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Ampcontrol partners with schools outreach program to boost women in stem industries

Ampcontrol Employees at IWD Breakfast

Strengthening its commitment to providing a diverse workforce and the next generation of innovators, Ampcontrol has announced its sponsorship of Hunter-based industry schools outreach program HunterWiSE.

HunterWiSE is an initiative for women and girls in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) aimed to positively impact perceptions of STEM careers amongst school-aged girls to increase overall participation by women.

According to the Australian Government Department of Industry, Science and Resources The state of STEM gender equity in 2022, released 23 September 2022, women only make up 27% of the workforce across all STEM industries. In the past 12 months, Ampcontrol has seen a 24.1% increase in female employees within its global workforce. 

“Ampcontrol is serious about creating diverse teams with women an important and integral part of the vibrant engineering and technology world.  We recognise the need to engage students at an early stage in their learning before they reach their final years in school. There are a number of career pathways we offer at Ampcontrol, and we have strong ties with local schools and The University of Newcastle to get young people excited by a career in STEM. We believe it's vitally important for industry and education to work together," said Mikhaila Halford, Ampcontrol Capability Development Manager. 

"Our involvement in the HunterWiSE Program will allow Ampcontrol to partner with students from a local school, where we can provide mentoring and support to inspire young women to pursue a career in engineering." 

Professor Anna Giacomini is a co-founder of HunterWiSE. She is also the Director of the University of Newcastle's Priority Research Centre for Geotechnical Science and Engineering. She recognises that the success of HunterWiSE initiatives is due in part to the contributions of industry partners, who provide opportunities for students to learn about and explore a wide range of STEM careers.

Announcing the sponsorship at an International Women's Day breakfast attended by over 100 Ampcontrol employees in Newcastle, special guest Professor Anna Giamcomini said:

“If you don't show that these options are available career paths early enough to allow them to choose relevant subjects, it will be too late. It's why our HunterWiSE Schools Outreach 10-week program targets female students in Year 8.” 

HunterWiSE features two interlinked actions to increase the number of girls and women participating in STEM: a 10-week targeted school outreach program, and a series of networking events across the Hunter for STEM professionals. This approach is designed to steer women toward STEM, and encourage their retention in the STEM pipeline.
HunterWiSE students will work in small groups to identify an issue in their local community and then develop a STEM-based solution to the problem. As an industry partner, Ampcontrol will invite students to tour facilities and see STEM careers in action, with the opportunity to engage directly with students in their classroom to share STEM expertise and insights. 

“As a sponsor, we will have the opportunity to offer site visits and open days to the students where they will have the opportunity to get hands on and work shoulder to shoulder with our women in STEM careers. HunterWiSE is an investment in the future of STEM careers in the Hunter region, and we look forward to seeing these students continue their STEM learning journey throughout school and beyond," said Mikhaila. 

Since the pilot program, HunterWiSE has grown and will this year reach students from 11 schools within the Hunter region. It was first launched in 2017 by a team of passionate female academics from STEM disciplines at the University of Newcastle.