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Students from Good Shepherd Catholic College this week analysed water quality methods as well as the myriad of science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) career pathways to the resources sector at two Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) workshops.
Thanks to support from Glencore Queensland Metals, about 25 students picked up new water treatment skills at Water: Yours, Ours Mine yesterday (20 June), and about 30 students put their programming, process engineering, and problem-solving skills to the test at Beakers.Bots.Build, today (21 June).
The QMEA, which is the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council travelled to Mount Isa to deliver the popular workshops that have been developed in line with the national science curriculum to students across Grades 7 to 10.
QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said students benefited from the expertise of Glencore Queensland Metals representatives who joined both workshops to guide them through STEM-related activities relating to the resources industry.
“To demonstrate how a critical resource like water is conserved and managed, the first workshop saw students investigate various best-practice water treatment methods used in the resources industry.
“Students tested the effectiveness of different filtration materials and then conducted their own experiments to identify the optimum volume of an additive required to effectively treat water to a standard suitable for release into the surrounding environment,” Ms Jones said.
“The second workshop put the students’ STEM skills to the test as they programmed a Lego EV3 robot to autonomously travel around a miniature ‘mine site’, used lasers and mirrors to manipulate a beam of light and manoeuvre it around obstacles, and design a mechanical structure to move a coin without touching it.”
Glencore Zinc Assets Australia General Manager Human Resources, Clint Milner said the activities in the workshops across both days allowed the students to assess and problem solve some real-world challenges typical of the resources industry.
“Glencore Queensland Metals is an active member of the Mount Isa community, and our operations produce critical natural resources of enduring value in modern society” Mr Milner said.
“In addition to ensuring we’re contributing to regional skills development, partnering with the QMEA to deliver this workshop allows us to support the growth of a sustainable, local talent pipeline.”
Good Shepherd Catholic College Principal, Ms Kathleen McCarthy said the activities in the workshops bolstered the school’s passion to encourage students to continue pursuing studies in STEM subjects in Grade 11 and 12.
“There is an increasing demand for skilled professionals with a strong STEM background in a number of industries, and this is particularly pertinent for the resources sector”, Ms McCarthy said.
“The students received a lot of insightful knowledge from the Glencore Queensland Metals representatives at both workshops who were able to share personal experience and helpful advice on education and training pathways into an industry in their hometowns”.
As Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led education and schools 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 vocational and professional careers, with a focus on female and Indigenous participation. The QMEA currently engages with over 90 schools and is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.