21 December 2009

Queensland women are making their mark in the field of mining engineering with a record number graduating from The University of Queensland (UQ) this year.

Almost a quarter of the 37 students who graduated from mining engineering at the end of this year are women.

"This result is all the more impressive as it is above the current female participation rate of 16.4 percent across all engineering disciplines at UQ," said Queensland Resources Council (QRC) Chief Executive Michael Roche.

"This milestone comes in the year when UQ’s first ever female mining engineering graduate Sandra Collins won the QRC Resources Award for Women," he said.

"Ms Collins was the only female to have graduated from UQ with a Bachelor of Engineering (Mining) in 1979 and has paved the way for other women.

"Sandra is certainly a great ambassador for the industry and a great role model to young women entering or thinking of entering the field.

"It’s also pleasing to see that all the graduates have been snapped up by the resources sector.’

Professor Peter Knights, UQ’s BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance Chair of Mining Engineering said the participation of women in mining engineering fluctuated from year to year.

"However, there is a definite upward trend over time," said Professor Knights.

"This year, mining engineering has outperformed most other engineering disciplines."

In 2005, when these students were in their senior year of high school, QRC launched its careers marketing campaign and QRC Scholarship Ambassador Program.

Both initiatives aim to encourage young men and women to study engineering and science degrees of importance to the resources sector.

In 2006 QRC launched its Women in Resources Action Plan, which aims to increase the proportion of women in non-traditional roles—including engineering—in the resources sector to at least 12 percent by 2020.

"The record number of female graduates from the mining engineering degree adds to our confidence that this goal will be surpassed," said Mr Roche.

QRC is the peak representative body for the minerals and energy sector in Queensland.

Further information:
QRC - Caroline Morrissey T 07 3316 2507 E carolinem@qrc.org.au.

UQ - Professor Peter Knights BHP Billiton Mitsubishi Alliance Chair and Head of Division of Mining Engineering T 07 3365 3915 M 0400 814 170 E p.knights@uq.edu.au.

UQ 2009 Bachelor of Engineering (Mining) graduate - Emma Schumacher T 02 6570 0804 M 0433 641 997 E ESchumacher@Thiess.com.au.