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QMEA top students kick-start careers in Brisbane


​Twenty school students from across Queensland have travelled a collective 14,000 kilometres to Brisbane with one common goal - a career in the natural resources sector.

The Year 11 students have been selected from 36 schools across the state to be appointed Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) Ambassadors for the next 12 months.

“The ambassadors will participate in skills workshops, training activities and be mentored by industry representatives to kick-start their career pathways to become mechanical engineers, or electricians and diesel fitters after they graduate next year,” QMEA Director, Katrina-Lee Jones.

The students took part in a three-day camp (30 November - 2 December) visiting the University of Queensland’s engineering facilities including CSIRO Centre for Advanced Technologies, Hasting Deering Training Excellence Centre, the Queensland Government’s research and training centre SIMTARS and BHP Billiton’s Integrated Remote Operations Centre.

“QMEA’s evolution has constantly positioned our students for the incredible opportunities that are available to them - opportunities that continue in our sector, here and globally, as well as more broadly across science, technology, engineering and maths (STEM) industries,” Ms Jones said

“The engagement and enthusiasm we have had from all of our stakeholders and sponsors over the years - but especially from the schools, teachers, students and industry - has been at the heart and soul of the QMEA’s success.”

More than 1,000 students at QMEA partnership schools have been employed in the resources sector since the academy began providing a doorway into industry for young workers in 2005, which has seen a significant rise in female and indigenous students.

“QMEA has always been a supporter of diversity and I’m delighted to say that more than half of our ambassadors are female,” Ms Jones said.

“Gender diversity in the sector is a personal passion of mine and programs like this will help companies in achieving the Queensland Resources Council’s (QRC) 20 percent by 2020 target.”

Biloela State High School student Christina McClure said her brother was an ambassador two years ago and it has inspired me to join the program too.

“I’m sure the QMEA experience will help crystallise my career decisions as I head into Year 12 and beyond,” Christina said.

“Mining is in our family’s DNA with my dad working in the industry and it’s my dream to become a chemical engineer and work alongside him one day.”

Ms Jones said the sector largely operated in regional and remote communities with high indigenous populations.

“It was rewarding to see this year that we had 12 percent participation by indigenous students across our events, up from seven percent the previous year, and a successful ambassador,” Ms Jones said.

Teachers didn’t miss out on the fun either, with more than 20 from across the state learning about robots, automation and digital technologies during a two-day workshop run at the QMEA/Alexandra Hills Centre of Excellence.

Today the ambassadors and teachers will attend the annual QMEA breakfast at the Capri by Fraser Hotel in Brisbane with guest speaker Queensland Chief Entrepreneur Mark Sowerby.

The QMEA is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government through the Gateway to Industry Schools Program.


The 2017 QMEA Ambassadors are:

Breanna Heid, Biloela State High School

Christina McLure, Biloela State High School

Abi Meehan, Chanel College, Gladstone

Troy Wright, Chanel College, Gladstone

Jarrod Toshack, Dysart State High School

Dinah Tu'ihalangingie, Emerald State High School

Adele Bierman, Gladstone State High School

Nick Frost, Gladstone State High School

Lewis Ryder, Good Shepherd College, Mount Isa

Josie Henry, Kirwan State High School, Townsville

Tom O'Sullivan, Moranbah State High School

Hayden Riley, Moranbah State High School

Paige Foden, Moura State High School

Jonty Sleep, Moura State High School

Brock Matthews, Nanango State High School

Sarah Coker, North Rockhampton State High School

Felicity Finlayson, North Rockhampton State High School

Lana Campbell, Pioneer State High School, Mackay

Nethmini Alahakoon, Toolooa State High School

Mary Kang, Wavell State High School


Further information:

QMEA enquiries: Dan Rea 0428 720 744

Photos and HD Footage: Anthony Donaghy or Emma Haigh, (07) 3295 9560


Further information about the QMEA and its programs can be found at