BHP Billiton, the largest miner in the world, has announced that it will donate $28.8 million dollars to support a new education program that is set to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in professions related to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM).
According to the news release by BHP, the new five-year CSIRO education program was launched yesterday in Canberra by BHP Billiton’s Chief Executive Officer, Mr Andrew Mackenzie.
Federal Minister for Industry, the Hon Ian Macfarlane MP and the Chief Executive of CSIRO, Dr Megan Clark, were also in Canberra to launch the initiative.
“Through the BHP Billiton Foundation, BHP Billiton is delighted to partner with CSIRO in the promotion of pathways that aim to increase Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander representation in STEM related professions. BHP Billiton believes that providing opportunities in STEM education is a powerful way to support the professional aspirations and career opportunities of a generation of young Aboriginal Australians,” said Mr Mackenzie.
“This latest long-term partnership commitment between CSIRO and BHP Billiton is aligned not only to the Foundation’s focus on STEM education but also the company’s commitment to provide tangible opportunities that support Aboriginal peoples with education, training, employment and business development. We hope the program encourages more Aboriginal students to consider a rewarding career in the STEM disciplines, which will go some way to further closing the gap and recognising the important contribution Aboriginal Australians make to the economy.”
The program – which was designed by CSIRO to use hands-on, inquiry-based approaches – is funded through the BHP Billiton Foundation. The mining giant established the Foundation as part of its community investment program.
“CSIRO has delivered education initiatives across Australia for over 35 years and in parallel to this, we have a dedicated Indigenous science program that not only aims to get more Indigenous scientists working in CSIRO, but also delivers science projects for Indigenous communities,” Dr Clark said.
“Our partnership with BHP Billiton will enhance and expand our education programs to reach Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students from across Australia. We are really excited about this opportunity to reach so many new students, and get them excited about science, technology, engineering and mathematics.”
According to the media release by CSIRO, the Organisation will manage and implement the program in metropolitan, regional and remote schools across Australia.
To learn more about the program, go to http://www.csiro.au/Portals/Education/Programs/BHP-Indigenous-STEM.aspx