Liberal candidate for Mayo Georgina Downer brings engineering life to Yankalilla Area School students

Georgina Downer and Simon Birmingham listen to students at Yankalilla Area School on Wednesday, June 13.
Georgina Downer and Simon Birmingham listen to students at Yankalilla Area School on Wednesday, June 13.

Yankalilla Area School students are among the first in South Australia to take part in an innovative pilot program that introduces engineering concepts to primary school students.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham visited Yankalilla Area School with Liberal Candidate for Mayo Georgina Downer on Wednesday, June 13, to launch the Engineering is Elementary pilot program.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham visited Yankalilla Area School with Liberal Candidate for Mayo Georgina Downer on Wednesday, June 13, to launch the Engineering is Elementary pilot program.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham visited Yankalilla Area School with Liberal Candidate for Mayo Georgina Downer on Wednesday, June 13, to launch the Engineering is Elementary pilot program in South Australia.

Minister Birmingham said Yankalilla Area School was one of 88 schools across South Australia, Queensland and the ACT to participate in the pilot program.

“The Turnbull Government is committed to improving the STEM skills of young Australians through innovative and forward-thinking programs such as Engineering is Elementary,” Mr Birmingham said.

“Whilst there are numerous valuable programs that promote science, technology or maths in our schools, this one stands out for its primary focus on engineering skills and concepts. If we can spark a student’s interest in engineering concepts from an early age, this should drive more students to pursue related subjects throughout their school years and possibly into further study or training.”

Ms Downer said she hoped the program would inspire Yankalilla Area School students to consider pursuing a career in engineering.

“Engineering skills have been central to South Australia for decades. To ensure South Australia continues to sustain industries, businesses and jobs reliant on engineering skills into the future we need to expose school students to the subject from an early age,” Ms Downer said.

“This program is about starting the pathway for our next generation of engineers who will help to design and build everything from our future bridges to our future submarines. The government understands that young people living in regional communities deserve the same opportunities as their city counterparts, which is why I am determined to ensure more opportunities like this for Mayo school children in the future.”

The Engineering is Elementary program aims to provide teachers with a framework to deliver STEM content that can engage students by using engineering solutions to tackle real world problems. Originally created by the Boston Museum of Science in the United States, the program has been tailored for Australian schools by Questacon, Australia’s National Science and Technology Centre.

As part of the Engineering is Elementary program, teachers will participate in workshops delivered by Questacon, as well as receive resource kits, in-class support and access to online support materials including activities and class observation videos.

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