Schoolgirls encouraged to pursue STEM

BHP and Thiess have teamed up with ARREA’s Bright Future STEM Program to encourage students to pursue a career in resources

With a particular focus on encouraging girls to join the sector, hundred of Hunter Valley region students have been 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 as 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 activities which linked STEM back to real jobs in the resources and energy industry.

Activities included virtual reality headsets (which provide a 360° view of mining operations), and others focused 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,” said AMMA Director Operations Tara Diamond.

“In particular, the female industry STEM role models from BHP and Thiess are critical to help break down 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,” 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.”