News & Insights

Championing STEM through digital work experience

For many high school students, work experience is the beginning of their transition from secondary to tertiary education.

It’s an opportunity for students to go out into the professional world, and gain an understanding of what they want to do, where they want to be and how they will get there.

But for many high school students, especially those who want to pursue a career in a STEM field, finding meaningful work experience can be a real challenge, often resulting in students losing interest within the field.

As there is a growing demand for students to enter careers in STEM to help fill the gap and match the skillsets required for tomorrows workforce, industry and education more than ever need to work together to foster the interest of tomorrows professionals in STEM fields.

Recognising the need to promote the wonderful world of STEM and engage students who have a passion for the related professions, Brisbane-based start-up Grandshake was established to provide meaningful, digital work experience for high school students.

Grandshake and their Founder and CEO, Dhawal Nayak, carry a GRAND vision is to bridge the gap between education and the real-world.

Grandshake is on a mission to provide high school students meaningful opportunities and experiences that will help them figure out what next before graduating school and develop required soft skills to confidently enter the workforce.

“It’s important to embrace our future workers and provide them with an opportunity to display their talent and abilities,” Dhawal said.

“It allows students from anywhere to get a foot in the door and an idea of what life could be like post-secondary schooling.”

Cardno has teamed up with Grandshake to develop a digital Environmental Scientist work experience program to help support high school students transition into the next stage of their lives while promoting the important and fascinating world of a STEM career.

Year 12 Studdent Gabby provides insight into the Environmental Science work experience program.

Click here to view how the Environmental Science work experience program has helped Year 12 Student Gabby understand the role of an environmental professional.

The four-week program was developed by Sophie St John, Environment Team Lead, who has a passion for engaging and fostering tomorrow’s professionals.

Sophie drew upon her experience as an environmental scientist with inputs from her team to generate a program which not only provides insight into what life is like in the profession but also provide practical experience.

“We wanted students to not only understand what it’s like to be an environmental scientist but to get to be an environmental scientist through practical learnings and real-world activities,” Sophie said.

“This approach was taken to allow students to virtually experience the cool work we as environmental professionals do, and get students excited about making a difference to the environment and our communities.”

At the start of the four-week program, students are taken through an induction into Cardno, covering information like - what is required of a professional working for an international company, and what does Cardno do? And what is Cardno’s vision and mission? In exactly the same way they would do if they were to undertake a similar program in an office.

Year 10 Student Claire undertook the program and was excited to speak to an environmental professional.

After the induction, students are introduced to a number of sustainability principals which form the bedrock of the profession. They are taken through the different streams of environmental science these theories and practices apply to for example ecology, marine and coastal.

The final component of the program is practical, where students applied the new skills they learnt during the initial stages of the program into a real-life scenario an environmental scientist would face in their daily role.

Since the launch of the program in June, a number of students have undertaken digital work experience as an environmental scientist.

Year 12 student, Gabby, was one of the first students to undertake the program, hearing about the opportunity through her science teacher.

“The reason I wanted to do work experience in environmental science is mainly because I’m really really passionate about the conservation and protection of the planet, especially with climate change being such a pressing issue,” Gabby said.

“In the program, I’ve learnt heaps and heaps about how companies like Cardno manage their projects to be more sustainable and have the best outcomes for communities, for business, and for just the environmental as a whole.”

Click here to hear how the Environmental Science work experience program allowed Year 10 student Claire to connect with an environmental professional to learn more about the profession.

The four-week program also offers students the opportunity to speak with environmental scientists through interactive Q&A sessions online.

Year 10 student, Claire, also undertook the program, providing her with the opportunity to learn about the professional and engage with an environmental scientist from Cardno, allowing her to ask a practicing professional questions about their career.

“I always wanted to have a chat with someone from the industry, and thanks to Grandshake and Cardno, I have been able to speak with a Senior Environmental Scientist!” said Claire.

The ability to connect students with real-world work experience programs through the digital space through programs offered by Grandshake designed by Cardno will continue to be more valuable as industry and education look to create an engaged and enthusiastic workforce in the STEM fields.

Cardno is passionate about promoting STEM to inspire the next generation of thinkers, tinkerers and creators for tomorrow, providing industry experience to further engage and excite.

For more information contact:

Keren Gifford
Culture and Engagement Business Partner
Phone: +61 3310 2325

Dhawal Nayak
Founder and Chief Executive Officer - Grandshake
Phone: 0433 532 344

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