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Millmerran students are having a blast today putting lasers, robots, and machines to work to solve science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) challenges with resources industry applications as they prepare to wrap up the school year, thanks to support from Millmerran Power.

The Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA), the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), is in the Darling Downs region today, delivering its final educational experience for 2022 to about 60 Grade 9 students.

QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said Beakers.Bots.Build is a unique workshop focusing on resources and energy-related technologies, with hands-on activities that promote design thinking, problem solving, communication, and teamwork.

“The STEM fun kicked off this morning with students investigating the properties of light to determine how physics principles are used to improve safety outcomes,” Ms Jones said.

“Students used a series of mirrors to reflect and refract light, maneuvering a laser beam around obstacles, modelling a type of technology called a retroreflector which is used in high-visibility clothing and road signs.

“This afternoon, students will program Lego EV3 robots to drive along designated routes of a simulated mine site, demonstrating the exciting and innovative use of autonomous vehicles in our industry.”

Millmerran Power’s Plant Manager, Mr Shane Burge said engagements in local schools such as this play an important role in helping to build a sustainable talent pipeline in the community.

“With our sector’s uptake of advanced technologies and ambitions toward decarbonisation, in addition to the high environmental, social, and health and safety standards it operates under, demand for highly-skilled STEM professionals continues to grow,” Mr Burge said.

“Millmerran Power is proud to partner with the QMEA, and we hope today’s workshop has helped guide students onto a pathway into one of Australia’s most important and transformational industries – minerals and energy.”

Millmerran State School Principal, Mr Rob Michel said the students are really enjoying the versatility of the workshop’s activities, allowing them to see how the school curriculum is applied in real-world situation.

“These students are on the verge of selecting subjects for Grade 11 and 12, and educational experiences like this can strongly influence their education or training pathway after school,” Mr Michel said.

“It’s fantastic to have experienced professionals from Millmerran Power at the workshop today, mentoring students through the different tasks and giving them some valuable career advice.”

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 90 schools and is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.

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