Local Students Explore STEM Careers with Millmerran Power
InterGen and Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy team up to provide hands-on programs
Millmerran, Queensland (Australia) – Millmerran Power Station employees are helping to spark enthusiasm in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) among local students.
As a global generator of power with two power plants in Australia, InterGen understands the value of well-trained engineers and technicians.
Recently, the company’s Millmerran Power Station entered into a partnership with the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) to educate students in STEM and specifically engineering.
On October 25, 25 students from Millmerran State P-10 School participated in STEM-related, hands-on, practical activities with employees from Millmerran Power Station. Students worked in small teams using flexible straws to build a structure that was strong enough to hold a 5oz/144 gm bag of Lindt chocolate truffles. Other teams completed electrical circuitry and disassembled components.
Millmerran Power’s Andrew Hassall, Nick Hair and Corey Moore assisted in the exercises and also provided a summary of their roles at the plant and the training they completed to get there.
“We were able to demonstrate why the maths and science they are currently learning is important to society and how it could be applied in their careers,” said Andrew Hassall. “The group activity was fun with enthusiastic participation from all the kids. Without realizing it, they showed solid planning, communication, time management and teamwork skills.
Hassall continued, “The Lindt chocolates (which were given as first prize for the tallest straw tower), might have had something to do with this. It made them think about their futures and I hope it influences the subjects they choose next year.”
The Need for STEM
In the 2016 report, ‘Engaging the future of STEM,’ Belinda Gibson, board member of Australia’s Chief Executive Women, said Australian businesses of the future would require people with STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) skills, and those without this knowledge would likely struggle.
She said that as leaders, we have a moral obligation to enable all our young people to participate to the fullest in the modern economy and part of that is ensuring they have both the inspiration and the opportunity to engage with the STEM subjects.
Through its sponsorship Millmerran Power delivered six similar events for 165 students involving 54 teachers in 2017. Survey results showed that 95 per cent of students said the experience was a great opportunity to learn more about the career options in the sector.
“Everyone was thoroughly engaged, and it has provided some momentum for revisiting digital technologies and how to make it an important part of our curriculum from the early years into secondary school. Drones for use in agriculture was a great ‘hook’ in our community,” said Jenny Kent, principal of Millmerran P-10 School.
“Contributing to our communities is one of InterGen’s core values. Our partnership with QMEA allows us to contribute to the education of young Queenslanders and increase the number of students who are interested in pursuing a career in power generation,” said InterGen Australia General Manager Brent Gunther.
The QMEA is Australia’s largest industry/education school partnership. It provides professional and trade pathways for young people in years seven to 12 into the resource sector and other STEM careers. With 45 schools, QMEA is the education arm of Queensland Resources Council and is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government.