GLADSTONE Ports Corporation and CQUniversity are driving science, technology, engineering and mathematics education to support long-term prosperity in the community.

GPC said thanks to an $8500 funding boost from its Community Investment Program, CQUniversity STEM Central’s project Growing STEM in the Community has provided educators with the tools to take a critical and connected approach when teaching STEM in the classroom.

The project brings together collaborators from schools, universities, communities, and organisations – such as Questacon – to create a series of highly engaging experiments.

The programs aim to provide students with a unique learning experience as they tap into the world of engineering by building rocket launchers, undertaking bug safaris to learn about the different species, understanding electrical circuitry in the plasma ball experiment, and stepping back in time to explore retro gaming.

CQUniversity STEM expert Dr Linda Pfeiffer said STEM Central envisages that these experiences will generate interest in staying in school and pursuing STEM degrees and careers.

“By developing these fun and exciting experiments, we aim to spark their interest in STEM at a young age and highlight the interesting careers that a STEM education can lead to,” Dr Pfeiffer said.

“Funding through generous supporters like the Gladstone Ports Corporation has enabled us to drive STEM education in the community and showcase the fantastic facilities that CQUniversity has to offer,” she said.

“The STEM Central laboratory was designed to be a mobile learning space that offers engaging hands-on STEM experiences for both students and teachers.”

GPC’s Chief Operating Officer Craig Walker said supporting this program through funding was vital in developing future leaders and future jobs for this region.

“We know this funding is going to help create new skills and new ways for sustainable workforces in our region,” Mr Walker said.

“At GPC, we’re home to dozens of our valued employees who have STEM careers including environmental scientists, engineers, IT professionals and planners,” he said.

“We are excited for the future and we can’t wait to potentially see these students working at the port in STEM careers.”