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Queensland’s next brightest electrician, diesel mechanic or boilermaker could be getting a taste of what a rewarding career in the resources sector might be like in today’s cohort of students at a Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) workshop in Biloela.
Thanks to the generosity of Batchfire Resources, around 20 Year 10 male and female students from Biloela State High School will spend the day rotating through trade-based activities, mentored by apprentices and tradespeople from Callide Mine and Callide Power Station.
Delivered by the QMEA, the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), the Tradies for a Day workshop simulates the type of exciting work that goes on at a mine site, providing students with a safe and interactive environment to test their skills across a variety of trades.
QRC’s Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Katrina-Lee Jones said the resources sector is already experiencing an enduring shortage in skilled tradespeople and trade assistants, and with companies in the western region of Australia recently recruiting from the talent pool in eastern Australia for the first time, demand will only continue to grow.
“Queensland’s mining industry underpins the prosperity of Australia’s economy, employment and the broader community,” Ms Jones said.
“We need to ensure the next generation understands the breadth of possibilities open to them if they choose to take up a career in resources and energy, and who better to explain this in the classroom than the experts currently thriving in their highly in-demand, trade-based roles?” she said.
Chief Executive Officer of Batchfire Resources, Mr Allan Fidock said the workshop is an important piece of the skills shortage puzzle the Queensland resources and energy sector is trying to solve, especially the increasing demand for workers with a science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) background.
“As Callide Valley’s largest employer, Batchfire Resources is committed to investing in the next generation, and we are proud to be partnering with the QMEA to provide STEM and vocational pathways for Banana Shire students to embark on a prosperous career in the resources industry,” he said.
“Queensland’s mining and energy sector has and will continue to play a critical role as the world decarbonises and we want students to be aware of the abundance of exciting opportunities that await them when pursuing a trade-based career,” Mr Fidock said.
Biloela State High School Principal, Ms Natasha Bunn said students will greatly benefit from connecting the dots between the subjects they’re learning every day and real-world challenges.
“This workshop allows our students to put their communication, teamwork, and problem-solving skills to the test, and understand how their classroom curriculum applies to an industry that has been an integral part of our community for more than 75 years,” Ms Bunn said.
As Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led education and schools training initiative, the QMEA broadens 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 90 schools and is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.