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QRCA career in the resources sector is firmly in the sights of 20 female Year 12 students from throughout the state who graduated from the highly successful Girls In Resources Life Skills (GIRLS) Mentoring Program last night.

The program is run by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) in conjunction with Women in Mining and Resources Queensland (WIMARQ) to give students access to one-on-one mentoring with a resources sector employee over a six-month period.

The QMEA is the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) and was established 16 years ago to encourage more school students to consider careers in resources.

QRC Skills, Education and Diversity Policy Director Katrina-Lee Jones said there had been a 116 percent increase in applications for the program since it was first launched three years ago to improve diversity in the resources sector workforce.

“The program is designed to provide support and information to mentees during their final year of high school and to help with decisions about future study and training options,” she said.

Mentees meet regularly with mentors over the six-month period to develop networking and time management skills as well as gain first-hand insights into the career opportunities available in the resources sector.

“The GIRLS mentoring program, combined with the QRC’s Women in Resources Action Plan, has increased female participation in our sector by 52 percent over the past five years,” Ms Jones said.

“We’re now considering our next five-year action plan to further boost efforts to increase diversity in our sector.”

Ms Jones said the program would not be possible without the highly valued support of platinum sponsor Glencore Coal, along with BHP/BMA, Bravus Mining and Resources, Evolution Mining, South32, Idemitsu and Hastings Deering.

Due to Covid-19 restrictions affecting regional travel, a virtual GIRLS mentoring program finale celebration was held last night.

Guest speaker, Glencore Coal Assets Australia’s Director of Underground Operations Darren Nicholls, said a total of 65 young women had now taken part in the program, which encourages them to consider non-traditional pathways in the resources sector.

“And it’s paying off, with many mentees already setting their sights on studying engineering (or related fields) or taking up an apprenticeship in the resources sector next year,” he said.

As Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led education and skills training initiative, the QMEA seeks to broaden student and teacher knowledge of career opportunities in resources.

The academy encourages a talent pipeline of employees into VET and STEM-related careers, with a focus on female and Indigenous participation. The QMEA currently engages with 80 schools and is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.

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