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Queensland’s resources sector is on the hunt for at least 50 Gen Z students to register their interest in studying mining engineering as part of a campaign to address a chronic skills shortage.

The Queensland Resources Council (QRC) has launched a statewide digital campaign to encourage young Queenslanders in high school or first-year university to choose mining engineering as a career.

On average, mining engineers earn more money than CEOs and managing directors, with the most recent ATO data showing they earn an average yearly income of $181,720.

The QRC’s ‘Shape your future. Innovate our world’ campaign centres on a high-tech video that showcases the world of 3D-automation, artificial intelligence, virtual reality and game-like online modelling which is part of the everyday life of modern-day mining engineers.

The campaign invites students to find out more information about the engineering study options on offer at The University of Queensland and CQUniversity.

QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said resources companies are crying out to employ more mining engineers, with a severe shortage of graduates in recent years exacerbated by pandemic-related international border closures.

“Queensland’s resources sector is poised to become a global energy superpower, thanks to growing world demand for our traditional and new economy minerals, but we need more mining engineering students coming through our universities to add their expertise to our industry,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Our sector operates under the world’s strictest environmental laws and will play an important role in providing the raw materials for low-emissions technologies of the future, so we need to employ more engineers and innovators with high-level technology skills now.

“The resources sector is always looking for ways to reduce the environmental impact of our operations, and a job as a mining engineer offers young people the chance to make a difference.”

The campaign is the brainchild of the QRC’s education arm, the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) and features South32 mining engineers Nat Groeneveld and Gracie Liao, both of whom attended QMEA schools.

The QMEA partners with Queensland schools to run hands-on programs and real-life workshops to encourage students to select STEM and VET subjects to open up career pathways in the resources sector.

From an initial 18 schools in 2005, the QMEA now has partnerships with 80 schools across Queensland and can’t keep up with demand.

QRC Policy Director for Skills, Education and Diversity Katrina Lee Jones said the QMEA initially targeted schools based in and around Central and North Queensland resources communities to encourage a local skills pipeline into mining jobs.

“However, we’re experiencing increasing demand from schools in Brisbane and on the Gold and Sunshine coasts that will see the number of QMEA schools based in metropolitan areas increase from four in 2005 to 40 by 2022,” Ms Jones said.

“Jobs in Queensland’s resources sector are usually very well paid with good conditions and offer training and career path opportunities, and I think people, particularly the parents of young people, are starting to realise these jobs could set their children up for life.

“The resources sector is Queensland’s largest private employer of Indigenous people, and we’ve increased the participation rate of women in our workforce by 52 percent over the past five years,” she said.

“Resources companies are serious about providing inclusive, diverse and safe workplaces, and we hope this campaign attracts many more young people into our industry.”

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