For 18-year-old Deanna Parkinson, a first year UniSA engineering student, International Day of Women and Girls in Science is a day to celebrate how far women have come and acknowledging how far they have yet to go to achieve equality in STEM.
With the 2020 theme of ‘Investment in Women and Girls in Science for Inclusive Green Growth’, the day is celebrated worldwide, with an aim to ‘ensure full and equal access to, and participation in, science for women and girls.’
With a range of sciences underpinning many of the career opportunities within the National Naval Shipbuilding Enterprise, the Naval Shipbuilding College is committed to providing rewarding education and career pathways for women looking to join the industry.
Program Director of the College Bill Docalovich said gender balanced teams and organisations were superior in performance to groups which did not have such balance.
“From engineering, trades, project management and even the design habitation areas on the ships and boats, scientific research is involved in all aspects of naval shipbuilding and sustainment,’’ he said.
‘’Well balanced teams will bring different, problem solving perspectives to the table, which is extremely beneficial when people are dealing with new and evolving technologies and processes.’’
The College operates the Workforce Register which supports female students and women working in adjacent industries, to register their interest for the exciting careers within the Enterprise across Australia.
“There are a lot of career opportunities and chances for advancement within the naval shipbuilding industry for women like me who love science,’’ Deanna said.
“Science is very broad, and there is something in it to interest anyone. I’ve chosen to take the technical route with engineering, but even that has many different possible pathways. With science, you are never locked into a career, opportunities abound.
“I signed up to the College’s Workforce Register so I can keep up to date with all the new information coming through and because it will keep me aware of the opportunities, courses and jobs relating to the industry.’’
Candidates on the College’s Workforce Register receive free, tailored education and career pathway advice and ongoing support to assist in securing jobs and long term careers within the Enterprise.
Deanna said she was inspired by science-based careers after joining the Defence Industry Pathways Program (DIPP), a collaborative program including TAFESA, ASC Shipbuilding Pty Ltd, the Department for Education and the Advanced Technology Program, when she was in high school.
“I joined the DIPP program because I was interested in learning more about science and engineering and the benefits of studying it,’’ she said.
“The semester-long program was a good way to learn new skills and meet other students who had similar interests.’’
Students visit ASC facilities in Osborne, South Australia and have toured Collins Class Submarines and Air Warfare Destroyers, to see first-hand how CAD design skills can be translated into the naval shipbuilding industry.
“Science is a great way to form an understanding of the world, I love to be able to look around and think ‘yes, that’s why that happens’,’’ Deanna said.
“My advice to girls and women is don’t say ‘no’ to science just because you don’t love lessons at school, or think you’re not suited for it. There is so much more to STEM than what we are taught in school.
“Science is a beautiful, always-expanding thing that will consistently keep you thinking and curious.
“Yes, we have more strides to make but I encourage women to keep an open mind, do some research and see what’s out there. You might surprise yourself and find something you like.’’