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A remarkable learning experience delivered by the Queensland Resources Council’s (QRC) education arm, the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) has helped Theodore students unearth valuable new science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) and trade skills worth their weight in gold.
Thanks to support from Aeris Resources, about 25 students from Theodore State School P-10 participated in the QMEA’s popular ‘STEM Tradies for a Day’ program, where they discovered the many exciting apprenticeship and tertiary education pathways into the resources and energy sector.
QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said this innovative engagement cleverly featured a dual STEM and trades focus, allowing students in middle and senior school to kick-start their career journeys from the dynamic perspective of the mining industry.
“In a refreshing change to traditional classroom lessons, students in Years 7 – 10 were immersed in enjoyable, hands-on STEM tasks and a diverse range trade-based activities,” Ms Jones said.
“With an enduring skills demand for STEM and trade professionals across Queensland’s resources and energy sector, this unique experience linked with the National Science Curriculum, helped students connect their classroom learning to tangible, real-world applications and rewarding career opportunities.”
Cracow Gold Operations General Manager, Mr Geoff Atkinson said in addition to helping the students bolster their STEM and trade skills, he hopes the educational experience has inspired these bright young minds to pursue a promising career with Aeris Resources at our Cracow Gold Operations or in the broader industry.
“As a proud long-term member of the Banana region and a key regional employer, Aeris Resources is committed to supporting regional skills development and helping build a sustainable, local talent pipeline,” Mr Atkinson said.
“The workshop started off with students putting their collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving capabilities to the test as they worked in teams to run their own mini mines.
“Drawing on employability skills like planning, budgeting, and process engineering – students were tasked with safely and efficiently extracting ‘gold’ from their simulated mines under financial and time constraints, before successfully rehabilitating their sites upon project completion.”
Theodore State School P-10 Principal, Ms Susan Cannon said the second part of the workshop saw students try out different trade activities like mechanical, electrical, and pneumatics in the safety of their classroom environment.
“Students were particularly eager to get their hands on the augmented reality technology this week as they vied for top place in the virtual welding contest,” Ms Cannon said.
“It was a fantastic opportunity for students to decide if they want to pursue vocational pathways in the final years of secondary school and has helped them make informed decisions about what they want to do when they leave school and join the workforce.”
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.