WA pilot to teach automation and robotics skills - Education Matters
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WA pilot to teach students automation and robotics skills

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A new pilot program has been launched in WA with the aim of helping students gain skills and knowledge in fields such as automation and robotics, to better equip them for future jobs.

‘The Resources Challenge: Automation’ program, launched on 27 November 2019 by WA Premier Mark McGowan and Education and WA Training Minister Sue Ellery, seeks to provide students in Years 5 and 6 with hands-on classroom experience in the field of automation, and increase student awareness of careers in the technology and resources sector.

Students will undertake a series of challenges designed to educate them about real-world applications of digital technologies in industry, focusing on automation in the resources sector.

“It’s important that our school curriculum adapts to changes in technology to prepare WA kids for jobs of the future,” said Premier McGowan. “Fields including artificial intelligence, augmented reality, data analytics and autonomous transport will shape the resources industry in the years to come and it’s crucial that WA students are provided with the best learning tools to gain employment in these industries.”

In the first challenge for example, students will program autonomous trucks, blast drillers, drones, and autonomous underwater vehicles. The challenge will be delivered online using the Grok Learning platform, with equipment such as robots, micro:bits and other course materials.

Initially being rolled out at schools in the Pilbara from Term 1, 2020, if successful, the program could be rolled out to other parts of WA too.

The Resources Challenge program is a collaboration between the Chamber of Minerals and Energy Western Australia and the Pilbara Collaboration Charter – a partnership between BHP, Chevron Australia, CITIC Pacific Mining, Fortescue Metals Group, Rio Tinto Iron Ore, Roy Hill, Woodside, Yara Pilbara and the McGowan Government.

“Digital technologies are seen as the most exciting change to the school curriculum in a generation. Technology is moving very quickly, which is why we need to ensure that today’s students are equipped with the skills for the jobs of tomorrow,” said Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) CEO Paul Everingham.

Minister Ellery added, “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, build teachers’ technology capabilities and support the pipeline for future talent in the resources sector.”