Students from the Aboriginal Summer School for Excellence in Technology and Science (ASSETS) have undertaken work experience with a leading aerospace prime.
The students pursued their career ambitions at Boeing’s simulation, analysis and pilot training facilities in Brisbane during the latest school holidays.
From building and coding a robot to piloting a simulation fast jet against computer generated forces, or learning how simulators help train Boeing 737 pilots – ASSETS students gained first-hand experience of what it is like to work at Boeing.
Boeing Defence Australia’s executive sponsor for Indigenous diversity Scott Carpendale said Boeing actively supports the creation and development of employment pathways for Australia’s youth, including Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
"When we create opportunities for Indigenous Australians, we not only increase our cultural capacity throughout our business but we build a diverse pipeline of talent into the aerospace industry," said Carpendale.
"Boeing is the first aerospace company to open its doors to the ASSETS work placement program, but we hope we’re not the last. The more Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students we can support to pursue careers in science, engineering, technology and mathematics [STEM], the more successful our industry will be as a whole."
Tullawong State High School student Kayla Pattel said the Boeing work placement experience defied the stereotypical work experience expectations.
"I honestly anticipated to be chasing after coffees for the engineers all day and photocopying paper, but instead I got to build a robot," said Pattel.
"I got the job of adding code and programming the robot, which looked like a lot of numbers and letters, but I certainly enjoyed it. I also got to fly the multimillion-dollar simulators.
"The best part, in my opinion, was meeting the amazing and inspiring people that worked in all fields of Boeing, who took time out of their busy day to talk to us about what they do and to see the result of our work by watching a robot we programmed dance around with a gold chain speaking in a British accent."
CSIRO ASSETS learning and support coordinator Geoff Guymer said ASSETS provided an opportunity for high achieving senior secondary Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to explore the study and career options available to them in STEM fields.
"Through the ASSETS leadership and support program, students who have attended a summer school in the past are able to access work placements with leading STEM professionals and organisations," he said.
"ASSETS is part of the wider Indigenous STEM Education Project, funded by BHP Billiton Foundation and operated by CSIRO. The project aims to increase participation and achievement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students in STEM. We are very excited about the work these students did with the Boeing team and hope to have more students attending work placements in the future."