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Senior secondary years include Years 11 and 12. These are critical decision-making years for students.
Reasons to target this age group
- Year 10 is an important year as students make subject decisions for Year 11 and 12 that have the potential to isolate them from STEM education pathways.
- Year 11 and 12 provide an opportunity to focus on extending achievement in students who have chosen to remain in STEM, including promoting and supporting pathways into STEM careers and life-long learning.
Challenges in supporting this age group
- Students may be leaving school to pursue other pathways.
- Students have already formed impressions and attitudes about STEM that are difficult to change in senior secondary.
- There is a strong focus on formal outcomes e.g. achieving an ATAR score / specific qualifications and narrow scope within the curriculum to incorporate additional STEM education initiatives.
- Parents as major influencers of students’ post school plans and may lack knowledge about the importance of STEM education in relation to STEM career opportunities.
Want to know more?
Case study: STEMship, Regional Development Australia Hunter
STEMship is a STEM-based vocational education and training (VET) program for senior secondary students in the Hunter region of New South Wales, managed by Regional Development Australia Hunter. The multidisciplinary program is designed to equip students with skills that lead to employment in STEM-related industries. It features a combination of TAFE NSW units of competency, industry visits and targeted work placements. The program demonstrates that university study is not the only pathway to successful STEM careers. The program launched in 2016. Two-thirds of graduates in 2017 began apprenticeships and one-third continued on further VET courses.