A re-elected Turnbull Coalition Government will launch a pilot programme that will see Wyong High School partner with local businesses, including Mars Food Australia and Sanitarium, to improve employment outcomes for local students and deliver stronger results in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) performance.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham joined Member for Dobell Karen McNamara to announce that Wyong High School would be one of 12 new Pathways in Technology (P-TECH) pilots as part of a $4.6 million commitment to open up new avenues for students by linking schools with businesses in local communities that offer job opportunities.

“These P-TECH pilots are designed to help young people develop the skills they need for the jobs of the future,” Minister Birmingham said.

“Around 75 per cent of Australia’s fastest-growing industries require STEM skills but unfortunately the performance of Australian students in mathematics, science and reading has declined in recent times. This is despite government investment in education increasing by nearly 40 per cent over the decade to 2012-13.

“Our investment for this P-TECH pilot in Wyong will fund specific supports to encourage and facilitate collaboration between Wyong High School, Mars, Sanitarium, Central Coast Business Chamber and other local business.”

Member for Dobell Karen McNamara said the P-TECH pilot at Wyong will offer a new and innovative pathway to ensure students on the Central Coast are given the best opportunities to succeed after they finish school.

“I’ve been fighting for Central Coast students to have access to more options that will help get them ‘job ready’ so it’s great that Mars, Sanitarium and the Central Coast Business Chamber have come on board,” Ms McNamara said.

“A programme like P-TECH in Wyong is a practical way the Coalition is combining technical and vocational skills with school and industry partnerships to tackle the challenges of high youth unemployment and to help more young people into work.

“By boosting science, technology, engineering and mathematics skills the Turnbull Coalition Government is preparing our children for the jobs of the future.”

Minister Birmingham said the P-TECH pilot is in addition to the record level of funding the Coalition is investing in schools.

“We’re delivering a record $73.9 billion funding for schools over the next four years that will be directed according to need and tied to reforms that support our national economic plan by helping young people develop the skills they need for the jobs of the future.”