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The future is bright for Queensland’s resources and energy sector after the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) helped deliver engaging learning experiences that excited the next generation’s passion for innovation and robotics.
Thanks to support from Thiess, the Queensland Resources Council’s (QRC) education arm coordinated three ‘STEM Proud Robotics’ workshops in Collinsville and Scottville last week, helping students as young as nine discover how advanced technologies are transforming the resources sector.
QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said primary school students from St John Bosco Catholic College, Collinsville and Scottville state schools cracked the code to the importance of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) skills that could lead to a rewarding future in the mining industry.
“These experiences gave young visionaries the opportunity to not only learn how to program robots but to also explore their use in the resources and energy sector,” Ms Jones said.
“In addition to showing them the impressive power of robotics and automation, the short, fun and engaging workshops set the students up for the school to school ‘STEM Proud Competition’ in August.”
Thiess General Manager Mining – QLD, Chris Bourke believes it’s important to foster an early interest in STEM among younger generations, especially due to the sector’s ongoing demand for professionals in this field.
“Throughout the workshops, students eagerly navigated their robots through the custom-designed challenges, cleverly linked to real-world Thiess operations,” Mr Bourke said.
“It was a fantastic forum for them to witness firsthand how robotics and automation play such an important role in our sector.”
St John Bosco Catholic College Principal, Mrs Nicole Preitz praised the workshops as fascinating opportunities to introduce young minds to coding, programming, and team-based challenges, helping them cultivate a deep appreciation for the wonders of STEM.
“We know students greatly benefit from connecting their classroom learning to real-world applications, and exciting, hands-on engagements that incorporate robotics go hand-in-hand with the objectives of the National Science Curriculum,” Mrs Preitz said.
“It was great to see them apply valuable skills like teamwork, critical thinking, and problem solving, and we hope the experience has helped bridge the gap between STEM studies and an industry operating in their hometown.”
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 over 90 schools and is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.