Thousands of school children at 75 schools across the state will return for a record start for the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) along with a full calendar of events to prepare students for future careers.
Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said enhancing the teaching and learning experiences in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) subjects and trade skills would help students onto pathways to rewarding careers.
“QMEA has now partnered with a record 75 schools across the state to deliver hands-on events that have been shown to set students onto career pathways in our sector,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“We know that many of the jobs of the future will require STEM skills and it’s crucial that students are studying these subjects through primary and high school. Trade skills are becoming increasingly valuable with demand for welding and electrical expertise growing and the QMEA prides itself on connecting students with trade experts to help prepare them for apprenticeships after school.”
QMEA is Australia’s largest industry and government partnership and works with teachers to organise in-school and site activities along with experts from the resource industry to help lift students’ knowledge of STEM and trades. QMEA has schools in the south east, Darling Downs, Rockhampton, Mackay, Townsville and Mount Isa.
“The latest data provided by the Queensland Government shows that almost 22 percent of QMEA students who finished school in 2018 and went to university began studies in engineering and related technologies last year, compared with 15 percent of students in non-QMEA schools,” Mr Macfarlane said.
“And, 5.2 percent of QMEA students entered a mining field compared with 0.2 percent of non-QMEA students.
“Most pleasingly, 4 percent of Indigenous students in QMEA schools entered mining careers, compared with just 1 percent of non-QMEA Indigenous students.
“And, 13 percent of QMEA female students in apprenticeships went into the mining sector compared with 2 percent of non-QMEA females.
“It’s clear that the sizeable investment from our member companies, along with that of the Queensland Government is paying dividends. It comes at a time when we are facing critical shortages of skilled people, combined with a lack of knowledge among students of careers in resources.
“A Minerals Council of Australia survey showed that 59 percent of students had no knowledge of the huge variety of careers we have in the resources sector, while the 2020 Hays report indicated there was a high demand for engineers, data scientists, diesel fitters and machine operators.”