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Capella State High School students will be cracking code and coming up with some innovative ideas to enhance sun safety when they take part in a workshop today.

The 25 students will be working with professionals from Glencore Coal as they use the Arduino electronics platform to design a sun smart safety solution in the workshop run by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA).

“Many of the safety innovations that have been put in place over many years on our mine sites rely on the science technology engineering and maths (STEM) skills that the students will use today,” said Katrina-Lee Jones, Director Skills Education and Diversity with the QMEA.

“With Queensland being the skin cancer capital of Australia, it’s important that people who work outdoors have access to the best protection and prevention tools as possible.

“We are facing a shortage of people with these very skills, especially engineers, so we need to encourage students to continue with STEM studies and contribute to design solutions that can be applicable across multiple industries.

“It’s also very good for the students’ personal development to work in teams and interact with the visiting Glencore professionals.

Glencore Coal’s Human Resources Manager, Anthony Exelby said it was important for students to find out first hand what’s involved STEM-based careers and how to step onto those career pathways.

“We’re really keen to see what the students come up with in this exercise, which involves design thinking, critical and creative thinking, experimentation, problem solving and communication,” he said.

“We hope that we’ll spark an interest in the students in careers as engineers, scientists, coders, or data analysts.”

As Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led education and skills 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 VET and STEM-related careers, with a focus on female and Indigenous participation. The QMEA currently engages with more than 80 schools and is a partnership between industry  and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.

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