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Innovation, resourceful creation, and hands-on education were the theme this week when the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) delivered two inspiring learning experiences in Mackay, thanks to support from Thiess.
With the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) on the precipice of reaching its target of 100 school partnerships by the end of 2023, Whitsunday Anglican School and St Patrick’s College Mackay were proud to host QMEA workshops for the first time, which helped Mackay’s next generation mine valuable science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) skills.
QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said physics, coding, and mining converged in two unforgettable events that allowed about 30 Year 7 and 8 students to discover the many exciting career pathways in Queensland’s world-class resources and energy sector.
“On Wednesday, students from Whitsunday Anglican College demonstrated their design and engineering prowess as they discovered the impressive forces behind non-compressible fluids,” Ms Jones said.
“Working in teams, students created and constructed a model-scale hydraulic arm to perform a specific function that mirrored real-world, mining industry applications. It was a great way for these bright young minds to see how simple physics concepts help the resources and energy sector make challenging tasks a simple feat.”
Thiess General Manager Mining – QLD, Chris Bourke said Thiess was committed to investing in the next generation, creating pathways to rewarding careers and delivering sustainable growth in communities like Mackay and the broader Whitsundays.
“As a business focussed on technology and innovation, we recognise the importance of helping students build skills that align with emerging careers in the resources sector,” Mr Bourke said.
“This program is an excellent opportunity for students to learn firsthand how STEM excellence could lead to local job opportunities at Thiess, or the broader mining industry.”
St Patrick’s College Mackay Principal, Mrs Janelle Agius said the school was delighted to host their inaugural QMEA workshop yesterday, helping ignite students’ passion for STEM careers whilst further developing indispensable skills like critical thinking, teamwork, and problem solving.
“The room buzzed with creativity and inspiration as students engineered devices that flipped a coin into a cup without manual intervention, replicating dynamic, cutting-edge technology like coal sorting machines,” Mrs Agius said.
“Students then delved into reflection and refraction when they positioned a series of mirrors to navigate a laser beam around a fixed obstacle – another clever opportunity to demonstrate the criticality of STEM in everyday mining operations.
“Our new partnership with the QMEA reflects our commitment to nurturing young talent and empowering them with beneficial skills to embark on prosperous pathways after school.”
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.