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Indigenous students mix it with tradies

Posted on November 8, 2017

Students from an indigenous high school took their first steps to becoming work-ready for future employment with help from the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) and local mining company Wesfarmers Resources.

Wadja Wadja High School students had a rare opportunity to be a tradie for a day with the QMEA conducting a trade day at the school, where they were mentored by tradies from the Wesfarmers Curragh mine.

Wesfarmers General Manager of Curragh Operations Johan Ballot said learning the basics of the welding process is a key trade in the resources sector.

“The value of the events QMEA runs at regional and school level — such as the event at Wadja Wadja — is clear, and Wesfarmers Resources has been a proud and ‘hands on’ supporter for several years now,” said Mr Ballot.

The visit to Wadja Wadja is one of a series of events that gives students an opportunity to engage with tradespeople from the mine and gain an understanding of the tradies’ roles and some insight into vocational training available to them.

Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Director of Skills, Education and Diversity Katrina-Lee Jones said the workshops help bridge the gap between school and employment.

“Not only does the trade day provide the students with the essential skills to take up employment post school, but also puts them on a pathway that builds their confidence to take the next step once they complete school,” Ms Jones said.

“QMEA recognises the outstanding contribution made by the indigenous workforce in the resources sector and is focused on delivering the next generation to mine sites across the state.

“We believe the industry has a vested responsibility to spur teaching and training opportunities for indigenous schools and communities, which will ultimately lead to long-term employment.”

The QMEA is the education arm of the QRC and is a partnership with the Queensland Government under the Gateway to Industry Schools Program.