PwC has offered two strategic relationships to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) education initiatives, Little Scientists Australia and Teach for Australia, and will work with them to help lift STEM education in Australia.
Little Scientists run workshops for early education providers to empower them to implement age-appropriate STEM exploration, and Teach for Australia help high-achieving graduates and professionals to start work as teachers in some of Australia’s most disadvantaged schools. Both organisations have been working with PwC for the past 12 months as part of the firm’s 21st Century Minds STEM education accelerator program.
“We’re really excited to be partnering with these two fantastic initiatives to help lift STEM education and promote the skills that are vital for our country’s future prosperity,” PwC Managing Partner and STEM Leader, Tony Peake said.
“We need better STEM content and skills development in the early years of education but it can be difficult to get support for spending because the economic payback doesn’t happen until the individual is through the education system and earning a wage. We’re working with Little Scientists to address the problem at the start.
“Little Scientists uses playful experiments about water, air, acoustics, energy, magnets and all sorts of things to get kids interested in STEM. We’re particularly excited about helping to take their workshops to regional and remote communities this year.
“Teachers teaching “out-of-field” - i.e. teaching a subject without specific training in that subject - is another issue affecting STEM education in Australia so we’re equally excited to be working with Teach for Australia to get our brightest university graduates and professionals with a passion for STEM into disadvantaged classrooms. With 75 percent of the fastest growing occupations requiring STEM skills, we must ensure no Australian kid is left behind,” he said.
Little Scientists, an initiative by FROEBEL Australia Limited, and Teach for Australia were selected by a panel of PwC leaders for their potential to have a significant impact on STEM education in Australia, as well as their potential for scale with PwC support. The initiatives will each receive $250,000 in in-kind services and will work with a PwC partner sponsor to determine how the firm can best support their growth.
PwC offered strategic relationships to two of the 20 initiatives that have gone through the firm’s 12 month 21st Century Mind Accelerator program aimed at rapidly scaling some of Australia’s most promising STEM education initiatives. The program was backed by the Office of the Chief Scientist and some of Australia’s largest corporates, including: Google, NAB, BP and GE.
Speaking about the opportunity, Sibylle Seidler from Little Scientists said: “Little Scientists Australia is excited and proud to have been chosen by PwC for a strategic relationship. As a not-for-profit organisation with the overarching objective of making high quality education accessible to all children we strongly identify with PwC's purpose “of building trust in society and solving important problems”.
“We truly believe that we can change the educational landscape of Australia. Together with our Early Childhood educators and teachers, and strong strategic partners, we ignite curious minds. We know collaboration is key to our success and long-term impact. So, it is with great joy, excitement and pride, that we are partnering with PwC.”
Founder and CEO Melodie Potts Rosevear from Teach For Australia added: “We’re excited that PwC have seen merit in the Teach For Australia program, particularly as 40 to 50 per cent of our participants are from STEM backgrounds and teach STEM subjects in disadvantaged secondary schools.
“We are thrilled PwC will work with us to understand what further value there might be to bringing such STEM specialists into earlier years, for example early childhood and primary education settings. This is such an important priority for our students and also our nation’s prosperity.”
Notes for Editors:
About PwC’s 21st Century Minds Accelerator Program:
The 21st Century Minds (21CM) Accelerator Program is designed to unearth, grow and scale Australia’s best STEM education initiatives focused on building Australia’s pipeline of innovators and problem solvers. To find out more visit: http://www.21stcenturyminds.com.au/
About Little Scientists:
The Little Scientists program facilitates children’s natural curiosity for STEM in the early years. Little Scientists believe in taking Early Childhood educators and teachers on a continuous learning journey and therefore offer a Professional Development program that is ongoing with a variety of different STEM topics. To find out more visit: http://littlescientists.org.au/
About Teach for Australia:
Teach For Australia provides an innovative national solution to STEM teacher shortages in the schools that need it most. As an employment-based pathway, TFA attracts highly talented STEM graduates and career-changers into teaching, directly addressing STEM teacher shortages in rural and disadvantaged schools. To find out more visit: http://teachforaustralia.org/
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