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Scientific curiosity, engineering prowess, and robotics innovation captured the hearts and minds of Bundaberg students today at a workshop delivered by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA), the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC). 

Thanks to support from Evolution Mining, about 30 Year 9 students from Bundaberg State High School are exploring the many career opportunities on offer in Queensland’s world-leading resources and energy sector as they complete hands-on science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) activities linked to the National Science Syllabus.  

QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said the popular ‘Beakers.Bots.Build’ workshop introduces students to the diverse technical roles available in the industry through captivating team challenges, particularly in STEM fields. 

“This educational experience cleverly goes beyond traditional classroom learning and textbooks, immersing students in dynamic activities that mirror real-world challenges and opportunities in the resources and energy sector,” Ms Jones said. 

“Kicking off with a high-tech activity, students will get a glimpse of the uptake of advanced technologies as they program Lego EV3 robots to drive around a simulated mine site, demonstrating the applications of automation.  

“Students will then dive into the principles of light as they use lasers, geometry, and creative thinking to position a series of mirrors to manoeuvre a beam of light around an obstacle, which is an excellent representation of how the resources industry can use simple mathematic concepts to improve health and safety.” 

Evolution Mining Mt Rawdon General Manager, Joe Mammen said students would have the opportunity to interact with an Evolution mining engineer to learn more about working in the resources sector. 

“Students are always fascinated to discover how their classroom learning applies to real-world experiences, and this workshop provides excellent insight into the diverse career options available in the resources industry,” Joe said.

“Currently, the mining industry is in dire need of skilled STEM professionals, and we hope today’s workshop will spark the interest of students to consider a technical career in the wider resources sector.” 

Bundaberg State High School Principal, Mr Christopher Gill said the final workshop activity will see students apply teamwork, effective communication, and problem-solving skills as they build their own devices capable of sorting materials without manual intervention. 

“To help the students discover how process engineering, physics, and a smart design can simplify otherwise difficult tasks, the last challenge involves the construction of a ‘coal sorting’ device,” Mr Gill said. 

“This workshop activities today showcase how classroom learning and STEM fundamentals can be applied in an exciting and innovative industry, offering local employment in the Bundaberg region.” 

As Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led education and schools 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.

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