Posted on March 10, 2016
School students will boost their future job prospects in an increasingly automated work force thanks to a new ground-breaking Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy/Alexandra Hills State High School Centre of Excellence in Automation and Robotics.
The centre, established in a partnership between QMEA and Alexandra Hills SHS with support from Queensland University of Technology (QUT), was officially launched today at the suburban Brisbane school. The Queensland Government has thrown its support behind the initiative with total funding of $280,000 plus in kind support from Alexandra Hills State High School to assist with establishing the new centre.
It has been created to inspire school students to pursue careers in coding, computer science and robotics and to assist them to be ready for the challenges of the future work force where it’s expected almost two-thirds of current jobs will become automated.
The Centre of Excellence will also benefit the resources sector by providing a pipeline of highly skilled talent with knowledge and expertise in big data, systems, processing and analysis.
Queensland Resources Council Chief Executive and QMEA Chair Michael Roche said the Queensland resources sector was actively driving an escalating adoption of automation and robotics in its operations and schools were the perfect place to accelerate skills and knowledge.
‘The resources sector is at the forefront of changes in the future world of work and future employees will need to be schooled and trained to embrace the major paradigm shift we are undergoing,’ Mr Roche said.
‘It’s pleasing to see state government policy alignment with skill needs and the push through Advance Queensland and Advancing Education policy platforms. The state government funding of $280,000 towards the centre, which alongside commitments from QMEA and QUT as partners in the venture, will help to kick start the implementation of this ground breaking industry/school/university partnership.
‘New competencies in STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills are paramount to the successful transition to an increasingly automated workforce with the demand for these skills shared by industries other than resources including agriculture, healthcare, transport and warehousing.’
Principal of Alexandra Hills SHS Gail Armstrong said the Centre of Excellence in Automation and Robotics was an innovative partnership that offered an embedded curriculum approach to coding and robotics studies with the centre catering for multiple subject areas and students from Years 7 to 12.
‘This initiative is a major coup for students seeking to acquire digital literacy and enterprise skills, and teachers who want to upskill in industry-based work practices,’ she said.
‘Through the Centre of Excellence and the school/industry/university partnership that has been created and the practical experiences on offer, students will be inspired to pursue further study in STEM and be ready for the challenges in an automated future.’
The QMEA has been delivering school programs with a significant component of robotics and automation for many years with the centre representing an accelerated approach in this space.
‘The Centre of Excellence is a game-changer in providing students with cutting edge experience to become innovation & technology architects of the digital age,’ said QMEA Director Katrina-Lee Jones.
‘From July we will be conducting a state wide roll out of teacher professional development and student workshops to QMEA schools with a particular focus on the regions.’
The partnership with QUT will provide an injection of current leading university expertise in robotics and automation plus student access to QUT’s Australian Research Council’s Centre of Excellence for Robotics Vision.
QUT Assistant Dean and QMEA board member Karen Whelan said the university’s partnership with QMEA, the school and industry through the Centre of Excellence, was an ideal way to ensure that students were exposed to as much relevant real world skill and knowledge from an early age.
‘Robotics and automation will be at the heart of society and the workplace, especially in the next decade and if Australia is to keep its global competitiveness, in industries like resources, the next generation of workers need to understand how to develop, manage and program robots that can operate in and interact with the world in complex ways,’ Ms Whelan said.