Swapping their uniforms for hardhats, high school students on the Eyre Peninsula will have the chance to set up and manage their own mine as part of a mining careers road show this week.
During the 2012 Mining Careers Expo, held from March 26 to 30, Flinders University will use a video game to help students explore the myriad of career opportunities in the mining industry.
Developed by School of Computer Science, Engineering and Mathematics lecturer Dr Brett Wilkinson, the video game will demonstrate the various skill-sets required to build and operate a mine, from hydrologists who survey the groundwater on the site to ecologists who consider the environmental impacts.
“It’s like a Choose Your Own Adventure book – students will have to make decisions on the mine before, during and after it’s built,” Flinders science communications officer Emma Lawrance, who will be representing Flinders at the careers expo, said.
“They’ll have the option to set up the mine straight away, and face various consequences, or undertake a survey first and if they pick that option they’ll have to bring in a range of other experts such as environmental scientists, chemists and computer engineers,” she said.
“It’s a simple outreach tool to demonstrate all the factors that need to be considered when opening a mine and the different types of skill-sets that are needed.”
Ms Lawrance said the aim of the expo, organised by the Eyre Peninsula Mining Alliance, was to show students the many different career options in the industry.
“While we obviously need people to do the construction and physical mining work, there’s so much more that goes into developing and running a mine,” Ms Lawrance said.
“There could be an endangered lizard on the site so you might need to call in a specialist in biodiversity, or there could be a native title claim on the land in which case you’d need to use geographical information systems to map out those regions.”
Ms Lawrance said the expo would also help highlight the opportunities that arise from studying at Flinders.
“It’s a great chance for Flinders to continue its involvement in regional communities but we also want to show students that if you leave your home to study here you gain lots of skills and support so you can return to your region as a leader.”
The expo will feature presentations and information booths for both schools and the general public, with industry and university representatives on hand to answer questions about the types of jobs the mining industry could bring to the Eyre Peninsula and the qualifications required.
The expo was held yesterday at Ceduna and visits Wudinna today, Cleve on March 28 and Port Lincoln on March 29 and 30.