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Indigenous Students Get a Taste of STEM Careers with QUT and Industry Leaders

Now in its fifth year, the Science and Infrastructure Development (SID) School hosted at the Queensland University of Technology (QUT) Oodgeroo Unit in partnership with WSP, welcomed 30 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from across Queensland.


Image: SID school students interacting with WSP staff, Julia Carpenter, Director Indigenous Participation and Jenny MacMahon, Director of Environment ANZ

The students participated in a five-day residential camp over the school holidays to get a glimpse of tertiary education pathways, STEM careers and workplaces whilst maintaining a strong connection to Indigenous culture. Also, returning as SID school ambassadors, were seven alumni with close ties to the program to help mentor current students.

Professor Anita Lee Hong, Director of the Oodgeroo Unit at QUT said, “through SID School we are committed to increasing Indigenous participation at university. Support of young students is one of the most impactful ways of building positive relationships with the Indigenous community.”

Strong support of the SID School and other STEM camps is part of WSP’s commitment to closing the gap and aligns with the strategic objectives laid out in our Reconciliation Action Plan. As engineers, scientists, planners, designers and influencers we are in a unique position to effect scale change working with institutions like the Oodgeroo Unit and our industry partners. Supporting young leaders of tomorrow, particularly from Indigenous backgrounds helps us lay strong foundations in designing integrated communities of the future.

SID School through partnership with University and Corporate sponsors allows high school students, often from disadvantaged backgrounds, some insight and guidance into the various options for tertiary education and work experience available to them in STEM fields where Indigenous communities are currently under-represented. Highlights for this year’s camp included visits to several Gold Coast 2018 Commonwealth Games venues including the Aquatic Centre, Gold Coast Light Rail Stage 2, Athletes Village and Metricon Stadium (home of the Gold Coast Suns) that will host the Opening and Closing Ceremonies, Lone Pine wildlife sanctuary, Gallipoli Army barracks and site visits to WSP’s Brisbane office.

Pre and post camp surveys with attendees is reflective of the impact the camp has on student opinions and beliefs. In the post-camp student survey 2017, nearly double theparticipants 50% (15 respondents) strongly agreed at the end of the SID Camp that they believe there are a number of ways to get into university even without a high OP compared to the pre-camp survey where only 30% (9 respondents) strongly agreed to the same statement.

WSP’s Regional Director for QLD, Gerard Ryan said, “We are proud to partner with QUT Oodgeroo Unit and support young Indigenous student participation in STEM education and careers. In designing integrated, inclusive and diverse communities of the future, Indigenous participation is critical.”

For more information on SID School, please visit www.sidschool.com.au

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