Aliesha Buckley and Chloe Coombe

4 March 2022

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Two aspiring engineers will hit the ground running as the 2022 university year kicks off, thanks to scholarships aimed at supporting gender diversity in the resources sector.

Aliesha Buckley and Chloe Coombe were today announced as the recipients of the BHP/BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA) Girls in Resources Scholarships. Each of the young women will receive a $5000 scholarship that will assist them with their transition to university.

Both Aliesha and Chloe have chosen to pursue careers in engineering. Last year, they were among an elite group of Year 12 girls from schools across Queensland who were partnered with female industry mentors as part of the QMEA/WIMARQ Girls in Resources Leadership Skills (GIRLS) Mentoring Program. Coordinated by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) and Women in Mining and Resources Queensland (WIMARQ), the program increased their understanding of the resources sector, provided opportunities for networking, and guided them as they made decisions about their future education or training.

For Chloe, who graduated from The Cathedral College in Rockhampton and is the recipient of the regional scholarship, the tandem support of mentorship and funding has armed her with industry knowledge and financial assistance as she embarks on her studies. “Engineering isn’t about gender or how strong you are; it is about whether you are diligent and prepared to exceed expectations,” she said, adding that the scholarship will alleviate financial pressure and help her reach her full potential.

Aliesha, of San Sisto College in Brisbane, was awarded the Future Leader scholarship. As one of only a handful of girls from her school pursuing STEM careers, she said that attending QMEA’s camps and programs allowed her to connect with likeminded young women. “These opportunities exposed me to the work of an engineer,” she explained. “Through the mentoring program I was able to speak with my amazing mentor about what working in this industry would be like. She demonstrated to me the confidence I must have in myself.”

The scholarships come as the resources sector continues to work towards gender parity.

QMEA’s Manager of Skills and Education, Matthew Heskett, congratulated the scholarship recipients and noted that QMEA’s high school programs are crucial in ensuring that there is a robust pipeline of skilled people entering into resources. “If we are to increase female participation in STEM careers, we need to change the narrative for young women by providing them with opportunities to extend their learning and connect with industry while they are still at school.”

BMA’s Head of Human Resources Tamara Barden said the scholarships form part of the broader strategy to increase the number of women in engineering roles in the resources sector. “We are pleased to see determined young women like Aliesha and Chloe entering the engineering field. These scholarships will allow them to focus on their studies and get the most they can out of their time at university, so that they feel empowered to contribute to the future of the sector.”

As Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led education and skills 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 VET and STEM-related careers, with a focus on female and Indigenous participation. The QMEA currently engages with 90 schools and is a partnership with the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.

Media Contact: Emelia Chalker  0414 652 637 or emelia@ironbarkmarketing.com

QMEA is a highly successful program placing students onto pathways into the resources sector and other science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) industries.

The academy is a partnership between the resources sector and the Queensland Government through the Gateway to Industry Schools Program.

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