IN SPOTLIGHT: Caitlyn Barnes, Queensland Resource Council president Rag Udd and Rebecca Wheeler.
IN SPOTLIGHT: Caitlyn Barnes, Queensland Resource Council president Rag Udd and Rebecca Wheeler. Contributed

Girls choose mining careers

TWO young women from the region were privileged to be shortlisted as finalists for the Queensland Resource Council's Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy's top female student award.

Caitlyn Barnes and Rebecca Wheeler, both 17, travelled to Brisbane to attend the presentation of the awards last week.

Blackwater State High School student Rebecca said she was absolutely ecstatic when she found out she was a finalist.

"I have been best friends with Caitlyn for 10 years now as I used to live in Moranbah and I knew that she had nominated herself for the award too,” she said.

"She too had been short-listed and we were both so happy for the award and to be able to see each other again in Brisbane.”

Rebecca received the highly commended QMEA top female student award, and hopes to apply for the BMA Gap Year program when she graduates.

"I am now a lot more confident since being on stage in front of 600 people and 400 through live broadcast,” she said.

"I am willing to push myself and be engaged in as many programs and opportunities to reach my goals and gain experience.”

Her mother, Annette Wheeler, said she was very proud of Rebecca for being involved with these awards.

"It was certainly an awe-inspiring event to have attended,” she said.

Mrs Wheeler said it was important for young women to be recognised because "they are the ones striving from school to start their careers in the mining, minerals and resource sectors”.

Moranbah State High School student Caitlyn also attended the ceremony last week with her mum, Kerri-Ann, and was successful in winning the 2018 Exceptional QMEA student of the year.

"This has pushed me more to want a career as an electrician and then study to be an electrical engineer in the resource sector,” Caitlyn said.

"But I also want to encourage other young girls to ask the questions and look at other opportunities in a career.

"The resource sector offers so many different paths and I have met some amazing people from the industry who have encouraged and mentored me, which has left me wanting to know more and telling other young people about this exciting and diverse industry.”

Caitlyn's mother Kerri-Ann said the QMEA group was really amazing, and encouraged all students to get involved if they had the chance.

"This is where Caitlyn got a real understanding about the industry and that girls don't just have to be hairdressers,” she said.

"I am very excited for her because I know she is one step closer to getting her apprenticeship now.”

Member for Burdekin Dale Last congratulated Caitlyn on her great achievement.

"Congratulations to Caitlyn for receiving such a stand-out award and for being a role model for all those other young women out there who may be considering a future in the resources sector,” Mr Last said.

"Caitlin is an empowering young woman.

"It is fantastic to see that a young person from Moranbah can take out a Queensland-wide award.

"It is a real credit to not only herself, but Caitlyn's employer, family and the Moranbah community.”

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