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Around 30 Grade 9 students from Collinsville State High School today (14 June) developed their design thinking, logic and analytical skills as they completed a series of science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) tasks at a Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) workshop.

Thanks to support from Glencore Coal, students worked alongside industry experts as they used lasers, Lego robots and mechanical components to understand how STEM is used for real-world applications in the resources industry.

Director of Skills, Education and Diversity with the QMEA, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said the Beakers.Bots.Build is a popular workshop held in schools across Queensland that allows students to use their classroom learning to solve tangible problems whilst also bolstering their professional skills like communication, teamwork and problem-solving.

“Students worked in teams today as they completed three different challenges that tested their STEM knowledge as well as their capacity to collaborate, communicate, and consider the advice of technical experts,” Ms Jones said.

“They investigated reflection and refraction by using lasers to guide light around obstacles to a designated point, programmed Lego EV3 robots to autonomously travel around a simulated ‘mine site’, and then designed a machine that could move a particular object without them touching it”.

Human Resources Manager at Glencore Coal, Anthony Exelby said the activities in today’s workshop cleverly replicated common challenges at a mine site, allowing the students to connect the science curriculum to applications outside of school.

“The resources industry is dynamic and continuously evolving, and Glencore is already taking steps to sustainably adapt to opportunities like decarbonisation and digital transformation,” Mr Exelby said.

“We know how important it is to invest in regional skills development particularly for the next generation, and this also allows Glencore to contribute to ensuring our business and the broader industry has access to a sustainable talent pipeline”.

Collinsville State High School Principal, Mrs Anna Reeves said students benefited from working alongside industry professionals who offered technical guidance on workshop activities and shared personal insight on the various career pathways open to them.

“Today’s workshop is helpful for students who are approaching a pivotal point in their education journey,” Mrs Reeves said.

“Next year, this cohort will be selecting subjects for Grade 11 and 12, which will play a fundamental role in their professional pathway after school.

“Receiving insightful advice from successful industry representatives can be instrumental in giving these students the confidence to choose a technical discipline whilst helping them further develop useful skills like networking and effective communication”.

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 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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