Educational program deepens cultural connection
[supplied by Hannah McColl-Wayne]
Embracing the richness of cultural heritage alongside the vitality of the local industry, a two-day educational experience delivered by the Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) is set to empower Indigenous students from Blackwater to pursue rewarding careers in mining.
Thanks to a collaborative initiative between Coronado Global Resources and the QMEA, the education arm of the Queensland Resources Council (QRC), 23 students from Blackwater State High School will gain valuable insights into the leading cultural heritage practices of the local resources and energy sector.
QRC Director of Skills, Education and Diversity, Ms Katrina-Lee Jones said ‘Yarbun Rhunga’, now in its third year, is a unique experience offered exclusively to Indigenous students in Years 9 to 11 from Blackwater State High School.
“The experience kicks off today with an exclusive behind-the-scenes tour of Coronado’s Curragh Mine, where students will get the rare opportunity to discover firsthand the many exciting local career opportunities on offer,” Ms Jones said.
“Tomorrow will be dedicated to an Indigenous yarning circle hosted by Milton Lawton, a proud Ghungalu man who will guide students as they explore and celebrate their cultural heritage, helping them cultivate a deep appreciation for their ancestral roots.”
Coronado Global Resources Chief People and Sustainability Officer, Ms Emma Pollard said students will also participate in a hands-on cultural heritage assessment activity on school grounds, helping them grasp the significance of preserving and integrating their cultural heritage within the local resources sector.
“This two-day program provides Indigenous students with a comprehensive experience that merges environmental awareness and career pathways with cultural importance," Ms Pollard said.
“We’re proud to help these students draw stronger connections between cultural heritage values and the resources sector.”
Blackwater State High School Principal, Mrs Rebecca Vitale said this experience is a valuable opportunity for students to learn more about the lands of the traditional Ghungalu custodians and local employment pathways.
“For the participating Indigenous students, this experience not only showcases how the resources sector builds relationships with Traditional Owners, but it also provides helpful career guidance that would allow them to stay connected to home and country,” Mrs Vitale said.
“Our school is extremely proud to be hosting this collaborative initiative again this year, empowering our students to carry their heritage forward in shaping a sustainable and prosperous future for the mining industry.”
As Australia’s largest and most successful industry-led education and schools initiative, the QMEA seeks to broaden student and teacher knowledge of career opportunities in resources.
The academy encourages a talent pipeline of employees into vocational and professional careers, with a focus on female and Indigenous participation. The QMEA currently engages with 97 schools and is a partnership between the QRC and the Queensland Government under its Gateway to Industry Schools program.
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