Click here for photos of ‘Beakers.Bots.Build’.
Click here for photos of ‘Mining for Code’.
A fusion of robotics, cutting-edge technology, and ingenious engineering has propelled Gladstone’s next generation onto exciting career pathways in Queensland’s high-tech gas and energy sector following immersive, hands-on learning experiences delivered by Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA).
Thanks to support from ConocoPhillips Australia, as downstream operator of Australia Pacific LNG (APLNG), the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) this week fanned the flame of science enthusiasm among Year 9 students from the Gladstone region.
QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said about 50 bright young minds from Chanel College, and Gladstone and Toolooa State High Schools explored the many rewarding futures in science, technology, engineering, and maths (STEM) professions.
“Today, under the guidance of representatives from ConocoPhillips Australia, students rotated through a series of programming, process engineering, and mechanical construction activities when they participated in our unparalleled ‘Beakers.Bots.Build’ program,” Ms Jones said.
“Students went on a high-energy scavenger hunt around the school grounds, tracking down clues to solve puzzles and riddles related to gas technology, while they learnt about its vital role in our modern world. The then put their coding skills to the test by programming Lego EV3 robots to autonomously drive around a designated quadrant, replicating the awe-inspiring applications of remote gas pipeline inspection technology.”
Stakeholder Relations Manager at ConocoPhillips Australia, Ms Chantale Lane said its partnership with the QMEA played a critical role in supporting regional skills development in local communities in which it operated.
“Students had the unique opportunity to explore how their classroom learning translates to real-world technology, careers, and industry challenges – and hopefully it shone a light on how STEM concepts, critical thinking, and problem-solving skills have equipped them for a prosperous future,” Ms Lane said.
“The day concluded with a design and engineering challenge where students were tasked with building a device that sorted materials of different sizes without manual intervention.
“These young innovators even got a feel for the complexities of project management when their teams had to ‘buy and sell’ the equipment needed to make their contraption come to fruition, which helped them hone their collaboration, negotiation, and strategizing skills.”
Chanel College Principal, Dr Susan Bunkum praised the workshop as an exceptional opportunity where students discovered how both fundamental STEM principles and cutting-edge technology helps Gladstones gas and energy sector thrive.
“Students are fascinated when they connect the dots between the Australian Curriculum and realistic scenarios, and this program has empowered them with valuable skills to make informed decisions about subject selection in their final years of secondary school,” Dr Bunkum said.
“I’m confident that workshops like this have nurtured their curiosity and enthusiasm to continue pursuing STEM excellence, possibly leading to exciting careers in the local gas and energy industry.”
Tomorrow, thanks to support again from APLNG, students from Calliope State High School will also delve into the digital realm by programming miniature computers called Arduinos. Under the guidance of QMEA representatives, students will code a device that produces a series of flashing lights, replicating the safety features seen on hard hats in the gas sector.
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.