Department of Education

School Pathways Program

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School Pathways Program

Pathways to paraprofessional Engineering through 3D printer technology

11 May 2015
Challenger Institute of Technology and the School Pathways Program continue to strengthen their STEM pathways partnership through engaging high school students in sustainable integrated 3D printer technology projects.

In 2014, the School Pathways Program and Challenger Institute of Technology introduced a 3D printer technology/applications initiative.  The aim of this program was to establish a technological hub with 6 schools drawing on the technical expertise of Challenger staff.

Initiated, facilitated and implemented by the School Pathways Program (SPP), representatives from 4 Industries and Curtin University attended the Challenger Institute Applied Engineering Fab Lab and committed their support for the project.  In Term 4 2014, a pilot group of 20 students from North Lake Senior College and Halls Head Community College participated in the integrated STEM project to build a 3D printer.

These students gained 3 units of competency towards their WA Certificate of Education and their schools receive the 3D printers built during the program.  With teachers attending specialized professional development offered by Challenger Institute’s technological experts, their capacity to integrate the technology in an educational context will be further developed.

In term 4 of 2014 Halls Head College were able to take 13 students once a week to the Challenger Fab lab in Fremantle. There, we participated in a program to introduce the students to mechatronics engineering. The students were able to use a laser cutter and 3D printer to create items and understand the relevance of these machines in today’s technological world. The students were also able to see and be informed about current projects being designed and constructed by advanced diploma students.

We would like to convey our appreciation to the School Pathways Program for having the opportunity to do this course.

Myself and the students found it very worthwhile, we learnt lots, and had fun in the process. We were particularly impressed with the level of technology at the facility, and to be able to use the technology in real life problem solving examples.

I found the course advantageous when designing our own engineering program at Halls head college and feel better informed about purchasing a laser cutter etc for our new engineering workshop.

Special thanks should go to the lecturer Daniel Harmsworth whose knowledge and enthusiasm was fundamental to our learning experience.

Paul Fieldwick

Teacher in charge – Technology and Enterprise

North Lake teacher, Mike van Halteren utilized the industry standard facilities at the South Fremantle Maritime Trade Training Centre (a partner of Challenger Institute) to machine parts for their 3D printer.

The strong relationship between the SPP and Challenger Institute has established clear engineering pathways from school, to VET to employment and/or training towards Diploma. 

Lisa Pitters (Manager Education Pathways, Challenger Institute) “It has been fantastic to see the students start with us in a Try a Technology program in Year 9 or 10, go on to successfully complete a Certificate III in Engineering Technology whilst still at school and then return to us post school in an apprenticeship or working towards their Diploma”.

Challenger Institute’s Certificate III in Engineering Technical is a paraprofessional program offered to secondary school students as one of many VET in Schools programs.  However the program has been strengthened through the partnership with SPP, to provide a true pathway to technical employment or Engineers Australia accredited pathway to University engineering.

In 2015, 23 students representing School Pathways Program schools enrolled in Cert III Engineering Technical.

98 students on a pathway from Certificate II in STEM completed at Challenger in 2014. Four of these students secured an apprenticeship.  Five of the students who participated in the SPP/Challenger 3D printer initiative have continued in the Certificate III to strengthen their technical expertise.

Gail Manton, Program Manager School Pathways Program highlighted “the most successful STEM pathways initiative which integrates real world quality integrated STEM projects and provides sustainable education and training pathways”

Pathways to paraprofessional Engineering through 3D printer technology

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