‘New Scitech’ 5 yr plan transformation
Chief executive Deb Hancock says Scitech aims to broaden its reach.
Jenne Brammer, Full STEM ahead for Scitech transformation, The West Australian, 13 August 2018
Scitech has for 30 years been one of WA’s big success stories for showcasing the best of science and technology to youngsters.
And a “New Scitech” five-year plan, to be revealed today, provides a blueprint for a transformation for Scitech to reach and engage a much wider demographic.
Chief executive Deb Hancock said Scitech, until now, had been pitched mostly at the four to 12 age group, aiming to deliver stimulating and inspiring STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths) skills and knowledge.
As part of the transformation, the science centre will still provide interactive, educational displays but the organisation plans to vastly broaden its reach so all ages, including existing STEM professionals and those considering a career change, can benefit.
“The intention is to enable more West Australians to be able to fulfil future STEM-enabled workforce pipeline requirements, equipping them for jobs of the future,” she said.
There will be an increased focus on technology, given the shift towards artificial intelligence, autonomous vehicles, machine learning and augmented reality.
Ms Hancock, who took over as head of Scitech 11 months ago, said it was more important than ever to support the development of STEM skills, given 75 per cent of the fastest-growing occupations required STEM skills and knowledge.
“This means that people who don’t have STEM skills will be locked out of 75 per cent of the fastest growing jobs, creating a bigger gap between the haves and the have-nots, which is concerning,” she said.
Ms Hancock said it was Scitech’s responsibility to provide equity of access for all people to develop these skills.
Therefore, it would aim for deeper reach and engagement where there are low levels of STEM participation — in particular Aboriginals, young women, rural and remote residents and those in lower socio-economic groups.
Those segments would be partially captured though increased focus on digital delivery and engagement.
Other plans include West Perth-based Scitech relocating to a new home by 2023.
The new and bigger state-of-the-art science centre, still to be in the CBD, will include a “science cafe” where lab-grown meat, 3D-printed space food and hydroponically grown produce will be served. The location has not yet been finalised.
Scitech engages 500,000 West Australians each year.
“Scitech intends to empower and equip West Australians with the STEM skills that are required for the jobs of the future,” Ms Hancock said.
The “New Scitech” plan was aligned with the State Government’s commitment to a STEM skills strategy and supported shared priorities across industry and education, she said.
The State Government contributes 49 per cent of Scitech’s funding.