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Resources workshops STEM-ulate new career options

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October was a busy month in an outstanding year for the Queensland Minerals & Energy Academy (QMEA), with students from across the state participating in exciting, hands-on workshops aimed at broadening their knowledge of the resources sector.

The QMEA, the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council, is largely funded through QRC members, industry partnerships and support through the Queensland Government’s Gateway to Industry Schools Program. This year, the team has travelled to partner schools across all corners of the state to run workshops and camps that open students’ eyes to the many pathways into a resources career and other science, technology, engineering and maths-based (STEM) jobs.

The QMEA is Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led education schools’ initiative for students and has partnerships with 90 schools. By complementing the national science curriculum, the QMEA helps create better connections between classroom learning and the on-site skills needed for a trade or tertiary-led career in resources, with a strong focus on female and indigenous students. The academy’s hands-on programs are constantly refreshed to keep up with evolving developments in industry, especially around technology and associated careers. 

Here’s a snapshot of some of the fantastic programs held in October.

Tradies for a Day

75 students from Middlemount Community School and Tieri State School boosted their STEM and trade-based skills across two days of interactive, educational experiences thanks to support from Anglo American.  Grade 10 students rotated through a series of trade-based activities and put their coding knowledge to the test as they programmed Lego EV3 robots to drive autonomously around a simulated mine site. Tieri State School students in Grades five and six also completed the same Lego EV3 challenge in teams.

Future HyWay

Toowoomba and Oakey state high school students participated in one of the Academy’s unique educational experiences, Future HyWay. After learning about electrolysis and green hydrogen production, students moved onto studying fuel cell theory by measuring the hydrogen consumption rate for powering a motor. The workshop, sponsored by the Australian Gas Industry Trust, was a hands-on way for them to understand the role of clean fuels and breakthrough technology in a decarbonised world.

STEM Unearthed

Grade 10 students from Thuringowa State High School and Tec-NQ became mine managers, metallurgists and engineers for the day as they completed hands-on tasks at a STEM Unearthed workshop, thanks to South32. The popular workshop showcases the importance of STEM skills to everyday life, with students working in teams testing their communication, data collection and analysis and problem-solving skills. The activities require students to think about managing finances, procuring project materials and working with time constraints under a real-world scenario, and encourages them to explore the different and exciting roles that are needed to operate a mine site.

Heavy Hydraulics

Thanks to support from Batchfire Resources, about 25 grade eight and nine students from Biloela State High School and Redeemer Lutheran College developed their creative design, engineering, and problem-solving skills as they participated in the Heavy Hydraulics workshop. This is a unique educational experience linked with the Australian Science Curriculum which highlights the wonders of physics in a resources context.

Treasures of the Earth

A Moura State High School classroom was transformed into a scavenger hunt as Grade 7 and 8 students participated in the Treasures of the Earth workshop, thanks to support from Anglo American. In this unique educational experience, over 75 students hunted down clues that connected critical mineral resources to everyday products like smart phones, home appliances, and even the Metaverse. Based on the Minerals Council of Australia’s ‘30 Things’ publication, it cleverly integrated the excitement and teamwork of a treasure hunt into a science lesson about the Periodic Table of Elements, directly linking to the national science curriculum.

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