Students from Brisbane to Queensland’s far north will get a firsthand look at mining careers when they attend an engineering camp in the mining city of Mount Isa. The program is run by the Queensland Resources Council (QRC).
The students are to go onsite at Glencore’s Mount Isa mine for the ‘Make It Now in Engineering’ (MINE) challenge to solve ‘real-world’ mining challenges and get a taste of what it really takes to be in the mining industry. The program is hosted in partnership with the Queensland Government and the Queensland Resources Council’s Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA).
The students will be mentored by Glencore staff, before presenting their completed project up close and personal to senior Glencore mining professionals. The camps are designed to encourage students to consider choosing science technology engineering and maths (STEM) related occupations and trade careers in the future.
Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy project manager Daniel Rea said the program was about exposing potential specialists to an industry they may not know about.
“We look for their aptitude around those maths and science subjects, knowing that they’re going to need a bit of technical expertise,” Mr Rea explained. “A recent study has shown that a lack of knowledge is the reason why students aren’t choosing to go into these mining specialities, not so much that they don’t want to.”
Leanne Ryder, Manager of Human Resources for Glencore’s North Queensland Operations, also agreed with the importance of STEM-based mining camps such as this.
“These camps are highly regarded by Glencore as we know a high proportion of students who attend end up on STEM or trade career pathways,” she said.
“This program is really important in not only demonstrating the kind of careers kids can pursue in resources, but also in equipping the next generation of technical specialists with the skills they need to drive and grow the sector, which plays such a critical role in the health of our nation’s economy.”
The event will take place at the Spinifex College Trade Training centre where students are set to work in a simulated mine-site environment.
Programs such as this are especially important as industry leaders fear that a skills shortage will be present in the near future.
“When we look into the future four years from now, we will have less than 50 mining engineering graduates across Australia available to the industry – so it’s a pressing and very real concern,” shared Gavin Lind, Director at Workforce Skills, Health and Safety at the Minerals Council of Australia.
WA School of Mines director, Professor Sam Spearing, said the government should be doing more to attract students to the mining industry, such as offering incentives or making more programs.
“There will be a skills shortage and we do need to try and address that,” he shared.