Education and Training Pillar Update

Latest Pillar Activity
Education and training Pillar

The Education and Training Pillar's fifth meeting for year (October 12, 2017) included discussion on a broad range of topics.

Report on Mapping Projects

There has been no response received from Regional Development Australia (RDA) regarding the Pillar’s request to see the recommendations and full report from the Barwon South-West mapping project.

Other options will be explored.

The outcomes of the Barwon Regional Partnership workshop on ‘Enabling our children and young people through education and training’ were an important input to the Barwon Regional Assembly held on September 14, 2017.

The Barwon Regional Partnership Committee is now preparing its advice to the State Government on the priorities for investment in the region.

Report on the Geelong Secondary Schools and Community Digital Hub Project

Final advice from the State Government has stated that the $4.7m GSSC Digital Hub Project will not be funded.

This follows many meetings with the Department of Education and Training and a meeting with Education Minister James Merlino.

The reasons given included:

  • That Australia's Academic and Research Network (AARnet) digital system is not a listed supplier to the Department of Educution and Training (DET);
  • That DET is responsible for the whole of the state and cannot increase digital connectivity in only one region; and,
  • Cyber security concerns.

DET and the Minister have offered to consider any other proposal using the existing network.

The Project working group has reconvened and will consider an alternative approach. Members expressed their continued support for the project working group and encouraged consideration of alternative funding sources or re-framing of the project.

New project Ideas put forward include education and training to support the National Disability Insurance Scheme (NDIS). A gap has been noted in co-ordination of education and training to support the NDIS. It is proposed that the Pillar might be able to assist the NDIS in developing a clearer strategy for the G21 region.

Another idea focuses on workforce implications for older workers.

It was noted that a new research proposal from the global Millenium Group originally founded by the United Nations is available to a develop a project on workforce implications for an ageing population.

The project could have a local node or be based in Geelong and could potentially include some local reporting. Dr Jude Walker is investigating possible research partnerships and funding sources.

Roundtable discussion:  Bring a problem to the table

Science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) and Digi-Tech Skills for a prosperous Geelong Future

Leader: Chris Goy, Skilling the Bay

The need for increased capability for STEM skills for a successful future is well-documented but this is not matched by current or projected participation.

Student participation in upper secondary STEM subjects is static nationally and in the G21 region. The large variation between schools / area is particularly notable in the G21 region.

The meeting included an open discussion exploring key issues and ideas for STEM education, with the following discussion points:

  • Motivation to study advanced STEM subjects is reduced by lack of university prerequisites, poor engagement in earlier years and a calculated decision to maximize ATAR scores by managing the difficulty of the subject;
  • Secondary school subjects do not emphasise explicit teaching of technology skills. Skilling the Bay has been working with VCAA to acknowledge and address this issue through year 11-12 curriculum;
  • STEM skills must include creativity (ie science, technology, engineering, arts and mathematics, STEAM) which is essential for science and also for the application of science;
  • STEM teaching needs to be engaging and relevant. Project-learning offers opportunities to connect with industry partners; and,
  • Role models are important in connecting students to STEM with some programs offering effective strategies like Girls Leading in Advanced Manufacturing (GLAM) from Skilling the Bay.

Challenges include:


  • Stakeholders do not share the same language or agreement on outcomes for STEM education. This creates barriers to collaboration and reduces relevance;
  • Teacher professional development is crucial but challenging to create and sustain engagement. This needs support from senior school leaders and can be successful, like the Skilling the Bay learning community for secondary teachers; and,
  • Schools are struggling to manage multiple complex issues including attendance, retention, community issues. Possible strategies include embed and replace rather than adding to the curriculum, give leadership space to teacher champions to distribute load.

What can the Pillar contribute ?

  • Raise awareness and connect ideas;
  • Support discussion and networking with examples of successful activities large and small; and,
  • Provide a networking space to foster collaboration.

Other Business

Future directions for the Pillar
The meeting discussed the value of the Pillar, noting the high value of networking, raising awareness and making time to think strategically.  Suggested activities for 2018 include:

A review of outcomes for the past three years, what does the Pillar achieve? Document outcomes against Pillar objectives and note the importance of making time for strategic thinking

Development of a Geelong Regional Learning Strategy.

A Planning strategy from Health & Wellbeing Pillar provides a model, initiate the strategy with a scoping workshop to determine objectives and value, audience and stakeholders, scope and a possible approach. Include possible collaboration with the Economic Development Pillar.

Partnership with other Pillars, joint workshops and initiatives could include scoping of a Geelong Regional Learning Strategy with the Economic Development Pillar and / or scoping for an NDIS training strategy.

The next Pillar meeting will be on December 7, 2017.

Contacts for information: Prof Liz Johnson (Pillar Leader), Cr Nathan Hansford (Deputy Leader), Patti Manolis (G21 Board Liaison).