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Gumlu State School and Merinda State School students have turned masters of the mine site, using their final week of school to program a LEGO robot mining truck to travel autonomously.
The project was a feature of the Queensland Mineral and Energy Academy’s (QMEA) ‘Resourceful Robots’ program, on its first visit to both North Queensland schools over the past two days. The QMEA is the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).
QRC’s Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Katrina-Lee Jones, said the students at each school – from Prep to Grade 6 – worked together to learn basic block coding and engineering skills.
The activities included a scenario to move a LEGO robot autonomously to and from a mine site and an engineering project to create an aircraft.
“There’s an amazing array of skills needed in the resources sector, including those that are based on the STEM subjects of Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths,” Ms Lee-Jones said.
“The resources sector will always need engineers, programmers and scientists, along with machinery operators and technicians, and this activity was a fun way to get students thinking early on about the practical way to apply what they learn in the classroom.”
Evolution Mining’s Health, Safety, Environment and Community Manager Mark Brown said, it was great to see the minds of the next generation of skilled workers in action.
“Evolution Mining operates throughout Australia and Canada, so we know how important it is to have access to a local skilled workforce that makes the resources sector a global leader,” Mr Brown said.
“Jobs in the resources sector can be complex and high tech – but they’re also fun and rewarding, as the students at Gumlu State School and Merinda State School have found out.”
Gumlu State School Principal Thomas Harrington said the activity was a great way to get students thinking creatively and working as a team in the last week of term.
“The countdown to Christmas is on, and we welcome the opportunity to work with the QMEA to use this time to give our students a chance to develop new skills in team work and creative problem-solving,” Mr Harrington said.
Merinda State School Principal Ryan Gilmour said the activity helped students think about local industry in a new way.
“Many of our students come from families where someone works in or with the resources sector. While we’ve seen the big kit on the mining site, it was an exciting chance for the students to apply those skills on a smaller LEGO-sized model,” Mr Gilmour 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 90 schools and is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.