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The sky is the limit for young people interested in technology on the Northern Rivers thanks to the work of Social Futures and a recent funding boost from ETC.

Lismore based Youth Connections Clubhouse, an initiative of Social Futures, was a recent recipient of a $9,590 grant from the ETC Community Support Fund for their STEAMM 4 STEM program.

Program Coordinator Dusty McOnie thanked ETC for the funding which had allowed them to invest in software to help engage young people in 3D printing, robotics, electronics, code and designing musical interfaces.

“We’re very appreciative as learning these skills will benefit the local youth as this is the way the future is headed. We aim to fill a gap in terms of alternative education in technology that isn’t necessarily being met by mainstream schools,” Mr McOnie said.

“Young people will need different skill sets to thrive in technology-rich, globalised, competitive job markets. We need to adapt our approaches to education so that young people are equipped with the capabilities that will enable them to thrive in these complex education and employment settings.”

“The funding has also allowed us to deliver STEAMM 4 STEM to Year 8 students in eight local High Schools. We’re very enthused by the response from our young people. In fact, our membership has increased significantly since being implemented.”

Local youth Alex Blanch regularly attends the Clubhouse and participates in the program.

“I like coming here because you are free to be yourself and no one judges you. I was given a pamphlet about this place and I initially thought it sounded nerdy and I didn’t want to be a part of that. But then I came in here with one of my friends and I was surprised – it’s actually really good,” Alex said.

“You can be as creative as you want – we have all the resources here now. It’s so diverse and I’ve been able to mess around with technology, music production, film making.”

ETC Deputy Chair Lorraine Penn said it was a pleasure to be able to support Social Futures.

“The ETC Community Support Fund is designed to help organisations reduce disadvantage, generate opportunity, increase support services and/or build capacity in the communities in which we operate,” Ms Penn said.

“ETC is proud to be a not-for-profit company and we are confident the money we are donating will help make a more positive future for our community.”

The Clubhouse offers 12-18 year olds a free drop in centre after school from 3:30pm – 6pm and is all about engaging young people with cutting edge technology, exploring their potential and dreams for the future. For more information visit www.socialfutures.org.au/clubhouse

ETC provides employment and training services. If you need help finding a job, are looking for staff or are interested in up-skilling, contact ETC.



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