Rio Tinto has supported the Graham (Polly) Farmer Foundation (GPFF) and Western Australia’s minister for education and training in opening the Karratha science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) centre for Indigenous students in the Pilbara.
The centre will enhance training and employment opportunities while also aiming to encourage children to choose science, mathematics and technological pathways required for future jobs.
Rio Tinto is a sole partner of the Karratha STEM centre, investing almost $1 million in the project over a five-year period.
Tambrey Primary School will be home to a new program developing STEM skills for primary students through activities like robotics, gaming and coding.
Children will be selected from primary schools in the Karratha area who must demonstrate academic aptitude in maths and science, and a commitment to their education.
The program consists of hands-on, problem-based learning activities where children are able to link their knowledge and experience to real world issues.
Learning is based on the STEM laboratory and extends to educational trips and time spent with the GPFF’s STEM Centre in Wickham and learning club in Roebourne.
Rio Tinto vice president of corporate relations Australia, Brad Haynes said the company was “committed to supporting community programmes to enhance the educational opportunities and outcomes for young Indigenous people.
“We’re proud to support educational initiatives that encourage learning from early childhood and we’re actively supporting STEM pathways with our education partners- for us, we believe strongly in helping to build capacity in future generations by making STEM accessible for everyone,” he said.
Chief executive officer of GPFF, Cate Sims praised Rio Tinto for its contribution to the program.
“For over 23 years the GPFF has striven to empower Aboriginal students through education,” she said.
“Thanks to Rio Tinto’s ongoing support, the STEM Centre offers students a rich variety of interactive science and maths resources and activities and equips them to pursue a wide range of science related careers in the future.”