Foundation for Rural & Regional Renewal
‘Inspiring a curious community’ is the vision of Peel Bright Minds. Working in Western Australia’s Peel region, the organisation is particularly focused on stimulating increased engagement in ESTEAM (entrepreneurship, science, technology, engineering, arts and maths) activities, to foster a community that is positioned to up-skill and re-skill in the rapidly changing world and workforce. Population growth in the Peel region has been considerable in the past 10 years, driven by the mining boom, however the unemployment rate is higher than average, and local research identified a mismatch between the career choices and attitudes of young people and those careers currently available.
Peel Bright Minds applied to the ANZ Seeds of Renewal grant program In conjunction with Regional Development Australia – Peel) to develop and promote a series of multimedia-based local employment success stories, to provide higher awareness of locally available career pathways and inspire local high school students.
Following focus group discussion with some local year 9 and 10’s, Peel Bright Minds selected five young local STEM professionals, storyboarded the films in collaboration with a local business, and conducted on location filming and interviews.
The five videos are available to view on YouTube, they are 2 – 3 minutes each and feature inspiring stories of the STEM journeys of town planner Sarah, Edutech business creator Sam, engineer Katie, pharmacist Brett, and Reece who works in protected species management.
The project launch event in Mandurah in November 2019 opened with a keynote from Prof. Lyn Beazley, former Chief Scientist of WA, and was attended by 49 community members. Project Co-ordinator, Sarah Curran Ragan, said the audience was engaged with the films and the Q and A’s with the films’ stars.
“The event was widely praised for being informative and uplifting and bringing a sense of pride to the community of Peel.”
The launch of the videos was promoted on local radio and shared widely on social media. A school’s pack has been developed to be used as a discussion prompt for teachers alongside the videos.
“The project has been very well received in the community. Peel Bright Minds could not have run the project without FRRR support. We have already made further plans to increase the films exposure in Peel schools, careers fair and other opportunities throughout Peel”
The videos will be shared through the Peel Bright Minds wide network of regional development and employment organisations across five local government areas, and Careers Advisers and Heads of Year in High Schools will be engaged to view the video with their students and discuss the stories and opportunities with them. The videos are expected to reach approximately 5,000 young people, educators and youth career influencers, contributing to the building of a highly skilled and high performing workforce, with fresh minds and innovative approaches to business for the Peel region.