Representatives from Regional Development Australia – Far South Coast (RDA FSC), Regional Development Australia – Hunter, the Shoalhaven Defence Industry Group (SDIG), Mission Australia, Defence NSW, Training Services NSW and the NSW Department of Premier and Cabinet gathered at the Aerospace Training Services new training facility in South Nowra on January 30th to celebrate the graduation of students from the 2019 Shoalhaven STEMship Program.

Developed by RDA Hunter, STEMship is an innovative vocational education and training (VET) pre-employment program open to young people who have completed Year 10. Designed to bridge the gap between secondary school and university STEM programs, STEMship is an industry-led program that helps guide students into technical apprenticeships and traineeships and/or continue on with VET courses. STEMship is supported by the NSW Department of Industry via Training Services NSW and Defence NSW.

The 21-week program included a combination of technical training and work placement (25 hours per week), industry site visits to promote awareness of employment pathways and completion of a nationally accredited qualification – the Certificate II in Aeroskills. Students were also exposed to opportunities to gain work placement with the Shoalhaven region’s innovative organisations.

To date, outcomes for the STEMship program have been positive with one student already employed as an apprentice and the majority of students currently undergoing recruitment.

The NSW Defence Advocate, Air Marshal (Ret) John Harvey AM PhD said, “The NSW Government is committed to supporting the future skilled workforce needs of the defence industry across regional New South Wales. The Shoalhaven STEMship Program is a key initiative providing training and employment opportunities to local youth, whilst ensuring that small-to-medium defence enterprises and prime contractors have access to skilled talent.”

Chair of RDA FSC, Rob Pollock OAM, said, “RDA FSC and our STEMship partners are proud of the efforts of our graduating students. We acknowledge the high level of support provided by the employers in the Shoalhaven and look forward implementing further success stories across our region.”