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Budding young welders and electricians will make sparks fly – but only virtually – when they try their hands at trade skills on cutting-edge simulators at Central Queensland University today.

About 30 students from Gladstone, Tannum Sands and Toolooa state high schools and Chanel College will work with the Programmed trainees and talk to them about their current roles and complete some hands-on activities in CQU’s marina campus rig room.

“The process simulators provide a great way to familiarise students with hands-on skills in a safe environment,” said CQU’s Shane Hansen.

“Being able to talk to the trainees will also help students make decisions about whether a trade is for them, and the subjects they need to be studying at school.”

The event has been coordinated by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) which promotes science technology engineering and maths (STEM) and trade-related careers.

“QMEA has a great record when it comes to encouraging students onto these career pathways,” said Katrina-Lee Jones, Director Skills Education and Diversity with the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).

“In 2018, 16 percent of graduating QMEA students were employed as apprentices or trainees, compared to 2.5 percent of non-QMEA school graduates,” she said.

“And 19 percent of QMEA students entered post-school study or employment in engineering and related technologies compare to 11 percent from non-QMEA schools.”

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