An intensive 12-month focus on attracting more Queensland school students to work in the state’s resources sector is starting to reap results, Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said.
Speaking via video link at a Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) event in Brisbane today - also attended by Training and Skills Development Minister Di Farmer - Mr Macfarlane said the QMEA had introduced a record 5000-plus students to the benefits of working in resources over the past 12 months.
“The QMEA is playing a vital role in addressing our sector’s chronic skills shortage by making sure students are aware of the broad range of innovative, well-paid jobs on offer,” Mr Macfarlane said. We want young people to know about the incredible VET and STEM-related job opportunities in the resources sector, so they can make an informed choice about their future career paths. As our sector transitions to a greener, decarbonised future, we need highly educated and skilled young people to bring their ideas and innovations to our workplaces. We want more students and their families to know what a career in resources looks like, whether it’s through a tertiary or trade pathway, and to be aware of the excellent training, high incomes and global career opportunities we can offer.”
In 2021, the QMEA delivered a record 200-plus workshops, programs and camps in 90 Queensland schools, up from 46 schools only four years ago. The program involves 200-plus industry mentors from QRC member companies who work with the QMEA to provide students with hands-on, real-world experiences. Mr Macfarlane said the latest data shows students who attend QMEA schools are more likely to consider a VET or STEM career pathway into the resources sector.
"The resources industry is worth $84.3 billion to the Queensland economy, with one in every six jobs supported by our sector,” he said. “Behind each of those billions of dollars are highly skilled teams of people, so our industry’s future depends on our ability to attract the best emerging talent in Queensland schools.”
QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Katrina-Lee Jones said the academy’s 90 partner schools are located throughout Queensland, reflecting the importance of resources to every Queensland community.
“This year QMEA students participated in a range of new activities - from navigating a LEGO robotic mine truck from pit to port, to modelling the use of hydrogen in a fuel cell,” Ms Jones said. “Each activity challenges students to think creatively and work as a team, and the outstanding results speak for themselves.”
The latest program data (prepared for the State Government’s Next Step Destination Survey) shows:
- 24% of QMEA students following a post-school study pathway did so in the Engineering and Related Technologies field, compared to 15% of students from non-QMEA schools;
- 4% of QMEA students entering an apprenticeship, traineeship and other employment did so in the mining industry, compared to 0.4% of students from non-QMEA schools;
- 8% of QMEA Indigenous students entering an apprenticeship, traineeship and other employment did so in the mining industry, compared to 0.5% of students from non-QMEA schools;
- 8% of QMEA female students entering an apprenticeship, traineeship and other employment did so in the mining industry, compared to 1% of students from non-QMEA schools.
20 QMEA student ambassadors for 2022 were also named at today’s event, including first time representatives from St Joseph's Nudgee College, St Laurence's College, Mackay Northern Beaches State High School, Kawana Waters State College and Tec-NQ in Townsville.
“We encourage ambassadors to share the skills and knowledge they’ve gained about the resources sector with fellow students, and we hope to seem them working in our sector in the future,” Mr Macfarlane said.
As Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led education and pathways 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 between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.
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