Minister for Defence Materiel: Preparing Our Kids for the Jobs of the Future

Minister for Defence Materiel, Jason Clare and Member for Newcastle, Sharon Grierson today launched Phase 2 of the Manufacturing Success Through Education (ME) Program at the BAE Systems Williamtown facility.

The ME Program is a partnership between local industry and local schools to help students find their future career path.

“The ME Program gives students and their teachers the opportunity to visit Defence industries and see first hand how maths and science applies in the real world,” Mr Clare said.

“More than 400 local high school students participated in the pilot phase of this program. It is expected that 800 students will participate in Phase 2 of the program.”

The schools participating in phase 2 of the ME program are:

  • Callaghan College (three campuses- Waratah High School, Wallsend High School and Jesmond Senior High School)
  • Newcastle High School
  • St Paul’s High School Booragul
  • West Wallsend High School
  • Hunter River High School
  • Maitland Grossmann High School
  • Kotara High School
  • San Clemente High School Mayfield.

“A great example of what the program offers is the visit students from St Paul’s High School made to Forgacs where they were able to see construction work being done for the Air Warfare Destroyer,” Mr Clare said.

“The Air Warfare Destroyer is a big project for jobs and for Defence. It will employ up to 3,000 Australians and about 200 apprentices.

“In order for our students to take advantage of this project and other Defence projects, it is vital that they develop advance maths and science skills.

“The Defence industry will also benefit from this program. Finding and retaining skilled workers is one of the great challenges facing the Defence industry.

“This program gives industry a chance to meet potential future employees.”

Ms Grierson said the Defence Industry was a major employer in the Hunter region.

“The Hunter has benefited greatly from having a diversity of Defence companies, from prime companies like BAE systems through to Forgacs, Varley Engineering and Ampcontrol.

“It is fantastic to see these Defence companies inspiring our local high school students to develop career paths in their industry.

“I would like to congratulate the Hunter Regional Development Board, the local high schools and industry partners for this successful program.”
The ME Program is one of three school pathways programs that have been established under the Industry Skilling Enhancement package of initiatives established by the Federal Government. The other school pathways programs were established in South Australia and Western Australia.

The Australian Government is committed to ensuring that we have the skills necessary to support the Defence sector. Over the next five years, more than $138 million is being invested to strengthen the skills base of defence industry, create pathways into the sector and to address potential skills shortages.

Media contact: Korena Flanagan – 02 6277 7620

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