Future You

Learn about the Office of the Women in STEM Ambassador’s initiative to challenge stereotypes in STEM

Future You: Challenging stereotypes in STEM

Future You aims to inspire an interest in STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths) careers amongst children aged 8 to 12. STEM will be a major growth area for jobs of the future, but there is currently a shortage of people who have the skills we need to tackle our greatest challenges.

Australia’s STEM workforce does not reflect the rich and diverse nature of Australia’s population, in terms of women and people from LGBTQI+, culturally diverse, Indigenous, rural and remote communities, and people with disabilities. Diversity breeds innovation – and that is why Future You aims to provide role models for all Australians as the program grows.

Children often decide what careers they will pursue early in life, with the ages between 8 and 12 being seen as a key stage in this thinking. Their decisions are influenced by attitudes expressed towards these careers by the important adults in their lives – their carers, their families and teachers.

Future You aims to show children the world of opportunities awaiting them through STEM and other vital skills. Through films, short stories, posters, downloadable activities and competitions, Future You provides inspirational role models for children, whilst offering practical advice on what they can do now to start their journey.

The program also gives teachers, carers and families the information they need to encourage children to think about what STEM could offer them, and what they could do with STEM skills to help build a better future.

Meet the Pathfinders

The first Future You program we’ve launched to help children aged 8 to 12 understand and explore pathways to exciting and rewarding STEM careers is called Pathfinders. 

Research tells us stereotypes about STEM careers and professionals form when children are very young. Future You shifts children’s perceptions of STEM so they can see themselves in the STEM roles of the future.

Employment in STEM jobs is growing twice as fast as in non-STEM jobs. According to the STEM Equity Monitor, women make up almost half of Australia’s workforce, but just over one in ten Australians working in STEM occupations are women.

This inequality affects us all (and not just the girls who miss out on high-paying and in-demand jobs). Lack of diversity in product development teams means we end up with products that only work for some people.

From aerospace to conservation, augmented reality to mechanical engineering, the Pathfinders series features four inspiring people who have found rich, rewarding careers across different STEM sectors:

Free, curriculum-aligned teaching resources and activities for educators, families and children accompany each Pathfinder video.

Imagining the Future

Imagining The Future is a new STEM fiction program from Future You.

Children will explore the exciting world of future STEM careers through five interlinked short stories written by some of Australia’s most acclaimed authors of fiction for Young Adult, Lili Wilkinson, Alison Evans, Rebecca Lim, Gary Lonesborough and Melissa Keil.

Each story is set in the future and will take children on an interstellar journey of the imagination. 

The stories feature a line-up of unforgettable, diverse young protagonists, who confront their fears, challenge themselves, and overcome the problems that life offworld presents, using STEM thinking, coupled with ingenuity, inventiveness, courage and the friendships that bind them.

Each story will be available free for downloading and come with a dramatized reading podcast featuring exciting young Australian actors, a rich sound design and a beautiful soundtrack.

There is also a suite of teaching resources for teachers and families, and activities for children, to enrich the comprehension and engagement with the stories and encourage greater interest in pursuing careers in STEM.

From L to R: Melssa Keil, Alison Evans, Rebecca Lim, Lili Wilkinson and Gary Lonesborough

Learn more about exciting career opportunities with STEM skills on the Future You website.

Future You is an initiative from the Office of Australia’s Women in STEM Ambassador. It is funded and supported by the Department of Industry, Science and Resources. 

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