STEM Tradies for a Day

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They say life experience is the new work experience, but around 25 students from Theodore State School are today (1 June) benefiting from both during a Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) workshop, thanks to support from Aeris Resources.

The QMEA, which is the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), is in the Banana region delivering a popular program with a dual focus on trade-based and professional career pathways, with a particular emphasis on science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) skills development.

QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said the STEM Tradies for a Day workshop involves students from Year Seven to 10 working alongside industry experts from Aeris Resources, as they immerse themselves in exciting, hands-on STEM tasks and sample various trade-based activities.

“Students gain a lot from linking their school studies to real-world applications, and today’s workshop has the added benefit of representatives from the resources industry providing personal insights on how to navigate an education or training pathway to a rewarding career,” Ms Jones said.

“The ongoing skills shortage is among the top concerns of QRC member CEOs, and the QMEA is all about ensuring there is a sustainable, job-ready talent pipeline into the resources industry to help fill highly in-demand professional and trade roles,” Ms Jones said.

General Manager with Aeris Resources, Mr Geoff Atkinson said company representatives from a variety of technical and professional backgrounds were strategically chosen to mentor the students at today’s workshop.

“The students are hearing from Aeris Resources employees at different stages of their career from a diverse range of disciplines including an Apprentice Electrician, a Mechanical Apprentice, and a Community and Indigenous Relations Advisor, some of whom are previous Theodore State School students” Mr Atkinson said.

“Aeris has a proud relationship with the Banana region spanning 150 years, and our partnership with the QMEA is one just one way that we’re contributing to the development of regional skills capacity and providing employment to local communities.”

Theodore State School Principal, Ms Susan Cannon said the students were excited to further develop their STEM skills at the workshop today and experience trade-based activities in a safe environment.

“To better understand how their classroom curriculum is preparing them for real-world challenges, students are completing interactive tasks that investigate the reflection and refraction of light and are exploring how minerals are used in everyday products,” Ms Cannon said.

“They’re also eager to be testing their manual skills on a virtual welder and experience what it’s like to be a mechanic through some hands-on design and engineering activities, so it’s looking to be a very enjoyable day.”

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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