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Collinsville’s tech-savvy next generation is set to mine a successful future in Queensland’s resources and energy sector after participating in a robotics competition delivered today by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA), the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).
Thanks to support from Thiess, the annual ‘STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) Proud Robotics Competition’ brings together students from Collinsville and Scottville state schools, and St Johns Bosco Catholic College to showcase their programming prowess.
QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said about 30 students from Years five and six are set to discover how the resources and energy sector harnesses cutting-edge digital technologies, with the stage set for an extraordinary, contextualised learning experience.
“Under the watchful eye of technology guru Dr. Damien Kee and with guidance from Thiess representatives, students will work in teams to complete a series of engaging challenges focussed on programming, and problem-solving,” Ms Jones said.
“In a rapidly evolving digital landscape, the robotics competition serves as a beacon of knowledge and opportunity for the budding STEM talents of Collinsville who will walk away with a deep understanding of the dynamic and exciting resources sector.”
Thiess General Manager Mining – QLD, Chris Bourke said Thiess was committed to investing in the next generation, creating pathways to rewarding careers and delivering sustainable growth in communities like Collinsville and Scottsville.
“As a business focused on technology and innovation, we recognise the importance of helping students build skills that align with emerging careers in the resources sector.
“The program is a great opportunity for students to learn firsthand how their STEM education can lead to a job in the mining industry and directly benefit their community.
“We’re looking forward to providing guidance during the competition, and helping students understand how robotics can make operations safer and more efficient,” Mr Bourke said.
Students will first program Lego EV3 robots to autonomously drive around a simulated mine site via optimised routes, before using creative thinking and problem solving to identify the most efficient method of ‘resource collection’ by applying strategic thinking ideas similar to resources companies.
Collinsville State School Principal, Mr Matthew Grosskreutz said students will also get hands-on operational experience as their team navigates their robots through a cleverly crafted model mine site, mirroring the intricacies of a local Thiess operation.
“From operating switches to ‘turning valves’, these students will discover how robotics can be used to remotely control equipment or manoeuvre machinery,” Mr Grosskreutz said.
“Using the skills and tools they picked up at a Thiess-supported workshop last month, students will embrace friendly competition as they contend for first place to take home the perpetual ‘STEM Proud Robotics Competition’ trophy.”
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.