A small group of Grade 10 students is learning foundational engineering and fabrication skills at the Surat Basin Trade Camp, an intensive week-long workshop sponsored by CSG Science Technology Engineering Math’s (STEM) Schools Program, and facilitated at Dalby by TAFE Queensland SkillsTech and QMI Solutions.

While the majority of Queensland school students take a break during the September holidays, this group of students from all corners of the Darling Downs region is busy learning a suite of specialised trade and technical skills in pursuit of future careers as tradespeople.

Schools Unit Project Manager Robyn Fraser said students have been making a trailer equipped with a BBQ as well as participating in site tours to familiarise themselves with real life workshops.

According to Ms Fraser, their instructor Stephen Gates has been thoroughly impressed with the students and their enthusiasm to learn new skills.

QMI Solutions’ Gateway Schools Manager for Manufacturing and Engineering, Leanne Hixon spent the week participating in Trade Camp with the students. She observes that students get an opportunity to develop new skills and try out different facets of the engineering industry that they may never have considered as a career pathway previously. Additionally, networking opportunities with industry specialists also broaden their experience.

Instructor Stephen Gates said that the fitted and finished trailer will be handed over to the Dalby Police Citizens Youth Club. He was genuinely impressed with the students’ level of skill and ability, their maturity and focus in committing to a job and seeing it through to completion, as well as their great sense of ownership of this project.

Michael Riddle, a boilermaker by trade and father of Surat Basin Trade Camp participant Jimi Riddle was happy to see this type of training being offered to young people in a place like Dalby. Mr Riddle believes there should definitely be more training delivered to young kids in regional and remote Queensland, given the high rate of youth unemployment in the region.