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Workforce Plus Inc has received a $236,600 grant to deliver the Change Makers of Gippsland project that will break down the barriers preventing girls and women getting into Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) education and careers.

Federal Member for Gippsland Darren Chester welcomed the funding for Change Makers of Gippsland, a project that aims to facilitate a sustainable partnership between secondary schools, the newly formed Australian Renewables Academy and local industry in Wellington and East Gippsland.

Mr Chester said the grant was being delivered through the Federal Government’s Women in STEM and Entrepreneurship (WISE) grants program.

“Change makers will introduce young women and girls to STEM, and, through collaboration and action learning, provide opportunities to co-design and develop solutions to real STEM based problems and entrepreneurship challenges,” Mr Chester said.

“These challenges will be locally relevant and place-based and will be proposed by the emerging renewable energy and circular economy industries, agriculture and horticulture industries and by sectors that contribute to the social wellbeing and health of the region, including bushfire recovery. 

“This grant allows girls and women in Wellington and East Gippsland to participate in an important national initiative that aims to increase the participation of women and girls in STEM education and careers.

“Boosting the number of women and girls in STEM has enormous potential to create new job opportunities in Gippsland and is of great importance to the strength of the local economy.”

Minister for Industry, Science and Technology Christian Porter said a diverse science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) qualified workforce was essential for Australia’s growth and future economy.

“STEM is the key to unlocking our future. From manufacturing to medicines, construction to computing; all of it relies on a cutting-edge STEM workforce,” Minister Porter said.

“By increasing participation from women, girls and other underrepresented groups, we are powering up Australia’s ability to stay at the forefront of new discoveries, breakthrough technologies, and global progress.

The program will provide nearly $2 million to boost the representation of women and girls in information technology, engineering and entrepreneurial subjects.

The WISE program has provided $9.95 million in funding to date for projects across every state and territory. Applications for round four of the program are expected to open in early 2022.

Further information on the WISE grants program and recipients is available at www.business.gov.au/wise.

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