STEM Unearthed_Cloncurry

Click here for photos of Tradies for a Day.

Click here for photos of STEM Unearthed.

Cloncurry students recently traded traditional classroom lessons for exciting trade-based activities and hands-on science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) challenges at two workshops delivered by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA).

Thanks to South32, the QMEA, the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), has inspired the next generation of trade and STEM professionals from the Cloncurry region across two hands-on educational experiences.

QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said with the resources sector facing an enduring skills shortage, the QMEA and its sponsors like South32 are taking proactive measures to ensure the industry’s future workforce is well-equipped.

“Yesterday, students from St Joseph’s Catholic School strengthened their science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) skills as they completed exciting resources industry contextualised challenges linked to the national science curriculum,” Ms Jones said.

“Students worked in teams to run their own mini mines, where they encountered realistic challenges, such as controlling finances and operating within designated environmental and market conditions.

“They then became metallurgists after extracting metal ore from rocks, before putting their process engineering skills to the test to engineer the perfect drink of water.”

South32 Cannington Vice President Operations, Joe Russell said its partnership with the QMEA is instrumental for preparing Cloncurry’s next generation for a promising career in the resources sector, and students who pursue tertiary STEM or trade pathways will have access to a diverse range of exciting job opportunities.

“In addition to the STEM Unearthed workshop that ran yesterday, we also helped deliver a Tradies for a Day workshop with the QMEA last Friday to 20 Year 9 and 10 students from Cloncurry State School P-12 and St Joseph’s Catholic School, which provided an excellent opportunity for students to immerse themselves in various trade-based roles in a safe and stimulating classroom environment,” Mr Russell said.

“Under the guidance of skilled tradespeople and apprentices from South32, students learned some valuable trade skills and absorbed firsthand career experiences shared by our industry representatives.”

St Joseph’s Catholic School Principal, Ms Samantha Kelley said the school was thrilled to participate in both workshops, stating that QMEA engagements play a critical role in demonstrating the importance of STEM subjects and vocational training to students’ educational and professional development.

“Participating in immersive educational experiences like these, as they prepare to embark on their final senior school years, empowers students to make informed decisions about subject selections for Years 10, 11 and 12,” Ms Kelley said.

“Students are always fascinated to discover how their classroom learning translates to real-world applications, and these activities also helped them further bolster their critical life skills like teamwork, effective communication, and problem-solving.”

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 91 schools and is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.

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