy, SISP is helping prepare students for STEM careers in the opportunity-rich cyber security industry throughout all SISP regions.
SOLVING REAL-WORLD PROBLEMS
Contemporary, stimulating curriculum is key to student engagement. SISP is based on a program of industry-specific, real world, scenario-based workshop lessons. It builds on the iSTEM curriculum model developed by RDA Hunter’s ME Program and the NSW Department of Education which exposes students to in-class, team-based projects that are focused on solving ‘real’ problems often posed by partner industries.
Students are mentored by STEM teachers; through incursions, have direct access to industry representatives who make their industries ‘real” during incursions; and undertake excursions to industry locations to see first-hand how the STEM skills learnt in the classroom apply in the workplace.
FOR FURTHER INFORMATION ABOUT SISP CONTACT:
Dr Scott Sleap Project Lead firstname.lastname@example.org +61 409 366 504