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STEAMworks launches with major boost from Australian Government 

STEAMworks was officially launched on Friday 29 April with an exciting funding announcement made by The Honourable Andrew Gee MP, Member for Calare.

Attending a launch event at The Foundations in Portland, Minister Gee announced that funding has been awarded to STEAMworks under the Australian Government’s Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants Program which aims to helps communities to address priorities and activities for recovery and resilience after the 2019-20 bushfires.

Using this funding, along with grant funding awarded by Inspiring NSW Science Week grants, STEAMworks will create the Lithgow Valley Regional Science Hub and deliver a 2- year program of events to rebuild educational and economic resilience in the Lithgow region. Working closely with the local community and other like-minded stakeholders, STEAMworks will deliver practical science workshops and community events to educate and inspire students, transitioning workers, community groups, local businesses and tourists. The aim is to empower the local Lithgow community to be job ready for disaster resilient careers in healthcare, technology, art and science.

STEAMworks is a registered, not-for-profit, independent body that is developing and delivering STEAM initiatives in the Lithgow region. It was created by The Foundations to inspire and empower young people in the Lithgow Valley region to experience education, events and career opportunities not commonly or widely offered in regional areas of Australia.

Focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths and Medicine (or STEAM), STEAMworks draws on the rich industrial and cultural heritage of the Lithgow Valley region and will bring industry and students together to offer opportunities of hands-on learning and to develop skills in real-world applications.  The overall objective is to inspire innovation in children with a passion for science, technology, engineering, arts, maths and medicine.

STEAMworks Project Lead and Science Educator, Luke Steller said, “Our project addresses real community need for STEAM engagement and job creation in the Lithgow Valley region, and we are thrilled to have been awarded the funding from the Australian Federal Government and also Inspiring NSW. Our team are excited to create some unique events and educational opportunities for the local community, bringing together educators and stakeholders from all over the region.”

Supported by project partner, The Foundations Portland, STEAMworks has the capacity and resources to deliver these events, demonstrated through an excellent track record of facilitating STEAM education and community engagement projects in the Lithgow Valley region. The Foundations Re-activation Manager, Rich Evans said: “Seeing our dream of a STEAM education offering created here is really exciting. We would like to acknowledge and thank the Australian Government for their continuing support to affected communities as they recover from the devastating 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires, and in recognising groups such as STEAMworks, who can facilitate a variety of STEAM-based initiatives and events and contributing to economic recovery and building community resilience.”

The launch event last Friday was held in the Annexe building of The Foundations and was attended by The Honourable Andrew Gee, Member for Calare; the NSW Chief Scientist and Engineer, Professor Hugh Durrant-Whyte; Jackie Randles, CEO Inspiring NSW; Lithgow City Council’s Mayor Maree Statham, Deputy Mayor Cr Cassandra Coleman and fellow councillors, Cr O’Connor, Cr McGhie and Cr Bryce’ as well as Local Artist in Residence at The Foundations Harrie Fasher.  Other guests included a wide representation from local community groups, artists, education organisations and industry. A very special welcome to country was delivered by Wiradjuri elder Aunty Sharon from Mingaan Wiradjuri Aboriginal Corporation.

Local Australian surreal artist Le Grizz was on hand to encourage guests to add their artistic element to an interactive STEAMworks mural. The mural captured the energy and excitement in the room through each individual’s contribution and will be installed locally.  A local musician performed while local beekeepers offered honey samples, and vegan caterers, Secret Creek provided delicious, locally produced food. 

STEAMworks will kick-off events with a Sip n Create bee workshop for adults and a Building a Bee Hotel workshop for kids in May. 

About STEAMworks

STEAMworks is a registered, not-for-profit, independent body that is developing and delivering STEAM initiatives in the Lithgow region. It was created by The Foundations to inspire and empower young people in the Lithgow Valley region to experience education, events and career opportunities not commonly or widely offered in regional areas of Australia.

Focusing on Science, Technology, Engineering, Arts, Maths and Medicine (or STEAM), STEAMworks draws on the rich industrial and cultural heritage of the Lithgow Valley region and will bring industry and students together to offer opportunities of hands-on learning and to develop skills in real-world applications.  The overall objective is to inspire innovation in children with a passion for science, technology, engineering, arts, maths and medicine.

STEAMworks values the region’s history and seeks to facilitate community, education and employment experiences that enhance wellbeing. It does this by offering programs that are inclusive, creative, authentic, sustainable and build resilience.

Qualified, passionate scientists and educators have been engaged by STEAMworks to deliver STEAM-based education and training in line with the NSW Department of Education curriculum guidelines.

About the Black Summer Bushfire Recovery Grants

The grants are supporting medium to long-term recovery for communities to enhance and strengthen their resilience and recovery. They are funding projects for: 

Social recovery and resilience needs 

Economic recovery and resilience needs, and/or 

Recovery and resilience needs of the built environment. 

The program covers the 110 local government areas in Queensland, New South Wales, ACT, South Australia, Tasmania, and Victoria that were disaster declared by the states and territories under Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements as a result of the 2019-20 Black Summer bushfires. 

The Australian Government provided an additional $111 million for the Program to ensure that all recommended projects could be funded. 

About Inspiring Australia NSW

Inspiring Australia NSW develops influential networks that connect science and engineering researchers to big audiences. In collaboration with hundreds of statewide partners, Inspiring NSW creates memorable and engaging events and programs to explore current and emerging issues, inspires communities with science and promotes the work of Australian scientific researchers and engineers in finding solutions to some of the world’s biggest challenges.

Inspiring Australia has established a network of NSW Regional Science Hubs comprising multidisciplinary teams to develop and deliver high-profile science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) events in regional NSW.

With links to multiple communities, NSW Regional Science Hubs are changing public perceptions about science and technology. They deliver year-round events and activities that promote the value of STEM in local communities in partnership with business, local government and the environment, arts and cultural sectors, closing the gap between science and society.

Through creating community engagement experiences that are relevant, thought-provoking and often entertaining, Regional Science Hubs promote positive attitudes towards STEM and  increase the confidence and skills of parents, teachers and young people to engage with scientific issues.

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