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Year 7 students from Mackay SHS, Mackay Northern Beaches SHS, Sarina SHS and Pioneer SHS were recently given a unique opportunity to track the journey of one of the region’s top mining exports.
‘Pit to Port’ was the latest workshop for local students by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA), supported by BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), designed to provide insight into career opportunities in the resources sector.
The full-day workshop on 10 September was the first QMEA event to be held at Mackay’s Resource Centre of Excellence, and students were not only mentored by industry sector professionals but also toured the Centre’s underground mine simulation.
QMEA’s Manager of Skills and Education, Matthew Heskett explained, “The ‘Pit to Port’ program aims to educate and inspire young people about employment in the resources sector via team challenges based on real-world logistical issues. Students were taken through the supply chain process and logistics involved in mining, managing and exporting coal.”
Matthew said that students are often surprised when they discover what’s involved in getting coal from pit to port and learn of the range of career options available to young people. “Even though many have family connections within the sector, they are staggered by what they learn.”
BMA Asset President James Palmer said the BMA representatives who participated enjoyed working alongside the students as they tackled issues like workplace health and safety and fleet management. “The students impressed them with their creativity and willingness to problem-solve real workplace issues.”
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 80 schools and is a partnership with the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.
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