From the Chief Executive Officer

It is truly a privilege to lead such a dynamic and contemporary organisation.  As confirmation of places are sent to the 2016 NYSF cohort, it’s a good time to reflect on the past year.

2014-15 was a very full and rewarding year – our highlights include the success of our youth and teacher programs, particularly launching Lockheed Martin Australia as a major sponsor, collaborating with Outward Bound Australia for the delivery of the Student Staff Leadership Program, and continuous improvements to our organisational governance.

This year, we have continued to increase our efficiency of operations and improve our reporting processes, with the successful implementation of an improved financial management system. This means that we can confirm that we are operating as economically as possible and making the greatest use of the resources available.

As the NYSF January sessions are conducted for young people by young people, this year we have focused on improving the process of developing our Student Staff Leaders (Staffies). Our NYSF Student Staff Leadership program prepares the 42 Staffies for their facilitation and coordination roles during the January Sessions. It is very pleasing that the NYSF is collaborating with Outward Bound Australia to deliver this program. As part of this program, the Staffies completed skill sets in training and mentoring and also participated in an outdoor orientated experiential based learning program.

This year we also welcomed Lockheed Martin Australia as a major sponsor of the NYSF – the first plank in our strategy to attract sponsors in the program from across the different economic sectors that are powered by science, technology and engineering. This investment by Lockheed Martin is significant and reflects an understanding of the important role of outreach and extension programs such as the NYSF in encouraging young Australians to continue their studies in the science, technology and engineering spheres. We acknowledge Lockheed Martin’s vision in joining with us to continue our support for young people.

Dr Damien Pearce and Raydon Gates, AO, Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Australia

Dr Damien Pearce and Raydon Gates, AO,     Chief Executive, Lockheed Martin Australia

Another milestone for the NYSF in 2014-15 was to increase for the first time the numbers of young people who could attend the Canberra NYSF January Sessions. As a result of the support from the Australian National University and Burgmann College we were able to increase the numbers to 200 for each of the sessions, limiting the impact of the reduction in places upon the 2014 completion of our contract to run a third session in Western Australia. Research and discussions are continuing around delivering NYSF January Sessions in additional locations in the future.

Planning for the NYSF programs begins some 18 months prior to the January of the year in which it is delivered. Plans for 2016 and 2017 are well in hand and we are looking forward to welcoming another 400 young people to participate in the program in January. We review and revise the program each year, to ensure that the participants are learning about the latest science research as well as gaining the best opportunity to explore their options for future study and career choices.

I would like to thank Professor Monro for her leadership of the NYSF and also endorse the vote of thanks that she extended to members of the Council and executive committees, office staff, student staff and Rotary friends. I would also like to acknowledge the many individuals, from across our stakeholder groups who give up their time to give lectures, and host lab and industry visits across our suite of programs.

These multiple contributions allow the NYSF to continue each year, building on the work done over the past 32 years, delivering a series of programs that make a difference to young Australians with a passion for science, and to the wider Australian community.

Dr Damien Pearce

August 2015

Outward Bound Australia partner with NYSF in student staff training

In the lead up to the NYSF January Sessions, incoming student staff leaders travelled to Tharwa, 35 kilometres south of Canberra in August to participate in a leadership training program. A key component is the outdoor trekking experience and student camp environment, delivered by Outward Bound Australia.

This trek experience helps participants to develop awareness and social connection and to gain an understanding of individual and group values, development of supporting and trusting relationships, and the opportunity to critically reflect on their own performance and the performance of others within a shared leadership approach.

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High ropes The student staff learn about:

  • the NYSF and its history and philosophy;
  • the responsibilities of being a student staff leader;
  • the importance of planning and analysing a situation;
  • handling specific tasks during the January NYSF sessions;
  • leadership, professionalism and decision making;
  • running NYSF orientation, and public speaking; and
  • team-building.

It was a very cold start to day one with the temperature a mere -1 degree outside. The students broke into two groups, with one heading outside for their first Outward Bound experience – the high ropes course. Each participant navigated their way across a series of elements 12 meters above the ground. The second team’s first experience was a little warmer, starting with activities that tested the brain.

The second day saw the students head indoors to the lecture theatre to develop and fine-tune their presentation skills in front of their peers.

On the third day, the students headed into Namadgi National Park with the opportunity of applying the teamwork and leadership skills they had learned.

Director Damien Pearce says that the new partnership with Outward Bound Australia is a good fit with the NYSF. “I am pleased with the ease with which OBA has taken on this training task for the NYSF. Through its accredited training processes, our student staff will now attain both Enterprise Trainer – Presenting Skills and Mentoring Skill Sets from the Training and Education Training Package. I would like to acknowledge the support of Margot Hurrell from OBA in her support and facilitation of this initiative.

Further information can be found here



Story:  Julie Maynard