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Coinciding with International Women’s Day on 8 March, Year 10 girls from Moranbah became tradies for a day at an all-female event where they learnt the ropes from resources industry professionals. Two days later, on 10 March, Mackay young women had the same opportunity.

The ‘All Female Tradies for a Day’ events were run by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) and supported by BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA). Groups from Moranbah and Dysart State High Schools in Moranbah, and Sarina, Pioneer and Mackay Northern Beaches State High Schools in Mackay worked alongside industry representatives on trade-based activities that simulated real-world scenarios.

Mentored by BHP and BMA mining tradespeople and apprentices, the young women were given a practical taste of a variety of tradesand heard about the extensive career opportunities available to young people in each region.

The all-female event – the first of its kind to be held in Mackay – aimed to inform young women of job pathways into the resources sector, help them understand the industry, and give them practical advice for applying for apprenticeships.

QMEA’s Manager of Skills and Education, Matthew Heskett, said the events underline the importance of securing a diverse talent pipeline into resources industry trades. “It’s important that we equip school students – particularly female students – with the knowledge they need to make educated decisions about their future careers. These workshops were designed to be informative and practical, but also inspiring; there are so many opportunities for young women in our rapidly evolving mining industry.”

Linda Murry, General Manager of BMA’s Hay Point Coal Terminal, also emphasised the value of providing an all-female format for the events. “We want young women to know that we are actively seeking their participation in our workforce and that there are exciting and rewarding career opportunities for them. We know that diverse workplaces are stronger and that women in trades will play an essential role in the resources industry in future,” she said.

Around 20 students attended each event, which were held at Pioneer SHS in Mackay and Moranbah SHS in Moranbah.

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 90 schools and is a partnership with the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.

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