A group of Year 10 students from Gunnedah High School have seen first-hand how what they learn at school can translate into a range of potential mining careers, during a visit to Whitehaven’s Tarrawonga Mine.

The students toured the open-cut mine, learned about the coal mining process, and even climbed into the cab of a massive haul truck. The visit contributed to a project about identifying innovative solutions for scenarios at mine sites.

“The kids were absolutely blown away by the whole experience,” said Nicole Dwyer, Head Teacher Science and Agriculture at Gunnedah High School.

“It’s invaluable for them to get out of the classroom and see science in action – particularly as COVID-19 restrictions have limited opportunities to take excursions, let alone learn first hand what happens at a mine.”

Ms Dwyer thanked the team at Whitehaven for sharing their insights and creating an unforgettable experience for the students.

“I can’t speak highly enough of the team at Whitehaven,” she added. “The team helped the kids understand some of the intricacies of what happens day-to-day on a mine site and were very generous with their time.”

“As a teacher, it was fantastic to see the students so engaged and eager to put what they’ve learned into practice. I’m excited to see them return to the classroom with a renewed enthusiasm for their studies and potential career opportunities that lie ahead.”

Craig Sullivan, Operations Manager at Tarrawonga, was equally impressed by the students.

“It was an absolute privilege to host the Gunnedah High School students, to give the next generation an overview of what actually happens at a mine,” said Mr Sullivan.

“The kids asked some great questions about geology, coal and coal quality, and how we manage our environmental impact – it was clear they had a good level of understanding about what we do and were keen to learn more.”

“Offering rewarding, skilled job opportunities for young people in our region is important to us at Whitehaven, so it was great to see the local kids so interested in what we’re doing and a potential career in mining.”

The hands-on Tarrawonga experience was part of Gunnedah High School’s involvement in the PRIME program (Pathways to Resource Industry and Mining Employment) – a collaboration between RDA Hunter, the NSW Minerals Council and the mining industry.

The program promotes career and education pathways through mining-specific content, scenario-based learning activities and real-world problem solving in the classroom.

Participating schools receive resources to help students appreciate how Science and Geography apply across the lifecycle of a mine, and the types of skills and jobs required to support mining operations.