STEM Day at Chinchilla_1

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It’s not just another typical school day for Chinchilla State High School students today; it’s an electrifying fusion of energy generation and STEM (science, technology, engineering and maths).

Queensland Resources Council (QRC)’s education arm, Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) is delivering an inaugural ‘STEM Day’ at the Chinchilla school, with support from Origin Energy – the upstream operator of Australia Pacific LNG.

During the event, about 40 Year 9 students will get their creative sparks flying as they dive into the dynamic intricacies of sustainable energy supply.

QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones says this event provides the opportunity for students to shine and gain insights into the future of electricity generation.

“In a world where the enduring demand for sustainable energy is driving STEM innovation, this workshop seeks to empower Gen-Z to be the superheroes of a decarbonised future, solving energy challenges using concepts from their classroom curriculum,” Ms Jones explains.

“Under the mentorship of Origin Energy representatives, students will explore the National Electricity Market (NEM), analysing the different energy generation sources and how supply and demand influences real-world scenarios.”

General Manager, Asset East for Origin, Steve Thatcher, says Origin was pleased to support initiatives that help students in local communities gain valuable STEM skills, and inspire them to pursue careers in the gas and energy sector.

“The next generation seems interested in learning more about the energy transition to net zero, and ‘STEM Day’ is a fantastic forum for students to gain insights into the step changes needed to achieve this goal, as well as the various STEM professions linked with it,” Mr Thatcher says.

During the event, students will learn about the National Energy Market (NEM) and take part in an experiment that demonstrates renewable hydrogen production using miniature solar panels to power an electrolyser to separate hydrogen and oxygen molecules in water.

Chinchilla State High School Principal, Mr Rob Burke says the school is proud to host this event for the first time.

“This unique program seamlessly integrates with the work our school is currently doing as a partner school for the Gateway to Industry Schools project for the Hydrogen industry,” Mr Burke says.

“At the core of our school’s ethos is our commitment to helping students learn for a happy and productive future, and the valuable STEM skills they’ll pick up during the workshop will no doubt prepare them for rewarding and exciting career opportunities.”

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

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