Industry 4.0: engaging early, with enthusiasm and purpose

STEM awareness and community outreach by the Industry 4.0 Hub

More than just an acronym for individual disciplines STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) enables meaningful connections to be made between education, work, community and the global economy. A space where people develop critical thinking, problem solving, creative and collaborative skills through interconnecting ideologies and work practice.

STEM is all around us and affects every aspect of our lives.

While the world of STEM is embedded into so many of our daily functions, the pace in which these fields are growing and driving innovation can sometimes make breaking into the field a little inaccessible or daunting for some. This is something the University of Wollongong’s (UOW) Industry 4.0 Hub aims to overcome, providing the Shoalhaven community opportunities to experience STEM in a supported and educated environment.

STEM awareness and community outreach by the Industry 4.0 Hub has taken a variety of forms since its launch in September 2020. Tours for Shoalhaven secondary schools, Sikorsky Australia’s ‘Plane Simple Challenge’; and MakerSpace workshops for UOW staff, students and the community are just some of the practical, informative and engaging initiatives of the Nowra based team.

A key priority for the Hub is to encourage and support high school students explore STEM-related study and career pathways. One such project is ‘Smarter Schools for a Smarter Planet’. In collaboration with Associate Professor Sarah Howard, Education Lead at UOW’s SMART Infrastructure Facility, and Dr Johan Barthelemy who fronts the SMART Internet of Things (IoT) Hub and the Digital Living Lab, the Hub will be presenting this initiative to Shoalhaven high schools in 2022.

Such partnering is an effective illustration of cross-University collaboration between the Faculty of Engineering and Information Science (EIS) and the School of Education in the Faculty of the Arts, Social Sciences and Humanities (ASSH). In this program, students will take an active role in authentic, practical learning by attending a full day workshop at the Hub located on UOW’s Shoalhaven campus. Students are provided with an IoT development kit to apply smart technology to build a network of sensors to monitor their local environmental conditions.

Senior Professor Pascal Perez, Director of the SMART Infrastructure Facility at UOW asserts “The solution to secure a healthy flow of STEM graduates through UOW is simple - engage early; engage with enthusiasm; engage with a purpose!”  

The civic and social responsibility of sharing STEM based ideas, research, skills and expertise with the Shoalhaven community is another key priority for the group. Connecting with the Regional Industry Education Partnership (RIEP) for the 2022 UOW Shoalhaven Careers Expo and Teacher Professional Development days support STEM education opportunities; as will the Hub’s future participation in UOW Outreach’s Learning Labs to deliver a STEM-based event in August 2022, are just a few activities planned for the future.

UOW’s Research & Innovation strategy in creating knowledge for a better world leverages the Industry 4.0 Hub’s ability to ‘transform how we deliver, curate, analyse and track our research, innovation and impact by offering high school students the opportunity to build their skills and shape their futures in a rapidly changing world’.

By sharing their enthusiasm and experience to inspire young people, UOW Industry 4.0 Hub’s research engineers act as role-models in fostering creative and skilled individuals who can aspire to engage in STEM as an innovative industry to which they can belong.

The makerspace is now open by appointment during weekdays. It is free to become a member at the Makerspace. To book an appointment, please fill out the Booking Form under Makerspace and let us know what you would like to learn or which equipment you would like to use.  

Equipment list: 

  • 3D printers 
  • Laser cutter 
  • AR and VR headsets 
  • Robots 
  • 3D scanners 

For more information about the equipment, head to our website: 

Accompanying software to use the equipment are also provided and accessible at the makerspace.  

To stay up to date with the Industry 4.0 Hub events and Makerspace workshops, sign up to our mailing list via our website.  

Email us at for  

  • School excursions and group workshops 
  • Transforming your business with Industry 4.0 technologies