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Year 10 students from Dysart State High School put their STEM skills to use recently, navigating real-world resources sector scenarios in a workshop facilitated by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) and supported by BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA).
Around 25 students took part in ‘STEM Unearthed’, hosted at Dysart State High School on 14 October. They were mentored by industry professionals from BMA during a full day of activities designed to provide insight into how STEM skills are vitally important to the resources sector.
“The workshop showed students how the STEM subjects they take at school are directly relevant to real resources sector projects,” said QMEA’s Manager of Skills and Education, Matthew Heskett. “And for students who hadn’t considered a career in resources before, the three activities they undertook today demonstrated how their skills and knowledge could apply to a variety of exciting roles.”
Students worked in groups on three separate activities: competing to run the most profitable ‘mini mine’; comparing scientific methods of copper extraction; and applying process engineering skills to develop and test ‘the perfect drink’.
“The Year 10s who participated in this workshop are on STEM pathways at school that could lead them into roles in chemical engineering, geology, metallurgy or environmental engineering, among others,” Matthew pointed out. “Putting their knowledge to the test in practical scenarios today, with industry representatives on hand, gave them the chance to explore some of the career options available to them.”
Brad Prytherch, General Manager Caval Ridge Mine, said that ‘STEM Unearthed’ was a worthwhile opportunity for students to understand how STEM skills underpin the resources sector. “Today’s participants were smart, motivated students, who walked away with a deeper understanding of where their studies could take them in the future. It’s so important that we give young people experiences like this, so that they can enter the workforce knowing what they are interested in and where they can channel their talents.”
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 with the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.