Through the educational television series Ultimate Classroom, Defence Force Recruiting (DFR) aimed to inspire Gen Z to consider a Defence STEM career.
CAPTION: Flight Lieutenant Rebecca Marshall, an electrical engineer and operations officer posted to 1 Combat Communications Squadron, with Ultimate Classroom hosts Eddie Woo and Stephanie Bendixen. Story by Private Nicholas Marquis. Photos by Tamara Robinson.
And a study of the series’ impact on viewers indicated some success.
The partnership with Channel 10 and Paramount Plus, was part of DFR’s recruitment campaign for STEM-driven pathways.
Not only was it nominated for a Logie award this year, but a survey of 400 Gen Z viewers showed an increase in STEM knowledge of almost 30 per cent.
A study allowed DFR to track the interest in its programs after the show and also identified a 7 per cent increase in those considering joining Defence in a STEM career.
Lined up for a second season, Ultimate Classroom was DFR’s first use of a television program as part of recruitment.
DFR National Media Manager Jessica O’Mara said the show incorporated a focus on technical skills, mathematical equations, leadership and teamwork.
CAPTION: RAN Marine Engineer Officer Lieutenant Joseph Melbin, from Amphibious Afloat Support Group, talks with students during the egg drop challenge on Ultimate Classroom.
“Ultimate Classroom aims to attract prospective candidates to a STEM career, ultimately leading them to apply for a role within the ADF,” Ms O’Mara said.
“The goal was to entertain and inspire our target audience through broadcast and digital channels, while shifting their perceptions of what a career in the ADF can offer.”
The four-part series featured high school students competing in STEM-based challenges with ADF mentors.
The Defence lead for Ultimate Classroom, Squadron Leader Sharron Kinloch, said each challenge was allocated a uniformed mentor from a related field.
“For building bridges, we had Army engineers, which allowed the children to ask questions about that specific area,” Squadron Leader Kinloch said.
“By the end of the two weeks of filming, some of the children had already submitted applications or were in the process of applying to Defence.”
CAPTION: Australian Army Engineering Officer Captain Zac Bryant, from 6th Engineer Support Regiment, with students during the bridge building challenge on Ultimate Classroom.
Although the show missed out on a Logie, the DFR team is hoping season two will take one out.
“Our program is unique in that it is the only show within the awards to showcase Defence capability,” Ms O’Mara said.
“I would see that as a win, even though we didn’t win the Logie.”