4 February 2013

Inspiring the next generation of students to pursue their career aspirations, The University of Queensland (UQ) and Rio Tinto have partnered together to offer an engineering camp to Indigenous Australian students entering into year 11 or 12.

The InspireU Engineering Summer Experience allowed 20 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students to experience campus life.

Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Indigenous Education), Professor Cindy Shannon said the University was proud to support initiatives between industry and UQ Faculties that aim to increase the number of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students undertaking higher education.

“We are particularly grateful to Rio Tinto for their assistance in ensuring this camp was able to take place,” Professor Shannon said.

Executive Dean of the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology (EAIT), Professor Graham Schaffer said the camp was a great success.

“The initiative has proved to be a successful collaboration between the Faculty of Engineering, Architecture and Information Technology (EAIT), UQ’s Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Studies Unit and Rio Tinto,” Professor Schaffer said.

InspireU provided students with the opportunity to undertake site visits, experience laboratory work, climb the Story Bridge, and experience the thrills of Dreamworld from an engineer’s perspective.

Run across five days in early January, the camp was well received by the students, with many inspired to pursue a career within engineering.

Student mentor Matthew Hourigan said the InspireU engineering camp provided the perfect opportunity for Indigenous students to experience engineering at UQ.

“The aim of the camp was to inspire the students to complete their high school education with the aspiration to solve the challenges posed to modern society armed with a UQ engineering degree,” Mr Hourigan said.

Principal Advisor Mining for Rio Tinto, Asuka Kagawa said the event was part of the global $2.5million education partnership the company has formed with UQ.

“We've been delighted to support this inaugural event, and speak with the students about potential scholarships and graduate opportunities within Rio Tinto,” Miss Kagawa said.

“We want to bring Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander teenagers who have an interest in the sciences to UQ and introduce them to engineering, a career that allows you to contribute in some way to creating a better society.

“We hope to see many of the faces from the camp as first year students in engineering at UQ in 2014.”

Media: Madelene Flanagan (m.flanagan@uq.edu.au or 07 3365 8525)