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There’s probably no better time than now to seek a career as a tradie with trade skills shortages biting hard across the country.

This will be the message to students at Bowen State High School today during a workshop run by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA), the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).

And, qualified tradies from event supporter Abbot Point Operations will be on hand to mentor the students and take them through some practical exercises in auto electrical, pneumatics, mechanics and technical drawing as well as an aptitude test for trade career suitability.

“There are currently 3,000 trade vacancies across Queensland advertised on a major recruitment site,” said QRC’s Katrina-Lee Jones, Director Skills Education and Diversity.

“Our trade training system has not kept up with demand for some years, and this is exacerbated by the current halt on skilled migration, the home building boom under the COVID-19 grant, and a shortage of qualified industrial technology and design teachers (ITD) in our high schools,” she said.

“The QRC is working with government to try to increase the number of ITD teachers in our schools, but in the meantime, we need to also demonstrate to students the many skilled and well-paid trade careers available to them, particularly in our resources sector.

Abbot Point Operations’ General Manager Allan Brown said they were proud to participate in this event, which gives students hands-on experience as to what it’s like to work in industry, and particularly in trades.

“We’re pleased to partner with the QMEA on these education-based events occurring in our region, so that local children have the chance to benefit from our support.

“We strongly encourage young people considering career opportunities to explore the possibilities on offer through trades, especially when they can lead to jobs in our own backyard, like at Abbot Point Operations.

“We have our own traineeship programs in place at Abbot Point Operations, which train people to become highly-skilled in their field, and lead to long, fulfilling careers.”

Bowen State High School Principal Pamela Pritchard said there was no substitute for students hearing about these careers first hand, and taking part in hands-on tasks that give them a feel for the different trade fields.

“It’s also important that students can see how their classroom work is connected to real tasks, which can be an invaluable aid to learning,” 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.



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