The SIA is a gold sponsor of the Subs in Schools program, an initiative of the Re-Engineering Australia Foundation.
“Our support of the Subs in Schools National Final is another way the SIA is actively encouraging young Australians to pursue submarine careers at what is one of the most exciting times for submarines in Australia’s history,” said SIA executive committee member and former Lieutenant Commander in the Royal Australian Navy, Errika Meades.
“It’s vital that school-age children who might be interested in a submarine career are provided with information about how to pursue such an opportunity.”
The program was started after the announcement of the $50 billion Future Submarine Program by the federal government, and is the world's first in-class submarine design competition.
Students designed either a remotely operated underwater vehicle or a sub that they themselves could operate. They also had the option of building a three-dimensional virtual scale of living quarters in a futuristic submarine.
The goals of the competition were:
- Designed to attract both boys and girls;
- A real project students can relate to and engage with;
- A project containing “cool” elements that attract student interest;
- Promotes student involvement with industry role models;
- Complex and cross curricular – linking STEM components together;
- Understood and implemented by teachers;
- Bring career relevance to STEM learning activities;
- Excite and encourage students to consider a careers pathway related to STEM;
- An alternative learning methodology for skills development in schools;
- Focus on building employability skills;
- Promote innovation and the development of entrepreneurship in young Australians;
- Develop skills directly transferable to industry roles;
- Increase the number of students taking up STEM-based careers in support of satisfying the skills requirement of large-scale engineering programs;
- Facilitate technology transfer from industry to schools and the community;
- Provide a catalyst for local industry to engage with the schools encouraging interaction and collaboration between schools, industry and the community;
- Encourage collaboration between schools in city and country areas;
- Use the power of role models to guide and support youth in the process of career development;
- Ensure that science, technology, engineering and mathematics becomes a part of the everyday language of students.
The program reminded Meades of how she was inspired to pursue a career in submarines from a young age.
“I remember as a 15-year-old my father took me to see an Oberon Class submarine which had docked in Newcastle and from that point on, I wanted to join the Navy,” Meades said.
“Through the work I did as an integrated support engineer and the work I do now as part of the SIA committee, I’m keen to help other children – and girls in particular – take up similar opportunities."