Hands-on STEM and trade program cracks 100 schools in Qld

  • Posted 30 November, 2023
  • Media Releases

30 November 2023

Hold onto your hard hats – the future of Queensland’s world-class resources and energy sector is brighter than ever following today’s announcement that the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) is now in 100 schools across the state.

The QMEA is the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) and Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led education and schools initiative.

Speaking at an event in Brisbane to mark this milestone achievement, QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane said an annual levy on members combined with sponsorship and welcome funding from the State Government’s Gateway to Industry Schools Program was behind the QMEA’s incredible success.

The QMEA today welcomed Brisbane Boy’s College (BBC) into the fold as its 100th partner school in Queensland, which now stands alongside 46 other South-East Queensland schools and 53 regional schools.

QMEA schools are a mix of State, Independent and Catholic schools and include co-educational as well as all-boys and all-girls schools.

This year, the QMEA team delivered more than 200 trade and STEM-oriented workshops and camps to around 5600 students and 420 teachers.

Mr Macfarlane said reaching a 100-school milestone was testimony to the QMEA’s determination to equip the next generation with hands-on trade and STEM learning experiences linked to the Australian Curriculum.

“The QMEA is having a profound impact on shaping the future leaders of Queensland’s resource and energy sector and building up our pipeline of future talent,” he said.

“Young people will play a crucial role in driving forward the changes needed for our industry to decarbonise our operations and we welcome their values-driven motivation to make a difference in the world.”

Today’s keynote speaker, Training and Skills Development Minister Di Farmer, said the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy was an important pillar of the Queensland Government’s Gateway to Industry Schools Program.

“The Palaszczuk Government is creating a skilled workforce to meet today’s needs and those of the future. Our partnership with the Queensland Resources Council provides a talent pipeline of employees into the resources sector and other supporting science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) industries,” Minister Farmer said.

“As we mark the end of another school year, it’s a pleasure to reflect on the achievements of this important Academy.

“By engaging students in projects like the STEM Big Days, new “Future Hy-Way” workshops, and the successful QMEA/WIMARQ Girls Mentoring Program, QMEA is helping to grow and diversify our future resources workforce.

“I know this next generation of young leaders are eager to make their voice heard, and I congratulate all QMEA Student Ambassadors who served throughout 2023.

“I also welcome 20 incoming Student Ambassadors, who will spend the year ahead networking, developing leadership skills and increasing their understanding of the resources sector.”

The Queensland Government’s Next Step Destination Survey data shows:

•  20% of students at QMEA schools who went on to post-school study chose an engineering & related technologies field compared to 16% of students from non-QMEA schools;
•  13% of Indigenous students at QMEA schools who entered a post-school apprenticeship or traineeship did so in the mining industry compared to 6.2% of students from non-QMEA schools – more than double;
•  7.3% of students at QMEA schools who entered a post-school apprenticeship or traineeship did so in the mining industry compared to 2.2% of students from non-QMEA schools – more than three times as many;
•  8% of female students at QMEA schools who entered a post-school apprenticeship or traineeship did so in the mining industry compared to 1.6% of students from non-QMEA schools – almost five times as many.

Wavell State High School Principal, Ms Elizabeth Foster said as a foundation school, it had been a privilege to watch the QMEA go from strength to strength.

“Since its humble beginnings in 2005 when Wavell State High School was one of 18 foundation partner schools, the QMEA has helped our students develop their STEM and trade skills and supported the development of valuable life skills like collaboration, critical thinking, and problem-solving,” Ms Foster said.

“It has been a pleasure to be part of this journey of educational excellence, and I extend my warmest congratulations to the QMEA on achieving this historic 100-school milestone.”

Mr Macfarlane thanked event sponsors Coronado Global Resources and Hastings Deering for their support of today’s event.

The QRC’s recently released Economic Contribution report shows the resources sector continues to underpin the prosperity of Queensland, contributing $116.8 billion to the state economy in the last financial year and supporting the jobs of more than 532,000 Queenslanders.


Media Contact: Hannah Gardiner – [email protected]