A re-elected Turnbull Coalition Government will launch a pilot programme that will see Hunter River High in Heatherbrae partner with local aerospace businesses to improve employment outcomes and deliver stronger results in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) performance.

Minister for Education and Training Simon Birmingham said that Hunter River High 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.

“With youth unemployment at 11.3 per cent in Newcastle and 18.9 per cent in the Hunter Valley, this P-TECH pilot at Hunter River High is 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 at Hunter River High will fund specific supports to encourage and facilitate collaboration between the school and Jetstar Airways, Varley Group, BAE Systems, Ampcontrol and other local aerospace businesses through Regional Development Australia Hunter.”

Liberal candidate for Paterson Karen Howard said the Coalition will fight for local students to have access to more options that will help get them ‘job ready’ which is why it’s great that so many businesses have come on board.

“A programme like P-TECH at Hunter River High is a practical way the Coalition is combining technical and vocational skills with school and industry partnerships to tackle the challenges of youth unemployment and to help more young people into work,” Ms Howard said.

“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 $73.6 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.”