GFG Foundation program in Whyalla

Community, Our people > 21st December, 2021

The next generation of steel industry professionals has taken their first step towards a career in the industry after graduating from an innovative learning and mentoring program

The group of 28 students from Whyalla High School, Samaritan College and Stuart High School completed the 20-week program of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM)-based learning that included working with volunteer mentors from our Whyalla operations and developing STEM-based projects that will benefit their local community.

The program, run by the GFG Foundation Australia in partnership with CSIRO, Prince’s Trust Australia and UniSA, has been successfully running in Whyalla, South Australia for the past two years. Its purpose is to support the development of STEM-related enterprise skills and life-skills, through hands-on activities, industry excursions, STEM projects and mentoring with industry professionals. The program helps students explore career pathways.

Electrical Tradesperson, Leigh Fewster, was one of the program’s voluntary mentors. Leigh said the students benefitted from a range of different experiences.

“Along with meeting new people in different settings and learning a range of communication skills, the students were opened up to the opportunities available in the region which they may not have been aware of.”

Continuous Improvement Lead, Angie Stokes, also volunteered as a mentor and said she enjoyed working with the students and watching them grow and change as the weeks progressed.

The Whyalla program culminated with a showcase and celebration event attended by 60 people. Students were recognised for their participation with a certificate and Bronze CREST Award for the successful completion of an inquiry project. Examples of the projects that students presented include Does sound pollution affect plant growth; How can we make Whyalla more sustainable for food; and How will Whyalla’s new shopping precinct affect tourism, community, and the environment?

Students were also offered work experience placements and additional information on other training and employment opportunities.

More than 100 students have participated in the program since it was piloted in 2019. In 2022, Whyalla will be the pioneers once again with the launch of a Juniors Program for Years 7 and 8 students. There are also plans to expand the program to GFG Alliance’s LIBERTY Bell Bay operations in Tasmania as well as the UK and Romania.

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