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Year 10 students at Chinchilla State High School are getting a taste of the real world by working as tradies today in an initiative to broaden students’ understanding of career opportunities in resource industries.

The experience is made available through the ‘Tradies for a Day’ workshop, which is run by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) – the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council – and sponsored by Origin Energy.

Each year, the QMEA runs in-school programs and camps across the state to introduce students to the diverse range of science, technology, engineering and maths-related (STEM) careers on offer in the resources sector.

Today, under the supervision of Origin Energy tradespeople and apprentices, 20 Chinchilla students are finding out how to wire electrical circuits, use virtual welders, build pneumatic circuits, pull apart and re-assemble motors and pumps, and will complete an apprentice aptitude test.

QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said the workshop is also helping students develop important life skills such as communication, teamwork and problem-solving, and is giving them a chance to meet local tradies who are on-hand to answer questions about what it’s like to work in their fields.

“The activities all align with the school curriculum and make students aware they need to consider choosing STEM subjects in Year 11 and 12 if they want to pursue a trade or tertiary-based career in the resources and energy sector,” Ms Jones said.

“We hope they do, because our industry is undergoing enormous change as companies strive to become more environmentally sustainable, so we need more young people in our workforce to help us achieve that.”

General Manager, Asset East for Origin, Steve Thatcher, said Origin had a strong focus on hiring local talent, so it was important to have a sustainable talent pipeline of tradespeople from local communities.

“It’s an exciting time to work in the resources and energy industry, and we are proud to support the QMEA and our employees to share their skills and encouragement to inspire the next generation to enter a trade-based job.

“By engaging with the Year 10 students today, we hope to encourage them to continue an education or vocation pathway that leads to an exciting future,” Mr Thatcher said.

Chinchilla State High School Principal, Mr Rob Burke said this workshop is an excellent opportunity for the students to get a taste of trade-based roles in a safe and stimulating environment.

“We know many of our students will pursue technical professions when they leave school, and Tradies for a Day helps raise their awareness of the highly in-demand trade-based roles that are on offer in our own backyard,” he said.

“This program works hand-in-hand with the work that we are currently doing as a Gateway School to both the Hydrogen Industry and also Advanced Manufacturing.”

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

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