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School students from Mackay and neighbouring Sarina will compete during action-packed STEM workshops designed to give them a hands-on taste of diverse careers in mining.

Year 10 students from Pioneer and Mackay Northern Beaches State High Schools will spend the day with industry experts at ‘STEM Unearthed’ on 17 August. Sarina and Mackay SHS students will have their turn on 18 August.

The workshops, held at Mackay Northern Beaches SHS and Sarina SHS, are facilitated by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) and supported by BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA).

Working in groups alongside BMA professionals and tradespeople, the students will test their skills in three separate activities: competing to run the most profitable ‘mini mine’; comparing scientific methods of copper extraction; and applying process engineering skills to develop and test ‘the perfect drink’.

“STEM Unearthed’ will give these young people real-world insights into some of the problem-solving and decision-making involved in resources industry jobs,” explained QMEA’s Manager of Skills and Education, Matthew Heskett.

“The aim of these STEM-based scenarios is to allow students to find their own strengths and interests, and to empower them with knowledge about careers in fields including chemical engineering, geology, metallurgy and environmental engineering,” said Matthew. “They’re at a point where they’re making decisions about their Year 11 and 12 subjects, so this is enormously worthwhile to them now.”

Linda Murry General Manager of BMA’s Hay Point Coal Terminal said that ‘STEM Unearthed’ will provide students with an invaluable opportunity to learn from professionals. “The BMA mentors at this workshop were once Year 10 students themselves, and they have so much to share in terms of their pathways to resources sector roles and their experiences working in this rewarding and important industry,” she said.

As Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led education and skills 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 VET and STEM-related careers, with a focus on female and Indigenous participation. The QMEA currently engages with 90 schools and is a partnership with the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.




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