STEM Proud Robotics_Thiess

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Primary school students from Collinsville and Scottville State Schools and St Johns Bosco Catholic College put robots to work today (31 August) as they bolstered their tech and programming skills at a Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) competition.

Thanks to support from our sponsor Thiess, about 30 students from grades four to six worked alongside industry representatives as they competed for first prize in the STEM Proud Robotics Competition delivered by the QMEA, the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).

QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said this competition provided students, some as young as seven, the opportunity to learn about how the resources and energy sector uses innovative digital technologies under the guidance of Thiess employees.

“The resources sector is constantly adopting new technologies which is revolutionising so many aspects of the value chain, leading to increased productivity and efficiency, safer operations, and better outcomes for the environment,” Ms Jones said.

“Today’s workshop showcased the various pathways available to students who are considering an exciting career in resources and allowed them to connect those different careers with the fun activities from this competition.”

Thiess General Manager Mining – QLD, Mark Ruston said students learned all about the wonders of science, technology, engineering and math (STEM), including coding and robotics, as well as working within a team.

“The day provided a great way for the students to learn about STEM, and what kind of STEM-related careers are available within the resources sector. Students were tasked with navigating a robot through a model mine site, which has been designed to reflect a Thiess operation,” Mark said.

“They also needed to think about programming their robot, all of which was learnt through STEM activities on the day.”

Collinsville State School Principal, Mr Matthew Grosskreutz said students had been preparing for this competition since QMEA and Thiess delivered a series of robotics workshops back in May featuring noted STEM educator Dr Damien Kee, an expert at introducing new technology skills to students.

“We’re thrilled to have participated in the competition again this year, and the students were so excited to test out their skills learned from the sessions with Dr Kee,” Mr Grosskreutz said.

“This workshop was also a great opportunity for the students to further develop their equally important life skills like teamwork, communication, risk management, and a bit of friendly competition.”

As Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led education and schools 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 vocational and professional careers, with a focus on female and Indigenous participation. The QMEA currently engages with 90 schools and is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.

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