Home' Future Submarine Project : Future Submarine Project Contents 49
ENGINEERS AUSTRALIA MAY 2015
The challenge is being run in Australian schools to promote
a coherent and holistic view of the role Science, Technology,
Engineering & Maths (STEM) plays in everyday life. The pro-
gram will give participating students hands-on experience
with the core submarine design elements.
Myers has never experienced any problem getting kids
“gee’d up” about engineering.
“We’ve seen with programs that we’ve implemented over
the years (such as F1 in schools), the huge impact it’s had
on changing kids’ attitudes to STEM. Of the kids that we
reach, 65% have been influenced to change their career
choice. It’s a huge outcome and we need to do more of that,”
“Kids just love the idea of working on real projects and
having them design and build a small sub that’s linked to a
big sub (such as the Collins) and then being able to present
their results to the people at ASC and the Department of
Defence is a huge motivator.”
He says the ability of Australia to take on projects
like SEA1000 has a big impact on our ability to influence
children to be as adventurous as we’ve historically been.
Myers sees great opportunities to spin off technology from
the submarine program, for example the battery technology
developed could go towards helping sustain a country town
on solar power.
All of the programs that we do are all based on what’s
called Action Learning, Myers explains.
“This is learning by doing, so the kids have a project to
do and along the way they learn maths, science, english
and history but all relative to solving a problem – that’s what
interests them and they then understand why they’re
learning those subjects,” he says.
Myers reveals the projects deal with concepts that have
never been taught in school, such as buoyancy, flotation and
“So we have to bring the teachers up to speed as much
as the kids – in fact most of the time we’re actually using
the kids to bring the teachers up to speed,” he jokes.
Myers says the support for the program has been fan-
tastic, with Defence organisations and companies proving
“DMO have been absolutely fabulous – from day one
David Gould (general manager, submarines) has been the
person behind it. ASC have been very supportive and Saab
have been asking us almost every day if they can help in
any other ways,” Myers says.
He desperately wants to see more industry involvement
as REA rolls the program out to more schools.
“We’ve been swamped by kids wanting to do subs – it’s a
complex project and kids love complex projects,” Myers says.
“We need to give them more of them. We need to believe
in ourselves and our kids.”
Believing in ourselves and our kids
Dr Michael Myers, founder of the Re-Engineering
Australia Foundation (REA), spoke with
Patrick Durrant about the Subs in Schools program.
Started as a pilot last year in six Australian schools,
this year it will be rolled out to 20 more.
Zelinsky says there was a sense that the Department of
Defence had become top heavy and that decision making
processes were not robust and were becoming cumbersome.
“ The decisions that are being made must be defensible
from a technical, financial and a strategic point of view and
this is where they want to strengthen that process up,” he
But Zelinsky sees no negative implications for engineers
and technologists, in fact “if anything, the voice of engineers
would be heard more loudly at the table when decisions are
THE OPPORTUNITY OF A LIFETIME
Gould and Zelinsky see the future submarine project as a
fantastic opportunity for Australia and its engineers and
they enthusiastically encourage engineers of all ages to get
involved. Zelinsky says for those who may be graduating in
the near future there will be opportunities which will last for
“What we’re interested in, certainly where I’m working
here, in Defence, is to form these partnerships. We’re looking
for long, enduring partnerships because once we get started
with this project, you’ve got to be in there for the long run.”
Gould says, “once submarine technology’s got its hooks
into you, you can’t break free. I think it’s a great opportunity
for young and not so young engineers. Here’s a domain
where you can really live by your wits”.
He points out that if you’ve got the skills or experience or
you’re developing them, whether it’s in the combat system,
power and energy, propulsion, hydraulics, electronics or the
electrical systems, there’s plenty a submarine has to offer.
“It’s like a spaceship you know – it’s fantastic.”
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40-49 g - submarines.indd 49
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