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From laser labyrinths to robotic rockstars, the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) is set to inspire future Millmerran innovators at a science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) focussed workshop today, thanks to support from Genuity.
Thirty curious STEM enthusiasts will discover the myriad of exciting career opportunities on offer in Queensland’s world-class resources industry at the learning experience delivered by the QMEA, the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).
QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said Year 9 students from Millmerran State School P-10 will delve into the captivating world of STEM, guided by insightful representatives from Genuity’s Millmerran Power Station.
“The day will kick off with a high-tech challenge that will see students program Lego EV3 robots to autonomously move around a simulated mine site, competing in teams to see who can score the most points for driving their ‘haul truck’ from a designated ‘stockpile’ to the ‘coal handling and preparation plant’ and back to the start line within a set time,” Ms Jones said.
“This task requires more than just tech-savviness– it demonstrates how employability skills like effective communication, collaboration, and problem-solving leads to success.”
Plant Manager at Genuity’s Millmerran Power Station, Mr Shane Burge said the STEM fun will continue with students exploring the principles of light, investigating how the resources and energy sector uses simple physics principles to keep its workforce safe.
“Using lasers and critical thinking, students will position a series of mirrors to manoeuvre a light source around a fixed obstacle, simulating a type of safety technology used called retroreflectors,” Mr Burge said.
“Genuity is committed to supporting regional skills development, helping the next generation make personal connections with the resources and energy sector, and today’s workshop is a fantastic opportunity for Millmerran students to learn how valuable STEM skills are in a local industry with boundless career possibilities.”
Millmerran State School P-10 Deputy Principal, Mrs Regina Birchley said the last activity will put the students’ creativity and STEM ingenuity to the test as they’re tasked with designing and constructing a ‘coal sorting’ machine.
“Cleverly complementing their STEM curriculum, this final activity will require teamwork and scientific enquiry as students build their own devices capable of sorting materials without manual intervention,” Mrs Birchley said.
“This hands-on activity will help students discover how process engineering, physics, and a smart design can simplify and optimise and otherwise difficult challenge – something we know underpins the adaptability and creativity of the resources sector.”
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 98 schools and is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.