Heavy Hydraulics_Origin

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Science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills were a force to be reckoned with when it came to completing exciting, hands-on tasks at a recent workshop delivered by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA), the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council.

Thanks to support from Origin Energy as Upstream Operator for APLNG, students from Chinchilla State High School showed mechanical, physics, and process engineering challenges were no match for their impressive problem-solving, teamwork, and critical thinking skills.

QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said about 60 students from Grades 7 and 8 learnt about the magnitude of rewarding career opportunities on offer in the resources and energy sector as they completed interactive tasks linked with the National Science Curriculum.

“This unique educational experience was an amalgamation of two popular programs created by the QMEA that demonstrate how fundamental STEM principles are applied in real-world industrial situations,” Ms Jones said.

“Mentored by experienced representatives from Origin Energy, students designed and constructed their own model-scale hydraulic arm, exploring how incompressible fluids are used to transfer force through a system, which generates movement.

Students then built a series of pulleys to lift a heavy object without manually handling it.

Steve Thatcher, General Manager, Asset East for Origin, said Origin relies on the expertise of STEM professionals in all aspects of its business.

“The standardized modular components in last week’s workshops are used in the design process for a multitude of equipment and operational systems, so these activities were a fun way for students to see how physics makes the industry safer and more efficient,” Mr Thatcher said.

“Origin has a strong focus on hiring local, so it is important to have a sustainable talent pipeline of passionate people with STEM backgrounds.

“It’s an exciting time to work in the resources and energy industry, and we are proud to support the QMEA and our employees to share their skills and encouragement to inspire the next generation to continue their STEM studies in Grade 10 and beyond.”

Chinchilla State High School Principal, Mr Rob Burke said the workshop wrapped up with an activity that explores the important role science plays in developing safety technologies.

“Students investigated the properties of reflection and refraction as they used lasers and mirrors to manoeuvre a light source, modelling a type of technology called a retroreflector,” Mr Burke said.

“The QMEA educational experiences are always a fantastic opportunity for students to embark on exciting challenges that complement their classroom learning.”

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.

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