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Got a computer problem? Well give it to a seven year old!

That is certainly ringing true today as students from Collinsville and Scottville state schools and St John Bosco Catholic School take part in the Thiess STEM Proud Robotics Competition run by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA), the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).

About 50 students have gathered at the Collinsville Civic Centre where they are being mentored by professionals from Thiess as they program a robot to navigate through a replica of a local minesite operated by the company.

“Thiess is very happy to be able to support STEM education, and this program again, after COVID-19 forced its cancellation last year,” said Thiess Group Manager Community, Diversity & Inclusion, Anthea Craig.

“The three challenges set for the students involve programming and managing Lego EV3 robots, designed by our local team,” she said.

“It’ll be interesting to see if Scottville retains the trophy, or if it’s snatched this year by a Collinsville or St John Bosco team,” said Katrina-Lee Jones, Director Skills and Education with the QRC.

“We very much appreciate Thiess’ involvement in the event, which really gives it that real-world flavour,” she said.

“It’s a great way for students to understand how their classroom work is applied, as well as learn about the careers open to them in the resources sector.

“The sector has transformed into one that is highly technologically advanced and these are the sorts of skills students will need in our modern resources industry.

“They are skills in high demand in careers such as engineering, geology, environmental sciences and trades.

“Opportunities abound in our sector with a record 85,000 Queenslanders employed in resources according to latest ABS figures, even through 12 months of COVID restrictions.

“And there are literally thousands of vacancies in these careers across Queensland.

“We hope that today’s STEM challenge will spark interest in students to consider these careers, and particularly the girls and Indigenous students who might not have considered them before.”

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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