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Twenty-seven students from Dalby State High School were the first participants in the innovative new Exploration and Rehabilitation workshop delivered by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) last week.

Thanks to support from Arrow Energy, grade eight students became geological explorers for the day as they used straws and irrigation tubing to simulate percussive air drills, commonly used for exploration in the gas industry.

Newly created by the QMEA, the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), this workshop saw students investigate the importance of exploration and rehabilitation in the resources and energy sector.

QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said students enjoyed ‘getting their hands dirty’ as they learned how mineral resources can be safely extracted while maintaining the quality of the surrounding environment and coexisting with neighbouring land uses.

“Using sand and potting mix, students were tasked with extracting resources from ‘the ground’ and then ‘rehabilitating’ their model by planting seeds,” Ms Jones said.

“In a few weeks’ time, the students will reinspect their models to see how successful they were at rehabilitating their land, following the conclusion of their simulated resources operations.”

Arrow Energy’s Vice President of External Relations and Tenure Management, Rachael Cronin said this unique workshop was an excellent way to help young students understand how science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) principles are applied in the gas sector.

“We’re very proud to have partnered with the QMEA to deliver this exciting, new workshop to local students of the community in which Arrow Energy operates,” Ms Cronin said.

Dalby State High School Principal, Dr Dean Russell said the students really enjoyed testing their collaboration, mathematical analysis, and design processes skills as they learned more about the resources and energy sector.

“Interactive learning experiences are a great method for young minds to explore new topics, and this hands-on workshop is an excellent example of teaching students how classroom learning is applied in the real world to solve complex problems,” Dr Russell said.

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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