Science and Engineering Challenge comes to Bega Valley

Photo: Janie Barrett
Photo: Janie Barrett

The Science and Engineering Challenge from the University of Newcastle is coming to the Bega Valley for the first time.

More than 150 students of schools from Bega to Eden will gather at the Sapphire Coast Turf Club on Friday, March 17, for a day of problem solving supported by Bega Valley Shire Council and Bega Rotary Club.

Expert staff from council and local engineering professionals will guide and mentor students as they explore scientific principles and solve engineering puzzles.

“The aim of the day is to showcase the role science and engineering play in our everyday life as a way of encouraging kids into those careers,” president of Bega Rotary Charlie Blomfield said.

As the event is targeted towards students in Year 9 and 10 Mr Blomfield, who worked as an engineer himself, hoped it would encourage them to do science subjects in Year 11 and 12.  

Over the next five years, employment is predicted to increase in professional, scientific and technical services by 14 per cent.

“One of the aspects of science and technology is the ability to problem solve as issues and events arise,” Mr Blomfield said. 

With STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) graduates in Australia only making up 18 per cent of the entire graduate cohort, the Science and Engineering Challenge allows students to experience STEM in ways very different to their school classrooms.

Bega Valley high school and primary school students will battle it out for a place at the State Super Challenge by building bridges, wiring cities, creating Mars rovers, constructing earthquake proof towers and building a bionic hand.

“I am looking forward to sharing my interest and experience in these areas and inspiring the next generation of engineers, scientists, teachers and mathematicians,” council’s project management team member David Buckley said.

Over 200,000 people have participated in a challenge event since it began in 2000.