Seven new organisations focused on science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) related projects in Melbourne’s West are the lucky recipients of grants from the Toyota Community Trust.
The Toyota Community Trust was created by Toyota Australia in October of 2017 to honour the legacy of its proud history of local manufacturing in Australia.
Initiated through a $32 million endowment, the Trust aims to encourage young people in Melbourne’s West to pursue further study and careers in STEM.
The grant recipients are: Gene Technology Access Centre (GTAC), In2science, Makers Empire, Power of Engineering, Questacon, Spark and National Youth Science Forum.
“The future of mobility will be determined by the next generation of STEM talent. Toyota Australia has played an integral role in Australian communities for more than 50 years and is proud to continue to support young Australians to pursue careers in STEM,” Mike Rausa, Chairman of the Toyota Community Trust, said.
GTAC (Gene Technology Access Centre) provides educational life science experiences to Victorian students and educators through engagement with practicing scientists, contemporary knowledge and technology. Toyota is funding a professional learning program for teachers, and an outreach program that immerses students in exploring how digital technologies are advancing medicine.
In2science, a La Trobe University-led collaboration with The University of Melbourne, RMIT University, Swinburne University of Technology and Monash University, places STEM university students into high schools as peer mentors. Over 10 weekly visits per semester, mentors will build meaningful relationships with students and their teachers. Toyota is funding 30 mentors to be placed in six schools, reaching up to 300 year 7 to 10 students. Funding will also enable In2science to develop additional training materials for mentors that will see them engage in more meaningful conversations about career-planning in STEM fields.
Makers Empire offers 3D printing learning programs for elementary, primary and middle schools, and makes STEM learning fun and engaging through real-world problem-solving and ‘Design Thinking’. Toyota funding will enable two teachers from eight selected schools in Western Melbourne to complete a ‘Learning By Design’ course. The participating teachers will then plan, teach, evaluate and document a unit of work incorporating 3D technologies in STEM learning.
Power of Engineering brings together universities, the engineering industry, and schools to provide opportunities for young people to better understand engineering and how it impacts our world. Toyota is funding five, one-day events for year 9 and 10 high school students and their teachers, expected to be attended by 600 students and 60 teachers in total. The event will include a variety of engaging hands-on workshops, industry experiences, site tours and presentations from inspiring and passionate engineers.
Questacon – The National Science and Technology Centre promotes a greater understanding and awareness of science and technology within the community by making learning a fun, interactive and relevant experience. Toyota funding will create a professional learning program for 40 primary school teachers, 40 high school teachers and 40 school leaders. The program will address barriers to students pursuing STEM related studies, provide students with access to quality learning environments and experiences and support teachers to strengthen their STEM teaching skills. Teachers will be equipped with the resources, skills and confidence to effectively implement STEM experiences within their classrooms, schools and broader networks.
Spark Engineering Camp (Youth Without Borders) is a volunteer run, week- long, residential camp held on university grounds, with activities focussed on STEM learning for year 10-12 high school students. Through the social setting, students will experience university life and discover what engineering has to offer. Toyota funding is enabling additional students from Melbourne’s West to attend the camp in 2019.
National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) runs a wide variety of engaging and rewarding residential programs to encourage young students in their passion for STEM and to inspire further study and careers in the field. Toyota funding supports the program and secures several dedicated spots in the NYSF 2020 Year 12 Program for year 12 students from disadvantaged schools in Melbourne’s Western suburbs.