(Images and captions below)
Students in the powerhouse mining region of the Hunter Valley have been encouraged to pursue a career in the resources and energy sector as local companies BHP and Thiess teamed up with AMMA’s Bright Future STEM program.
With a focus on encouraging girls to join the sector, hundreds of Hunter schoolkids this week (March 29 and 30) were introduced to the industry’s diverse and rewarding careers, as talented role models from BHP and Thiess shared their professional career journey– and inspired others to follow.
General Manager of Mt Arthur Coal Adam Lancey said female leaders from the mine spoke to students about a career in mining.
“It’s great for the region’s students, especially the girls, to hear from women in the industry and to experience some hands-on STEM-based problem solving in an engaging and fun environment,” he said.
“We want to attract more women into mining. We know from our own data that inclusive and diverse teams are safer, more productive and have a better culture. Building an inclusive and diverse workforce is critical for BHP.”
Thiess highlighted STEM being critical to the sector’s present and future. “The program provides a great opportunity to show students how different STEM skills can transfer to a successful mining career,” said Anthea Craig, Group Manager – Community, Diversity and Inclusion.
“We’re excited to partner on this valuable initiative that creates lasting value in communities where we operate and inspire the next generation.”
In addition to hearing the career journeys of female role models, students learned through several hands-on and interactive Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) activities which linked STEM back to real jobs in the resources and energy industry.
Activities included virtual reality headsets (which provide a 360-degree view of mining operations), and others focussed on robotics, programming, coding, engineering and electronics.
The program, delivered by peak industry employer group Australian Resources and Energy Group AMMA, relies on partnering with local resource companies such as BHP and Thiess to expose their talented role models to the next generation.
“AMMA was thrilled to bring its Bright Future STEM Primary School program to the Hunter Valley to inspire schoolkids on STEM areas of study and build awareness of the diversity of careers within the resources and energy industry,” AMMA Director Operations Tara Diamond said.
“In particular, the female industry STEM role models from BHP and Thiess are critical to help breakdown gender stereotypes and encourage young girls to follow a passion for STEM.
“With the sector a powerhouse in the region – and a key contributor to the largest regional economy in Australia – it’s important to highlight that the Hunter will be home to countless technologically advanced STEM careers for decades to come.”
The program nurtures next-gen STEM professionals who are vital to operating the job-rich projects in the industry pipeline.
“Research shows that STEM industry engagement is too often focused on high school students – a point at which it may be too late as they’ve already made decisions about the subjects they enjoy,” Ms Diamond said.
“Bright Future STEM engages children in STEM at an early age and piques their interest in the diversity of jobs that flow from those areas of study.”
For more information or additional / high-res images, contact Tom Reid, 0419 153 407
Images and captions
Amber Rowlandson, Process Engineer at BHP, works with Muswellbrook South students to resolve coding challenges.
Sarah Mousley, Geologist at BHP, talks to students at King Street School in Singleton about her love of rocks and science.
Ebony Ford, Electrical Apprentice (Fourth Year) at BHP, returns to her old school at King Street in Singleton to talk to students about how she transitioned from school to a STEM career.
Hunter Valley students enjoy learning about STEM careers from local employers BHP and Thiess.
Presenting female industry STEM professionals is a vital part of increasing the number of girls moving on to study STEM.
Hunter Valley students get hands-on experience in STEM activities.
Stefan Topic from Thiess provides advice to students as they work together to resolve engineering challenges.