With around 30 per cent of Australia's 15-year-olds not achieving the baseline standards for reading, maths or science (STEM), Commonwealth Bank is encouraging students to think differently about their studies.
The Wired for Wonder Youth Summit, held last Friday (14 September) in Sydney, was developed to inspire students about the possibilities available to them, blending science, technology and the arts in an interactive and engaging forum.
Featuring internationally recognised speakers, including Boost Juice Founder Janine Allis, educator and technologist Frances Valentine, and Emergent CEO and strategist Holly Ransom, more than 400 high-school students from 25 NSW schools attended the event at the National Institute of Dramatic Arts (NIDA).
Sessions covered topics including entrepreneurism, design thinking, creativity, confidence building, goal setting, stress management and science and technology.
Sharon Collins, Commonwealth Bank’s Head of Future Talent and Community Inclusion, said although often not fully recognised, the links between STEM and the arts were profound.
“Arts provides an avenue to explore, create, and imagine. To be successful in STEM, students need to be comfortable in thinking differently and using creativity to approach and solve problems,” Ms Collins said.
“A focus for the Youth Summit was to build students' confidence and to break down the misconceptions about a potential career in science or technology, by displaying the different career and study pathways that are available.
“As one of the country’s largest employers, we are increasingly looking to employ people with a range of different skills and backgrounds to better meet the needs of our customers.
“We are hiring more people from fields not traditionally associated with banking or finance, with the latest intake from our 2018 Graduate Program including students who studied arts, social science and drama.”
Since 2015, Commonwealth Bank has invested more than $50 million into initiatives that help improve STEM capabilities within schools and universities, provide education about cyber security, and improve financial wellbeing.