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At last week’s (19 May) Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) “STEM Unearthed” workshop at Redeemer Lutheran College in Biloela, students got a taste of being a geologist when they created “lithological logs”, which are used to log soil and rock samples from deep underground.
Thanks to the support of Batchfire Resources, the year 10 students then put their process engineering, problem solving and teamwork skills to the test at completing tasks simulating real-world challenges at a mine site.
With the assistance of Batchfire Resources personnel, students learnt the importance of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) to a career in the resources industry.
STEM Unearthed is a popular program developed by the QMEA, the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC). The program targets Year 10 students who need to decide which subjects to choose to study in Grade 11 and 12.
QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Katrina-Lee Jones said there is an abundance of exciting career opportunities awaiting the next generation in the resources sector.
“STEM Unearthed is all about encouraging Grade 10 students to continue studies in STEM subjects as they complete their final senior school years,” Ms Jones said.
“In doing so, these students will start to pave their own educational pathway to a promising future before they’ve even graduated – giving them the opportunity to select from a multitude of highly-paid, and increasingly in-demand roles.”
Chief Executive Officer of Batchfire Resources, Allan Fidock said providing education pathways for students contributes to regional skills development and encourages the next generation from local communities to consider a rewarding career in resources.
“We’re proud to have been partnering with the QMEA for the past three 3 years, delivering positive, long-lasting education and training outcomes for local students, teachers, and families,” he said.
“It was great to have Batchfire representatives Natasha Hutchings and Samuel Kenny at the workshop last Thursday, guiding students through exciting tasks that simulated resource industry challenges in metallurgy, process engineering and geological mapping.”
Redeemer Lutheran College Principal, Mrs Eureka Coetzee said students particularly enjoyed the lithological component of the workshop which looked at the physical characteristics of rock formations.
“Tying a technical subject like geology into an exciting classroom lesson can be tricky, but the students really enjoyed this activity that replicated how resource companies identify where mineral deposits are found based on sampling data.
“Students were asked to analyse data provided to them, determine an appropriate scale and legend for their task, create a lithological log by transferring the data onto their own graph paper, and then identify where mineral deposits can be found,” Mrs Coetzee said.
As Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led education and schools training initiative, the QMEA seeks to broaden student and teacher knowledge of career opportunities in resources.
The academy encourages a talent pipeline of employees into vocational and professional careers, with a focus on female and Indigenous participation. The QMEA currently engages with over 90 schools and is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.