STEM Unearthed_Roma 5

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A transformative science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) workshop delivered by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA), the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), yesterday provided a pathway to promising careers in the resources and energy sector.

Thanks to support from Origin, about 30 Year 10 students from St John’s Catholic School Roma have been equipped with new knowledge and expertise needed to thrive in the ever-evolving landscape of STEM-based industries.

QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones, said ‘STEM Unearthed’ is an immersive educational experience involving hands-on activities with a resources industry focus, linked to critical subjects like chemistry, geology, and engineering.

“Yesterday, students enthusiastically explored the fundamentals of a gas project and the diverse careers associated with each stage, as they worked in teams to develop their own simulated pipeline, investigating principles in gas exploration, gas extraction, and effective pressure management,” Ms Jones said.

“Working under the guidance of experienced representatives from Origin, students mapped prospective boreholes in search of natural gas, looking at where coal seams might have gas by factoring in geological density of above seam layers,” Ms Jones said.

“They then investigated gas extraction using pressure through a reactive fermentation experiment with yeast and water, before diving into the application of force on pressure linked with Boyle’s Law.”

Origin’s General Manager Asset West, Ms Aleta Nicoll, said the gas industry relies on a sustainable talent pipeline of STEM professionals for technical roles like engineers, hydrogeologists, environmental scientists and even drone pilots.

“Not only did yesterday’s workshop help students discover the dynamic intricacies of working in gas, it also helped them develop workplace skills such as teamwork, effective communication, planning and logistics, critical thinking, and problem-solving,” Ms Nicoll said.

“We hope yesterday’s experience has inspired the students to continue their STEM studies in the final years of secondary school and for some, potentially ignited a passion to pursue a rewarding career down this path.”

St John’s Catholic School Roma Principal, Mr Jim Brennan praised the QMEA’s workshop as an excellent opportunity to showcase the direct linkages between STEM subjects and exciting local career opportunities.

“For undecided students, this workshop served as an eye-opening experience that will no doubt help them make informed decisions about their tertiary pathways,” Mr Brennan said.

“This was a fantastic forum for our students to learn firsthand from industry professionals about day-to-day operations of the natural gas industry and foster a deeper understanding of the local resources and energy 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 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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