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The 250 students from across Sydney experimented with technology ranging from Virtual Reality headsets to hydrogen powered cars, and heard from some of the sector’s leading role models at IMARC’s new NextGen program, a collaboration sponsored by Thiess and supported by AREEA, the NSW Minerals Council, Austmine and participating exhibitors.

Group Manager Diversity & Inclusion at Thiess Nevinia Davenport said the mining industry has been a cornerstone of economic development and resource extraction for centuries, however, as the sector continues to evolve and embrace advanced technologies, it faces a critical challenge: attracting the next generation of young professionals. 

She said the NextGen event was aimed at inspiring younger generations to consider a career in mining and resources.

“We at Thiess feel strongly about building passion, knowledge and connecting aspirations with real career paths – these are some of the ways we believe we can inspire the next generation into a fulfilling career in the mining industry,” Ms Davenport said. 

“The NextGen program provides a great opportunity to show students how different STEM skills can transfer to a successful mining career.” 

IMARC Conference Director Sherene Asnasyous said the conference is a great opportunity for businesses to come together and collaborate on opportunities to encourage the next generation into the industry. 

“IMARC is the leading forum in Australia to connect industry leaders, government and the broader business community to facilitate conversations to address the challenges facing the sector, and at the top of everyone’s list is people and skills,” Ms Asnasyous said.

“It’s been fantastic to see so many fresh, young faces here at IMARC this year, and I hope to see them back in a few years as professionals representing the mining industry.”

AREEA Deputy CEO Tara Diamond said Australia’s resources and energy industry will conservatively require an additional 28,260 workers before the end of 2028, so it is important industry sows the seed in the minds of young people now about the opportunities mining can provide.

“This program connects students with amazing STEM industry role models who highlight what they love most about their rewarding STEM careers in the resources and energy industry, and focuses on hands-on, interactive activities relatable to the real world,” Ms Diamond said. 

“STEM skills are such a vital part of our fast-evolving sector. Whether it be engineering, geology, robotics, electronics, technical laboratory roles or others in operations, maintenance and drilling, the work is increasingly sophisticated.

“We need these bright minds of the future to ensure the resources and energy industry continues to power the Australian economy for decades to come.” 

Howden Graduate Mechanical Sales Engineer and NextGen Role Model Jareth Laxamana said one of the biggest issues impacting the industry is attracting young women into jobs in STEM. 

“I think there is a bit of a stigma still attached with the mining industry, so it’s really important for businesses to be promoting the new technology being implemented and the steps forward we’re making to become a more sustainable and inclusive industry,” Mr Laxamana said.

“Encouraging the next generation of engineers into the industry starts at a school level, and events like NextGen at IMARC pay off even if they inspire one or two children to look into a career in STEM,” Mr Laxamana said. 

Group Manager at Theiss Rehabilitation and NextGen Role Model James Anderson offered some words of advice to up-and-coming engineers.

“Don’t limit yourself. Always keep learning and ask lots of questions and choose subjects at high school that offer a range of career paths,” Mr Anderson said.

“Careers in STEM are a fantastic option to consider if you want to make a big impact in the world.” 

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