New prospects for Pinjarra girls at Alcoa

Girls in STEM: Pinjarra Refinery manager Julio Costa welcomes a group of year 9 students from Pinjarra Senior High School to the site. Photo: Supplied.

Girls in STEM: Pinjarra Refinery manager Julio Costa welcomes a group of year 9 students from Pinjarra Senior High School to the site. Photo: Supplied.

Last week, about 30 year 9 girls from Pinjarra Senior High School participated in a bus tour of Pinjarra Refinery and mining operations, which included visits to different work areas on site as well as presentations from various employees.

The visit is part of a new four-year program launched by Alcoa this year, ‘Alcoa Prospects’, which begins in year 9 and continues to year 12, providing them with opportunities to learn about the range of career options available.

Pinjarra refinery manager Julio Costa said the program was specifically developed to create an interest among young women in working for Alcoa.

“Our current gender diversity statistics at Pinjarra Refinery are low, approximately only eight per cent of our work force are women,” Mr Costa said.

“As a business, it is our responsibility to support all levels of education if we are to facilitate the pipeline of women working in this industry.

“Alcoa Prospects provides an opportunity for young women to see the wide range of careers available to them and then receive support from Alcoa to explore these options.”

Every term, the students will be involved in an activity with Alcoa employees which will help them on their career journey. 

Pinjarra SHS science teacher Clare Clayton said the school was delighted to be part of a program specifically targeted at increasing the number of girls entering career pathways that include science, technology, engineering and mathematics.

“By facilitating our students to explore the variety of careers available as an Alcoa employee our students are more confident in making choices about their future study plans,” she said.

“Traditional science and technology subjects such as physics, chemistry and engineering are often overlooked by girls who fail to see viable employment options.”

Pinjarra Refinery is trialling the program at Pinjarra SHS in 2016-17, and if successful will offer it to other high schools in the Peel region.

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