Future shifts to tech gear

Sam JonesNorth West Telegraph
Premier McGowan gets a master class from the tech workers of the future
Camera IconPremier McGowan gets a master class from the tech workers of the future

Pilbara students will be in the driver’s seat for future jobs as the first in WA to access a new digital technologies curriculum.

Autonomous trucks, under-water vehicles, drones and blast drillers will all be included in The Resources Challenge: Automation Pilot program, designed to educate the next generation about real-world application of digital technologies in industry.

Announced by Premier Mark McGowan at the Resource Technology Showcase in Perth last week, the initiative will give students in Years 5 and 6 hands-on classroom experience in automation from term one in 2020.

Mr McGowan said it was crucial that WA students were provided with the best learning tools to gain employment across a number of industries.

“Fields including artificial intelligence, augmented reality, data analytics and autonomous transport will shape the resources industry in the years to come,” he said.

“The resources sector is a huge employer of local workers, and we need to give students the best possible change to capitalise on these opportunities.”

The pilot will be offered to all public schools in the Pilbara, as well as two Catholic schools — St Cecilia’s in Port Hedland and St Paul’s in Karratha. If the program was deemed successful, it could be rolled out to students from pre-primary to Year 10 across WA, as well as other digital technology courses in automation and data analysis.

Chamber of Minerals of WA chief executive Paul Everingham said the projects aimed to increase the awareness and interest in career paths in the resources sector and help support teachers to deliver “sector-relevant challenges” through specific classroom exercises.

Education and Training Minister Sue Ellery said everyone must collaborate to support the pipeline for future talent in the resources sector.

“The pilot for students in the Pilbara is a fantastic example of schools, industry and government working together to encourage students to pursue the STEM field and build teachers’ technology capabilities,” she said.

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