Recent press suggests that our current high school students are avoiding the challenges of maths and sciences in Grades 11 and 12. Engineers Australia has been actively involved in a range of initiatives to counter this disturbing trend and encourage our youth towards our profession.
One such initiative, which we are keen for our members and their companies to support, is the annual Science and Engineering Challenge. The Challenge is an outreach program for Year 10 students aimed at changing their perceptions of science and engineering and inspiring them to study maths, physics and chemistry in years 11 and 12. Students are involved in an exhilarating day competing against other schools in fun and engaging hands-on activities involving principles of science, engineering and technology. By participating, they see that science and engineering involves creativity, innovation, problem solving and team work.
The Challenge is run throughout Australia by the University of Newcastle with assistance from Rotary clubs to secure the local logistics, secure sponsorship and provide volunteers. Across Australia it involves more than 24,000 students from over 800 schools. In Perth the Challenge involves 40 schools and 1280 students in Year 10. Challenge days are also run at numerous country centres in WA.
The Challenge has proved highly successful in encouraging students to build their futures in science and engineering. A recent survey of past participants showed 96% found the Challenge rewarding. Of those now undertaking tertiary studies in science or engineering, the Challenge influenced 35% of them to take their particular current degree.
Rotary and a large volunteer effort keeps costs to a minimum but the Challenge can only exist with sponsorship. The Rotary Club of Dalkeith has recently taken over responsibility for organising the Challenge in Perth and Engineers Australia is pleased to support their call to our membership to assist. A range of sponsorship packages are available and sponsors gain exposure to 1280 students across 40 of Perth’s schools, plus their relatives, friends, teachers, local businesses, universities, community groups and media publicity. For further information please email the Rotary Co-ordinator, Richard Gorham (Richard.Gorham@iinet.net.au ).