South Australia’s first Aboriginal STEM Academy launches

A partnership with the University of Adelaide has led to the establishment of the South Australian Aboriginal Sports Training Academy’s (SAASTA) first ever Aboriginal STEM Academy.

The new academy will allow Aboriginal students in Years 11 and 12 who are interested in studying STEM subjects to participate in the program beyond its sports academies.

Students will be able to learn in a university environment in the University of Adelaide’s Wirltu Yarlu Aboriginal Education Centre, who will also provide mentors and academic tutors to support the students.

All participating students will be studying a Stage 2 Scientific Studies as well as a Stage 1 Aboriginal Studies or Stage 2 University Studies, all of which will contribute towards achieving their SACE.

Education Minister John Gardner said the Academy’s expansion will bring greater opportunities for Aboriginal students in pursuing the jobs of the future.

“This new partnership with the University of Adelaide is a very exciting opportunity for our Aboriginal learners in the SAASTA program,” said Minister Gardner.

“It is fantastic to see that SAASTA is further expanding into areas beyond sport and offering Aboriginal students access to a range of different interests and career opportunities.

“We hope that the exposure to a higher education environment will encourage students to consider studying STEM at university level.

“This partnership aligns with the Government’s new Aboriginal Education Strategy, which is about sharpening our focus to ensure that all Aboriginal children and young people are successful learners and skilled for their future.

“It has been predicted that by 2025, one in every seven workers in SA will be in a STEM related job, and the Government is committed to supporting young South Australians to develop these skills.”

University of Adelaide’s Dean of Indigenous Research and Education Professor Shane Hearn also welcomed the partnership.

“The Aboriginal STEM Academy is about future proofing; the majority of the jobs of the future are going to be in the STEM field and we want Aboriginal people to play an active role in all parts of society, now and in the future,” said Professor Hearn.

“This program is a first of its kind and focuses on allowing young Aboriginal people to be active learners and engage in the STEM subject matter within a university setting. 

“The students participating in the SAASTA Aboriginal STEM Academy will have access to some of the best scientists in the country and be exposed to their work which has a global reach. 

“Students will be supported through our Karnkanthi Education Program which supports Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander High school students’ transition seamlessly from high school to university.”


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