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Bowen State High School students have struck skills development gold after participating in a hands-on workshop delivered by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA), the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).

Thanks to support from Abbot Point Operations (APO), about 20 Year 10 students from Bowen State High School have embarked on an exciting journey to become the mining industry’s next generation of skilled tradespeople.

QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said with the growing demand for trade-based professionals, these students are now armed with the skills and confidence to unearth a rewarding career in the resources and energy sector.

“Guided by experienced apprentices and tradespeople from Abbot Point Operations, today’s workshop allowed students to try out popular trade activities like electrical, mechanical, pneumatics, and welding in the safety of their classroom environment,” Ms Jones said.

“This cohort is on the precipice of choosing their subjects for Years 11 and 12, and today was a valuable opportunity for the students to sample different technical disciplines, allowing them to make informed decisions about tertiary pathways after school.”

APO General Manager Allan Brown said learning directly from industry professionals today has helped the students gain a deeper understanding and appreciation for the resources and energy sector, and more specifically the intricacies of port operations.

“The activities from today’s workshop were cleverly delivered with a resources industry focus, where students could take the skills they picked up and apply them to real-world scenarios,” Mr Brown said.

“This not only gave them a competitive advantage for their future career pathways, but it also demonstrated how important intangible skills like critical thinking, problem-solving and teamwork are.”

Bowen State High School Principal, Mr Robert Harris said the virtual welding activity was the clear crowd favourite among today’s group of students.

“Students often won’t get the opportunity to try out welding until their final years of secondary school, and usually only if they’ve selected an Industrial Technology and Design (ITD) subject,” Mr Harris said.

“This was such a fun and innovative way for them to try out a new skill thanks to the impressive advancement in virtual reality technology.”

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

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