Student interest for learning about STEM has reached impressive heights with more than 700 schools signing up to a new program.

The ‘Day of Stem’ platform is an online careers simulation website which aims to empower students to pursue careers in STEM.

One module, ‘Women in STEM’, guides users through sections where they virtually interact with mentors and build a resume of their skillset.

Mentors currently aligned with the program include Westpac CIO Anastasia Cammaroto, Deloitte Consulting Technology Director, Sonia Haque, and AMP Director Customer Solutions, Tzipi Avioz, among other female ICT professionals.

These mentors answer common questions students may have about the ICT sector through pre-recorded videos. 

Launched in March by LifeJourney, and headed by the company’s Strategic Partnerships Vice-President Tim Edwards, the program has already seen 700 schools sign up, representing about 135,000 students. It is free for students, parents, teachers, and schools.

Compared to other programs offered on the platform, Edwards said the registration rate for Women in STEM has been slightly above average.

“The interest has been from all states and across different school sectors,” he said.

Edwards said organisations are keen to find innovative solutions to increase the number of girls entering STEM.

Though targeted at students (year 7 to university), the program is designed so to be accessible to anyone.

“We have sign up options for parents and teachers, which allows them to understand what is offered to students and teach them to think critically about roles in STEM,” said Edwards.

Feedback from students shows they find the program’s features to tell them what the path to their chosen role helpful, as well as telling them what the qualifications required to reach that position are.

Edwards hopes the program will expand its capacity for outreach and partner with more girls’ schools to increase interest levels in STEM.

“Students, especially young girls, thrive seeing real role models. Profiling women on this program encourages them to put their STEM journey and goals into perspective,” he said.

ACS has partnered with LifeJourney to support this STEM initiative.

“As identified in our ACS’ Promise of Diversity Report, we are at a time when Australia is facing a serious shortage of skilled ICT professionals. As an example, women represent only 28 per cent of the ICT workforce compared to 43 per cent represented across the wider professional workforce” said ACS Membership Director Daniel Reihana.

“ACS is committed to the establishment of a national Diversity Taskforce as announced at our National Diversity Summit by the then Vice President – Communities Arnold Wong. This taskforce will develop practical and tangible solutions to the recommendations of this report and will focus on addressing issues and opportunities that diversity in gender, age, cultural and other identified groups can provide to the growth of the sector and wider Australian economy.”

Other programs that have been held on Day of STEM are the 2016 STEM Cup and Australia 2020.