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Amazon invests $150,000 in STEM program

Amazon Australia on Monday launched a new program to science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills to 100 students in years 3 to 6 in New South Wales and Victoria.

Called Camp Amazon, the program aims to encourage children from underserved and low-income communities to pursue careers in computer science, which Amazon says will help them meet the demands of jobs of the future.

The two-year program includes coding camps and workshops undertaken at Amazon’s fulfilment centres in either Melbourne or Sydney after school or during summer holiday, and is led by Amazon and industry leaders in the STEM fields.

“We recognise that the jobs of tomorrow require a strong aptitude for STEM, we see it in our growing business, and want to be part of the solution,” Craig Fuller, Amazon Australia director of operations, said.

“In Australia, there are 100,000 students currently involved in studying some type of STEM program outside of the school curriculum, but…the majority [of students] are still lacking exposure to the subjects.

“That’s why we are supporting STEM education programs to better prepare Australian students for future in-demand jobs.”

Amazon noted in its announcement of the program that 2017 enrolments in STEM courses were at their lowest level in 20 years, according to the National Scientific Statement.

This could create a significant challenge for businesses in the e-commerce sector and other industries that hire computer science graduates.

STEM equipment for schools

Upon completion of Camp Amazon, successful students will be awarded a $500 Amazon voucher to support them in their future studies or careers, with 10 participating schools being allocated $10,000 for communal use STEM equipment.

One of those schools is Hoxton Park Public School in Sydney. The school’s principal Kylie Donovan said the equipment and program will complement students’ learning and could lead to more students pursuing STEM courses in further education.

“It is fantastic to see this investment in the education of children in the local community. STEM is a critical area where we must inspire students and nurture their passion. Camp Amazon is another tool in the space,” she said.

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