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School upgrades foster jobs, growth

11 September 2016

Government and non-government schools, as well as local businesses are all set to benefit from state-wide funding for facilities and infrastructure that will include STEM-related upgrades.

‘STEM’ stands for science, technology, engineering and maths, which all require cutting edge approaches to teaching and learning.

Opportunities will exist for business to tender for the works at the 139 government schools that are receiving $250 million investment in facilities upgrades through the STEM Works program.

Under the South Australian Industry Participation Policy there will be opportunities for local businesses to quote on a range of product purchases and capital works for STEM Works projects at government schools, ultimately contributing to local employment.

Local businesses across the state can access the services of the Office of the Industry Advocate to help get ready to tender for government contracts.

While STEM Works creates construction and fit out jobs for South Australians now, the facilities it provides will mean students can learn skills and develop knowledge for the high-tech jobs of the future. Each upgrade will be shaped by the learning style required for science, technology, maths and engineering – the spaces allowing students to inquire, think, investigate, make and innovate in teams.

They include flexible spaces to prototype and to tinker, with embedded technologies, because today’s learners will be required to face new challenges and fill job descriptions that may not even exist yet.

The non-government school sector can also currently access an additional $250 million loan facility schools for infrastructure projects, allowing schools to borrow at the same low interest rates as government.

Loan applications are now open via the South Australian Finance Authority (SAFA), priority will be given to projects that invest in science, technology, engineering and maths, as well as the early years facilities.