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Primary School Kids Get Coding in 2020

Primary school students in Newman and across the Pilbara are about to get a chance to learn what it’s like to control a robot truck or pilot an autonomous drone.

An Australia-first pilot program, known as Resources Challenges: Automation, will be rolled out to Years 5 and 6 students in term one this year. All 24 public schools in the Pilbara and two Catholic schools have signed up, as well as the Port Hedland School of the Air.

Participants will complete a series of coding challenges based on real-life mining scenarios, including handling blast drillers, drones, haul trucks and autonomous underwater vehicles.

The online program aims to increase young people’s awareness of and interest in career paths in the resources sector, and to support teachers in delivering the skills industry will need in the future through hands-on classroom challenges.

If the trial is a success, it could be extended to other parts of Western Australia.

The program is a collaboration between the Chamber of Minerals and Energy WA and the Pilbara Collaboration Charter – a partnership between the State Government and mining companies, including BHP. CME chief executive Paul Everingham said: “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.

“The resources sector is at the forefront of innovation and technology whether it’s through the active use of drones or autonomous haul trucks, drills and underwater vehicles. That’s why digital technology skills are so vital in the 21st century.”

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