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A new group of young Queensland women are on the path to a rewarding career in the state’s resources sector after completing a unique six-month female mentoring program that concluded in Brisbane today.
Twenty Year 12 students from 17 schools across Queensland celebrated the finale of this year’s Girls in Resources Life Skills (GIRLS) Mentoring Program, an annual initiative delivered by the Queensland Resources Council’s Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) and Women in Mining and Resources Queensland (WIMARQ).
The mentoring program is celebrating its fifth year of connecting experienced women in resources with senior female students who want to know more about career opportunities in the sector.
QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said the GIRLS Mentoring Program has made impressive strides each year since it began five years ago.
“We are very proud of the role the program has played in encouraging and supporting female students who are interested in pursuing careers in the Queensland resources sector,” Ms Jones said.
“This group of female students from QMEA-associated schools have kick-started their way to an exciting career in resources as well as boosted their life skills like networking, communication, and confidence.
“Over the past six months, they’ve been guided and inspired during regular meetings with their individually-matched, female industry mentors who have imparted invaluable professional and personal advice,” Ms Jones said.
“This mentoring program plays an essential role in the industry’s efforts to attract more young females into the resources and energy, which is steadily increasing its female participation rate with a target of 30 per cent by 2026.
“By working with successful role models from various specialties across the industry, these students have gained first-hand insight into the different exciting and rewarding career opportunities on offer and I am confident they’ll become the Queensland resources sector’s next leaders and innovators.”
QRC Chief Executive, Mr Ian Macfarlane praised the GIRLS Mentoring Program, saying it is helping young females create valuable and lasting relationships while learning about the increasing diversity of roles and professions on offer in the resources sector.
“Women currently make up 22 per cent of the resources and energy sector’s workforce, which is an impressive increase of more than 50 per cent in the past seven years and the result of deliberate and strategic targets and actions by companies across our industry,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“I congratulate all participants in this year’s GIRLS Mentoring Program and particularly the women who have volunteered their time to support and guide the students.
“Our industry continues to go from strength to strength in the diversity and inclusion space, and this program would not be the success it is without our generous platinum sponsor BHP/BMA, and further support from ConocoPhillips, Coronado, Rio Tinto, Fitzroy, Idemitsu, Jellinbah Group and South32.”
BMA Head of Performance & Improvement Lauren Molloy Roberts said BMA is proud to have been involved with the GIRL’s Mentoring Program since its inception.
“It is rewarding to see these passionate and aspiring young women achieve their goals and to help them make informed decisions about their own tertiary education or training pathways,” she said.
“With the number of applications from young women wanting to take part increasing each year, the GIRLS Mentoring Program has become a well-established initiative that will help drive the future of the resources sector.
“We have directly benefited from the program, with a number of the student mentees joining the BHP/BMA family as a direct outcome of the program.”
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 97 schools and is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.