The Shoalhaven region is set to benefit from a NSW Government program that upskills and prepares school leavers for technical apprenticeships and traineeships in the region’s defence industry.

Minister for Skills and Tertiary Education Geoff Lee today announced the expansion to the Shoalhaven of the STEMship program that has been operating successfully in the Hunter region since 2016.

“It’s a Vocational Education and Training (VET) pre-employment program originally designed in partnership with TAFE NSW,” Mr Lee said.

“It aims to transition participants from school into employment via technical apprenticeships, traineeships, and further study hence providing an alternative pathway to direct university entry.”

The Shoalhaven’s first 15-strong cohort this week commenced the 17-week program that comprises a combination of Certificate II Aeroskills training, work placement and industry visits.

Aerospace Training Services Australia is delivering a customised Shoalhaven program that will equip participants with a multi-disciplinary skills set including science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills as well as entrepreneurship skills.

“The defence sector in NSW is already worth in excess of $9 billion the Shoalhaven expansion will assist the region to meet the growing needs for a skilled workforce to fulfil defence contracts that local companies like Lockheed Martin, BAE Systems and Global Defence Solutions have secured,” Mr Lee said.

Mr Lee said the STEMship program was created in the Hunter region by Regional Development Australia (RDA) Hunter.

In the Hunter region, 65 per cent of the 47 school leavers who have participated in the program since its inception in 2016, have been placed in apprenticeships and traineeships with participating industry partners.

RDA Hunter Chair, Mr John Turner said STEMship has produced real outcomes for school leavers and industry partners in the region where defence is an important economic driver.

“We are very pleased the NSW government has recognised the value of our model and seen fit to replicate it in the Shoalhaven,” he said.

“We are looking forward to working with our counterparts at RDA Far South Coast to ensure the continued success of the program.”

RDA Far South Coast Chair, Councillor Rob Pollock said the expansion of the STEMship program into the Shoalhaven region assists with meeting future workforce needs for the Defence Industry and demonstrates the collaborative benefit of the Regional Development Australia network.

“The investment into the Defence Industry locally continues to grow,” Cr Pollock said.

“The opportunity to build the STEM capability in our young people and offer career opportunities by connecting participants with future employers through the STEMship model is a valuable investment by the NSW State government.”

• 2019 Shoalhaven STEMship industry partners include Sikorsky – Lockheed Martin, Air Affairs Australia, BAE Systems, Global Defence Solutions and Nowchem

About RDA Hunter
RDA Hunter works with the three levels of government, industry, other RDAs and local communities to support the economic development of the Hunter. In collaboration with relevant stakeholders, entrepreneurs and emerging business leaders, RDA Hunter is exploring opportunities to sustain a strong local economy, create local jobs, attract investment, foster innovation and, by working with industry and educators, build the skilled workforce of the future.

About RDA Far South Coast
RDA – Far South Coast is a key facilitator for change and development in the NSW South Coast region. We work towards the growth of the economy and the creation of increased job opportunities. As part of our economic development role RDA – Far South Coast places a strong emphasis on the strengthening of infrastructure, including social infrastructure and building the capability of our youth.