Bradken’s Innovation Centre recently hosted a visit from a group of female students from Lambton High School as part of our involvement with the University of Newcastle’s HunterWISE STEM Outreach program.
Run over 10-12 weeks the program provides female Year 8 students, from schools across the New South Wales Hunter region in Australia, the opportunity to work alongside STEM (Science, Engineering, Technology and Mathematics) academics and students from the University, and engage with industry sponsors to solve local community issues whilst developing their STEM skills.
A group of volunteers from across the Bradken business got together to host a day of learning, investigation and inspiration for the students in the Innovation Centre at our Newcastle office.
The program took the group on the journey of our products, from design and product development, to materials and seeing the parts in an operational setting, albeit virtually through an on-site VR experience.
The girls were also given the opportunity to engage with a few of our young female engineers over a Zoom chat, hearing from them about their educational and workplace experiences and asking questions about their choice of a STEM-based career.
Reece Attwood, Bradken’s Global R&D Manager, said it was great to be involved in inspiring a young audience with the possibilities to be had through a STEM education and to showcase that through Bradken’s products and our Innovation Centre.
“Our Innovation Centre provides a platform for the Bradken R&D team, research partners, customers and students thinking about a career in STEM, to train, discover and undertake key research in the innovation of Bradken products and materials.
“The development of our VR system for example, has supported strong growth in safely training customers and their teams in the installation and use of our products. Our Innovation Centre also houses equipment and a laboratory that we utilise to conduct faster design reviews, like the scanner and 3D printer, along with research in material composition to gain innovations.
“Our investment in R&D supplies our customers with new innovative solutions which improves safety, productivity and optimises their equipment and sites. It was exciting to take the students through the Centre so they could interact with this equipment to gain more insight into the innovative ways products are developed and manufactured.”
As digital technology becomes an increasingly core part of Bradken’s growth strategy to address our customers’ desire for smarter, more innovative solutions, our need to have the best skilled teams to help deliver them, is only going to increase.
Bradken’s involvement in the HunterWISE program this year, and in other female-focused STEM-based educational programs, like Puthri in India, is a way for us to encourage young female students to pursue these subjects as a pipeline to a possible STEM career in the future. It is also a way of actively fostering gender balance among the next generation of young STEM professionals.