04 Aug 2015
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Caltex launches initiative to improve STEM in schools

By Shannon Williams

Caltex has launched a fundraising campaign in an attempt to raise $100,000 through its Fuel Your School initiative, which will see schools receive funding towards improving STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics) activities in the classroom.

Every time a customer redeems their AA Smartfuel savings at Caltex service stations nationwide between 27 July and 23 August, Caltex will donate 25c to the Fuel Your School fund, with the goal to reach $100,000 for Kiwi schools, the company explains in a statement.

Primary, intermediate and secondary schools throughout New Zealand will be able to apply for grants of up to $5,000 to help their students’ learning journey in STEM subjects.

Dean Gilbert, general manager for Chevron NZ, says STEM is an area of education that Caltex feels particularly passionate about, with its potential to change people’s lives for the better.

“We’re excited to launch Fuel Your School for the first time in New Zealand. It’s run successfully in other countries, including the US and Thailand, and we hope to replicate that success for Kiwi kids, some of whom might not otherwise get the chance to develop STEM skills in the classroom,” Gilbert says.

“What the STEM curriculum sets out to achieve is something we’re proud to get behind – helping our young people explore disciplines that can lead to great inventions and discoveries.

“Caltex is always seeking unique ways to support Kiwi communities, and we’re looking forward to seeing what STEM-based activities schools are wanting to pursue if they’re granted funds,” he says.

Caltex is working with the Royal Society of New Zealand to help encourage schools to apply and to assist with deciding which schools should be awarded a share of the funds (up to $5,000 each), ensuring the initiative provides Kiwi kids with long-term educational benefits.

Dr Andrew Cleland, Royal Society of New Zealand’s chief executive says the money raised from Fuel Your School will contribute towards raising awareness of STEM and improving its integration into schools’ curriculums.

“It’s pleasing to see the commitment by Caltex to fund activities in schools that will enable young people to access improved learning experiences in science,” he says.

“There is already great work being done by New Zealand’s forward-thinking science teaching leaders, who are teaching students how maths, science and technology can be applied,” Cleland explains. “This can inspire students to think differently about their future careers.”

Cleland says an increasingly hi-tech economy needs more people with the skills to make a difference.

“We are pleased to assist Caltex in its Fuel Your School initiative to enable more schools throughout the country to offer STEM activities,” he adds.

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