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Thursday, 4 August 2022

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Queensland’s potential resources’ superstars of tomorrow are being carefully moulded by the leaders of today through a unique six-month female mentoring program which concluded in Brisbane today.

A cohort of 20 Year 12 students from across Queensland celebrated the finale of this year’s Girls in Resources Life Skills (GIRLS) Mentoring Program, an annual initiative delivered by the Queensland Resources Council’s Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) and Women in Mining and Resources Queensland (WIMARQ).

The purpose of the program is to connect knowledgeable women in resources with female students who want to know more about career opportunities in the sector.

QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said this year’s female students from QMEA-associated schools across Queensland have kick-started their way to a rewarding career in resources as well as boosted their life skills like networking, communication, and confidence.

“Over the past six months, these young students have been guided and inspired during regular meetings with their individually-matched, female industry mentors who have imparted invaluable professional and personal advice,” Ms Jones said.

“This mentoring program, now in its fourth year, plays an essential role in the industry’s efforts to attract more young females into resources and energy.

“By having successful role models from various specialties across the industry give these students first-hand insight into the different exciting and rewarding career opportunities on offer, we hope this year’s group of young women will go on to become the Queensland resources sector’s next leaders and innovators.”

QRC Chief Executive, Mr Ian Macfarlane praised the GIRLS Mentoring Program in a speech at today’s finale, saying it is helping young females create valuable and lasting relationships while learning about the increasing diversity of roles and professions on offer in the resources sector.

“Women currently make up 20% of the resources and energy sector’s workforce, which is an impressive 53% increase in the past six years and the result of deliberate and strategic targets and actions by companies across our industry,” Mr Macfarlane said.

“Our industry continues to go from strength to strength in the diversity and inclusion space, and this program would not be the success it is without our generous platinum sponsor Rio Tinto, and further support from BHP and the BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), Coronado Global Resources, Idemitsu Australia, and South32.”

This morning, ahead of the finale celebration, mentees had an opportunity to visit Rio Tinto’s Brisbane office and hear directly from other experienced professionals about their education and training pathways to a prosperous career in resources.

Rio Tinto’s General Manager – Operational Excellence and WIMARQ Co-Chair Sally Rayner said the GIRLS Mentoring Program offers guidance and support to young women at a pivotal time in their schooling journey.

“Engaging with students in their last year at high school allows these passionate and aspiring young women to make informed decisions about their own tertiary education or training pathways,” Ms Rayner said.

“The GIRLS Mentoring Program has seen a year-on-year increase in the number of applicants since it first launched in 2019, and this just proves how important initiatives like this are for the future of the resources sector.”

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.

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