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Roma and Miles students will get the inside story on mining and energy careers when they attend Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) workshops this week.

Professionals from Origin Energy will guide them through hands-on activities where Roma students will calculate the best energy mix for their region, and Miles students will have a taste of artificial intelligence and how it is used to create a voice/text controlled chatbot for recording data.

The QMEA – the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) – runs these events in 80 schools throughout the state, but it’s the first time the Energy The Inside Story workshop has been run in Roma.

QRC’s Director of Skills and Education Katrina-Lee Jones said the workshops were designed to encourage students to continue to study science technology engineering and maths (STEM) subjects, which were needed for in-demand careers in the resources sector, such as engineering, geology and environmental sciences.

“Our sector is experiencing critical shortages of STEM professionals, with literally thousands of positions vacant across the state, and the closure of our national borders due to COVID has exacerbated this as we don’t have access to skilled migrants to help fill the gaps,” she said.

“Skills shortages have gone from being the 12th area of concern for our QRC CEOs a year ago to the top concern today.

“It’s why we are currently running a social media campaign to encourage young people to take on mining engineering degrees.

“We really are keen to build our local capacity so that these young people can return to their communities and take up highly-skilled and very well-paid careers in the resources sector.”

Origin Energy’s Alexandra Kennedy-Clark, General Manager Condabri, Talinga and Orana Asset, said Origin employees enjoyed mentoring the students and sharing information about themselves.

“Many students are unaware of the wide range of careers available to them in the resources sector,” she said.

“It is great that our staff can help to fill this knowledge gap, while sharing their own varied experiences about how to step onto these career pathways.

“Energy trading and operations maintenance, which the students learn about during these workshops, are fundamental for the resources sector.

“We are proud to support QMEA to host these activities and to help showcase to students how they can get involved in a career in STEM.”

Principal of Roma State College Guy Hendriks said it was extremely beneficial for students to see how their classroom work is used in the real world.

“We often see those light-bulb moments when students see the practical application of the theory,” he said.

Miles State High School Principal Josette Moffatt stated that the school’s well-recognised trade training centre, and its partnerships with the trade industries is further enhanced by the QMEA and Origin workshops.

“These workshops continue to put a necessary light on students’ engagement and accreditation in requisite entry-level skills for our engineering industries,” she said.

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



Media Contact: Caroline Morrissey  0417 770 893 or Carolinem@qrc.org.au

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