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Western Downs’ next generation powered up their valuable STEM (science, technology, engineering, and maths) skills today at a groundbreaking learning experience delivered by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA), the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).
Thanks to support from Genuity, 25 Year 8 students from Pittsworth State High School unearthed the dynamic intricacies of minerals exploration, which allowed them to apply their classroom theory to real-world applications in the resources and energy sector.
QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said engaging with students in the early years of secondary school through exciting, hands-on workshops helped them discover the many rewarding career pathways on offer, particularly for STEM professionals.
“Today’s program went beyond traditional learning methods, and under the guidance of skilled representatives from Genuity’s Millmerran Power Station, students became geologists, exploration engineers, and pioneers for the day,” Ms Jones said.
“With straws and plastic tubing in-hand, students quite literally breathed air into the scientific method behind percussive air drilling technology used to bring underground rock samples to the surface, which cleverly replicated one of the industry’s exploration process.
“Students particularly appreciated the opportunity to further bolster valuable life skills like collaboration, critical thinking, and creative problem-solving today. We hope they’ve learnt if they enjoy a particular subject at school or are inspired by a specific element of the Australian Curriculum, they could turn this passion into an exciting career opportunity.”
Plant Manager at Genuity’s Millmerran Power Station, Mr Shane Burge said its impactful partnership with the QMEA went beyond supporting regional skills development for students in communities in which it operated, and helped Pittsworth’s Gen-Z see how they could be part of the future resources and energy sector.
“STEM professionals play a critical role in the success of our industry, and today’s workshop demonstrated how fundamental STEM learning is preparing these bright young minds for life after school” Mr Burge said.
“It was fantastic to have enthusiastic representatives from our Millmerran Power Station at the workshop today, who guided the students through the activity and shared helpful insights into their personal career pathways.
“Science and innovation are at the forefront of many industries, and the resources and energy sector is no exception. We hope today helped inspire the students to continue pursuing STEM excellence in the later years of secondary school.”
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 99 schools and is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.