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Biloela students got a helping hand in the classroom today when they not only designed and built a model-scale hydraulic arm, but also constructed their own pathways to a rewarding career in the resources and energy sector.
Thanks to support from Batchfire Resources, the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA), which is the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) delivered an unforgettable learning experience to 25 Year 8 and 9 students from Biloela State High School and Redeemer Lutheran College, Biloela.
QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said these young innovators worked in teams under the mentorship of Batchfire Callide representatives to design and build a mechanical arm powered by hydraulic fluid.
“Students put their engineering prowess to the test as they embarked on a journey into the life of a designer and engineer as they worked on a prototype solution that solved a common industry challenge like moving tonnes of overburden from one place to another,” Ms Jones said.
“This workshop was all about showcasing how STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) principles are applied when designing workable solutions to complex problems,” Ms Jones said.
“Students designed and modelled using 3D-modelling software their own prototype that could pick up and move objects without manual intervention, and then used a variety of materials like paddle pop sticks, tape and rubber bands to construct a replica of their design.”
Batchfire Resources CEO, Mr Allan Fidock, said STEM professionals play a critical role in the resources and energy sector, and this workshop helped foster a passion for creative thinking to real-world scenarios.
“Using plastic tubing and syringes, students also witnessed how non-compressible fluids are used in hydraulic machinery to make difficult tasks safer and more efficient,” Mr Fidock said.
“It was a great opportunity for these budding STEM professionals to explore the many STEM-based professions needed in the industry, and we hope it’s inspired them to pursue an exciting career at Batchfire Resources.”
Biloela State High School Principal, Ms Natasha Bunn said ‘Heavy Hydraulics’ was a creative learning experience for students to discover firsthand how their STEM curriculum translates to life after school.
“Students are always fascinated when they bridge the gap between classroom lessons and real career opportunities,” Ms Bunn said.
“These programs offer a unique insight into exciting job opportunities in an industry operating in their hometown, while helping them further develop valuable life skills like teamwork, critical thinking, 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 99 schools and is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.