In a first for Australia’s biggest mining event, around 250 primary students from five NSW schools have converged for a range of inspiring STEM-related activities.
The Australian Resources & Energy Employer Association (AREEA) today brought its acclaimed Bright Future STEM Program to the International Mining and Resources Conference (IMARC) at ICC Sydney.
Featuring Year five and six students from McAuley, St Bernard’s, St Anthony’s, St Aidan’s and St Brigid’s primary schools, AREEA-IMARC’s inaugural NextGen Junior Program explored the possibilities of science, technology, engineering and mathematics and their application to a future career in the resources and energy sector.
In partnership with industry role models Howden, Agnico Eagle Mines Limited and Thiess, the Bright Future STEM activity zone showcased Virtual Reality Headsets, “Gravitrax” construction (gravity, magnetism and kinetics), “Snap Circuits” (electronic circuit assembly), “Turing Tumble” (a marble powered computer-building game to solve logic puzzles) and for the first time, the excitement of hydrogen mini-car races.
AREEA deputy CEO, Tara Diamond, said this year’s Bright Future STEM Program had visited more than 100 schools, reaching a record 10,000 Year 5 and 6 students across nearly all states and territories.
“We’re so proud to introduce this unique program to IMARC,” Diamond said.
“Bright Future STEM connects students with amazing STEM industry role models who highlight what they love most about their rewarding STEM careers in the resources and energy industry and focuses on hands-on, interactive activities and experiences all relatable to the real world.”
“STEM skills are such a vital part of our fast-evolving sector. Whether it be engineering, geology, robotics, electronics, technical laboratory roles or others in operations, maintenance and drilling, the work is increasingly sophisticated,” Diamond added.
“We need these bright minds of the future to ensure the resources and energy industry continues to power the Australian economy for decades to come.”
Diamond said the growth in STEM-related careers was reflected in AREEA’s latest Resources and Energy Workforce Forecast (2023-2028 edition).
The report revealed Australia’s resources and energy industry would conservatively require an additional 28,260 workers by the end of 2028.
Engineering and geology roles were two of the highest skills in demand.
“Ironically, study in STEM subjects has declined in recent years,” Diamond said.
“AREEA’s Bright Future STEM Program is a commitment to turning this around.”
“In particular, opening the eyes of girls and boys to future opportunities in the industry, based on
innovation, sustainability, diversity and growth.”