The demand for science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics (STEAM) related skills continues to grow in a range of industries, but a recent report in Australia revealed a significant decline in the percentage of Australian students who study physics or advanced mathematics by the time they reach Year 12 of school.
STEAM skills in our workforce are vital to modernize our global society through creative thinking, technical development and application. As the President of Viasat’s Government Systems business, I continue to look at how talents in STEAM can aid our military forces globally to deter the emerging threats of tomorrow. And therefore, at Viasat, we are committed to finding ways to provide students with opportunities to pursue those STEAM-related careers.
And we’re not alone. The Australian Department of Defence is taking steps to foster new STEAM opportunities for Australians to leverage trade and technical skills to support the Australian Defence Force.
Specifically in Australia, Viasat employees are engaging with communities and schools throughout the country to inspire and educate students about what’s possible in a STEAM career. As part of this engagement, three years ago we began our partnership with The Australian National University, Northrop Grumman and Optus to develop a scholarship program that would help students pursue degrees in STEAM fields.
Today, we continue this partnership with our commitment to help fund the Country Scholarship to Burgmann College. As part of the scholarship program, each year two students are selected to receive AU$10,500 per year for three years to pursue STEAM degrees and assist with accommodation expenses. The scholarship provides an opportunity to:
- Improve access to tertiary education for students from rural and regional areas;
- Enhance the skills of rural and regional students in the STEAM fields; and
- Enable rural and regional students to be part of the residential community at Burgmann College.
Ultimately, we hope this scholarship helps students throughout Australia pursue their passion and realize their full potential to succeed in today’s digital economy. Whether these skills support the Australian Defence Force, or enable the ability to develop technology to eradicate a disease, the possibilities are nearly endless.
A version of this article was originally published in the July, 2018 edition of Asia Pacific Defence Reporter.