By Cam Lucadou-Wells
Works have begun on a high-technology school in Berwick to prime about 21,000 high-school students for the future.
Deputy Premier James Merlino helped turn the first sod of works at the Casey Tech School site on 15 August.
The appointment of experienced teacher and curriculum leader Ben Jenkinson as the school’s inaugural director was also announced.
The school will skill-up students from 21 secondary schools in the region in science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) for “high-tech jobs of the future”.
“Seventy-five per cent of new jobs will require skills in maths and science,” Mr Merlino said.
“These are the skills we have to deliver to our young people.”
The Casey school will be the largest of the 10 schools built across Victoria as part of a $128 million project.
It will be a free-of-charge resource that’s accessible to 21,000 students a year as part of their schooling.
They will be taught biomedical technology, health and medical tech, and high-tech manufacturing, with help from Chisholm Institute and industry allies such as Successful Endeavours and St John of God Hospital.
VCE students will receive masterclasses in either physics or chemistry, Mr Merlino said.
The two-storey building with a biomed lab, virtual reality lab as well as video and digital media studios will be a shared hub built on “neutral turf” at Chisholm Institute on Kangan Drive.
The project’s architect Robert Pahor said the design aimed to offer an open and welcoming environment for students.
“It’s all about the sharing of information, not keeping it to yourself.
“It should be an exciting building and one that students will want to come back to.”
Narre Warren South MP Judith Couacaud Graley said the state-of-the-art facility would provide new opportunities for young people in the south-east.
“The appointment of Ben Jenkinson is an important step forward as we work towards opening Casey Tech School next year.”
The Tech School is expected to open mid-2018.