Ajay Datt.
Ajay Datt.

Meet the teen selected to lead in the resource sector

HIS love for engineering and a passion for the resource sector has lead Dalby State High's Ajay Datt into an exciting new role ahead of his final year of school.

Ajay will be starting year 12 next year as an ambassador for the resources sector after he was chosen by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy to receive the QMEA ambassador award.

Ajay, who attends Dalby State High School, joined 20 students chosen from 75 QMEA-affiliated schools from as far north as Mount Isa and Townsville, to Central Queensland and the Coalfields as well as Brisbane in the South East.

The students made it through a selection process which included showcasing work performed in school and in the community including leaderships roles, charity support and extra-curricular activities.

As part of the award the students spent three days in Brisbane engaging with the cutting edge of mining and resources innovation including a visit to Hastings Deering's headquarters in Archerfield.

Hastings Deering's General Manager-People and External Affairs Vincent Cosgrove said touring facilities like Hastings Deering gave students a snapshot of the underpinning skills and knowledge of many of mining's support industries.

"They are terrific kids with genuine intent to pursue careers in the resources sector," Mr Cosgrove said, "We make it as hands on as possible: allowing them to talk to people about future roles and meeting people who will become contacts they can refer back to when they finish school or university. The ambassador program can really give them a head start in the state's resources sector."

Skills and training continue to be an ongoing issue for State and Federal Governments along with peak industry bodies. The Australian Industry Group has reported 75 per cent of businesses recently surveyed were struggling to find qualified workers they needed.

Mr Cosgrove said the ambassador program was critical for using peers to champion careers in the resources sector as the students would go back to their schools and share their enthusiasm for these career pathways.

QRC's Director of Skills, Education & Diversity Katrina Lee Jones said it was critical for industries to work with governments to teach young students about science, technology, engineering and maths along with technical trade skills.

"Tomorrow's workforce will require tomorrow's skills," Ms Jones said. "The QMEA uses the latest knowledge and advice in STEM and trades to teach the students as well as helping students after school with pathways towards employment or further study.

"Data collected since 2012 shows a significant percentage of our ambassadors choose careers in this sector every year. Adding to that 92% of students say the QMEA events relate school to real world careers, with 94% of teachers saying the events improve teaching of minerals and energy topics."

The students are a mixture of those taking a professional pathway (intending to study a STEM - science, technology, education and math - related course at university) and VET pathways (intending to gain a trade). The QMEA aims to promote the idea of professional and trade pathways and people working together along with promoting the latest and greatest of technology, training and opportunities in the minerals and energy sector.

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