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Central Queensland’s future tech and trade leaders have unearthed handy new career skills at a workshop delivered by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA), the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).

Thanks to support from Anglo American, about 25 Year 10 students from Middlemount Community School participated in a day-long educational experience enriched with exciting science, technology, engineering, mathematics (STEM), and trade-based activities.

QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said the ‘STEM Tradies for a Day’ program transported the students into a world of hands-on learning like no other school-based industry initiative.

“Enthusiastic STEM and trade professionals remain in high demand by the resources and energy sector, and this event cleverly integrated both professional pathways into a hands-on workshop linked with the Australian school curriculum,” Ms Jones said.

“From programming their own mini autonomous vehicles to trying out welding thanks to virtual reality technology, students were immersed in an environment that fostered critical thinking, teamwork, and innovative problem-solving skills.”

General Manager of Anglo American’s Capcoal Open Cut, Mick Keough, said the partnership was important in supporting regional skills development for local students in the communities where it operates.

“We want to help the next generation make personal connections and discover first-hand the importance of the resources sector,” he said.

“The steelmaking coal we produce from our Queensland operations will continue to form the backbone of the world’s infrastructure for decades to come, as an essential ingredient in the production of steel with a key role to play in supporting the transition to a low carbon economy.

“Our team members enjoy sharing their knowledge with the next generation, so it was great to have representatives from both our local underground and open cut mines supporting the workshop. We hope today’s experience has inspired these young men and women to pursue tertiary pathways to a rewarding career in mining, whether that’s in STEM or trades, Mr Keough said.

Middlemount Community School Principal, Mr Rod Flood said today’s workshop not only deepened the students’ understanding of the potential applications of technology in trades and STEM but also ignited their passion for pursuing future professional pathways in a local industry.

“As educators, it’s important to prepare our students for life beyond school, and exciting workshops like this help them make informed decisions about the subjects they’ll choose in Years 11 and 12,” Mr Flood said.

“The students really enjoyed sampling different trade activities today like engineering measurement, welding principles, auto electrical, pneumatics, and engineering drawing – and they loved programming the Lego EV3 robots to autonomously drive around the classroom.”

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 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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