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Speech by the Governor at the Reception for Science and Maths Educators


First, I acknowledge the Traditional Owners of the land upon which we are gathering and pay my respects to their Elders past and present and to any Elders here with us this evening.

Tony and I are delighted to welcome you here to Government House.

The study of science and maths is crucial to the success of our State.

In a room of science and maths teachers, we are amongst some of the most influential people when it comes to Victoria’s future. Thank you.

In this, the Knowledge State, you help to instil in our young people a love of learning.

We can be proud of the overall standards reached in our State, although we always aspire to improve - to keep raising the bar.

We are alive to the fact that knowledge is always important for the sake of knowledge. An educated community is likely to be stronger than one that does not have that advantage.

But all of us well understand as well, the very specific benefits of training in STEM.

In 2016, the World Economic Forum counted STEM literacy as a measure of what it referred to as a country’s ‘future readiness’, underlining that a strong economy today requires a workforce that is STEM trained.

In Victoria, the Minister for Education, the Hon James Merlino MP, has noted that STEM skills are integral to our priority sectors. The growth of those sectors is predicted to drive the State’s economic output, and to create over 400,000 jobs for Victorians by 2025.

Nationally, in the five years between 2013 and 2018, employment in STEM occupations grew by 16.5 per cent. And 75% of the fastest growing occupations in Australia are projected to require STEM skills and knowledge.

Thank you to each one of the educators in the room. You are frequently the ones igniting a passion for STEM, as you prepare our children, young people and adults for the jobs of the future.

You instil the skills and knowledge that will secure for Victoria a competitive, innovative and vibrant economy.

Thank you to the Science Teachers’ Association of Victoria, (STAV), for promoting and serving the needs of teachers across all school systems and regions, and at all levels, for over 75 years now.

And a particular thank you to Soula Bennett, President of STAV, for assisting with the coordination of this evening.

Thank you too to the Mathematical Association of Victoria, (MAV), for your leading contributions to mathematical education in Victorian for more than 100 years. And, thank you to MAV’s CEO, Peter Saffin, who also supported our staff in organising this evening.

As we meet our current and next generation of mathematicians, engineers, scientists, researchers, entrepreneurs, technology experts and innovators, we will always appreciate that behind them is a great teacher or teachers.

Please enjoy the evening.