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An up close and personal tour of Bowen’s North Queensland Export Terminal (NQXT) is helping local high school students solve supply-chain challenges in a classroom setting.
In an experience organised by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA), more than 20 Grade 7 students from Bowen State High School are today touring NQXT – a facility north of Bowen where metallurgical and thermal coal from 13 mines in the Bowen and Galilee basins are exported to international markets.
Abbot Point Operations (APO) manages operations at NQXT, and, thanks to the business’ support, students are going behind the scenes of the working coal export terminal to gain the insights of experts in complex logistics systems.
The students will then apply these learnings at a workshop delivered by the QMEA, the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).
QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Katrina-Lee Jones said students will work alongside industry mentors from Abbot Point Operations on solving problems relating to train scheduling and harbour export operations.
“Students will create their own schedules and plans to optimise the throughput of the rail and port network that delivers coal to the global market,” Ms Jones said.
“They will also get a chance to hear from experienced professionals in the resources sector and learn about their study pathways and career progressions.”
APO General Manager Allan Brown said the team was delighted to show the students how the intricacies of running a coal export terminal could be represented mathematically.
“Port environments offer a range of exciting roles, and our people have skills across the disciplines needed to unload trains and load ships, maintain our equipment, keep those working in our business safe, and care for our beautiful natural environment that surrounds the Terminal and the nearby wetlands,” he said.
“We invest heavily in providing employment pathways for local people so it’s wonderful to be able to show the next generation real-world application of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (STEM) subjects and encourage them to pursue a career in that field.”
Acting Principal of Bowen State High School, Mr Stephen Baskerville said that young students considering their education pathway would benefit from the perspective of professionals working in the industry.
“Students are always fascinated to see how STEM fundamentals are applied in an industry that operates continuously in their own backyard but is also an essential component of a global logistics network,” said Mr Baskerville.
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 90 schools and is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.