Increasing the number of women in STEM careers

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This story was first published on Wednesday 26 April 2023. If you wish to use this content, please contact to confirm that the information is still current.

STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) skills are crucial to the success of Australia’s changing economy. Building an inclusive and diverse STEM workforce ensures we can take full advantage of the jobs of the future. Encouraging women and girls to consider a career in STEM is one of the ways we can build a skilled workforce.

Since 2020, the Women in STEM Cadetships and Advanced Apprenticeships Program has provided opportunities for women to upskill or build STEM careers.

As part of the program, there are currently 16 higher education providers designing and delivering STEM courses for women across Australia.

One of those providers is Flinders University through its Diploma of Digital Technologies course.

Kelly Schubert, a teacher from the regional state school Balaklava High upskilled as a STEM teacher. The additional skills she learned has empowered her to run a ‘Numeracy Enrichment’ program at her school.

“I needed to upskill in digital technologies and their applications in industry so when my line manager told me about this opportunity, I jumped straight in. I started this year with a basic understanding of STEM and very little idea of how to bring it to my classroom in a meaningful way. Now one year in, my knowledge has grown immensely,” said Kelly.

“The support, flexibility and industry knowledge provided by the amazing people running this program has made it so easy to complete even while working full time. Digital technology in industry is the future and Flinders University is leading the way, get on it!"

Image of two women standing. One of the two women is holding a baby.

Photo of regional teachers Kelly Schubert from Balaklava High (left) and Linda Tsai from St Philip’s College in Alice Springs (right).

Other students have benefited from the program including Diploma student from BAE Systems Australia, Operations Performance Analyst Lead, Emma who says:

“Upskilling our employees will prepare our workforce for new developments within an ever-changing digital world. Through the Diploma of Digital Technologies, I’ve developed new skills in Design for Manufacture, enabling me to design and create my own 3D objects. I’m also now equipped with programming capabilities, thanks to Cyber-physical Systems, Robotics & Automation, increasing my understanding of the potential for digitisation and innovation to benefit the broader defence industry.”

Image of a woman wearing a hi vis vest and hard hat

Photo of Diploma student Operations Performance Analyst Lead Emma from BAE Systems Australia (photo credit BAE Systems Australia)

From teaching and defence to the wine industry – the program is supporting women across many sectors. Gemma Charles who works as a Commercial Manager for Pernod Ricard Winemakers has enjoyed her time studying. 

“As my first semester comes to a close, I have learned so much about cyber security, Industry 4.0, and innovation, and how these topics apply to my work and industry. I have found the content of the diploma to be easy to digest, highly flexible and the lecturers to be very supportive,” said Gemma.

Image of a woman standing in front of greenery holding a glass of wine

Photo of Diploma participant Gemma Charles Commercial Manager – Third Party, Pernod Ricard Winemakers

Places are still available at a range of Australian universities for women interested in engaging in the program and expanding their STEM skills. Explore the website for more information and contact the university directly if you’re interested.

Correct at time of publication.