A re-elected Turnbull Coalition Government will invest $31.2 million in internships and post-school career advice to increase support for women and girls to choose to study and work in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM).
Pledged days before the country heads to the polls, the Coalition has committed $28.2 million to provide 1,400 internships for PhD researchers and $3 million to develop a new and contemporary National Career Education Strategy.
“Women make up only around one quarter of the STEM workforce and with 75 per cent of the fastest-growing industries requiring STEM skills, it’s clear there’s still work to be done,” Prime Minister, Malcolm Turnbull, said.
According to Turnbull, international experience in Canada has shown that 60 per cent of students doing internships are employed in the same business two years later and a decade later are earning around $10,000 more than the baseline salary in their field.
“The Coalition’s $28.2 million evidence-based STEM internships investment is proven to work and will help the Australian Mathematical Sciences Institute expand its PhD internships to a national-scale programme, supported by industry, with a particular focus on women researchers,” Turnbull explained.
Turnbull said the programme “breaks down the silos” that exist between employees, employers and research by embedding PhD researchers in businesses to ensure they are honing the skills industry needs and delivering real-world social and economic benefits for Australia.
“Our support for STEM needs to start from a young age,” Turnbull said. “We will build on our various STEM programmes for pre-schools and primary and secondary students by focusing on tackling the perception amongst students, teachers and parents that STEM subjects and careers are more suited to boys than girls.”
As a result, Turnbull said a re-elected Coalition will invest $3 million to improve current career and post school advice by working with industry and states and territories and the non-government sector to develop a new and contemporary National Career Education Strategy.