Mark McGowan

Mark McGowan

Minister for Education and Training; South West

    New course taps students into resources sector

    19/02/2008 11:46 AM

    Year 11 and 12 students will be able to learn about minerals, petroleum and hydrogeology while they study environmental science issues as part of a new course launched by the Education and Training Minister Mark McGowan today.

    Mr McGowan said the Earth and Environmental Science course could lead to further study in areas such as exploration, mining, petroleum, hydrogeology, environmental science, climate change science and marine science.

    “This exciting new course will provide students with the background and skills they need to progress in a career in the resources sector,” he said.

    The Minister said the course was the result of a partnership between industry and schools. It had very strong industry support, generated by Earth Science Western Australia (ESWA), a consortium of eminent geologists, industrialists and scientists engaged in high-level geoscience education and research in WA.

    “Everyone knows the strong performance of the Western Australian economy is directly linked to the State’s resources sector, which is delivering record royalties, employment and flow-on economic benefits to the State,” he said.

    “Continuing demand from China and India is expected to maintain the strength of our minerals and petroleum exports for many years, therefore it is appropriate that our students are informed about the strategic importance of these industries and the diverse job opportunities they provide.”

    Mr McGowan said the objective of the industry and school partnership was to establish a link between sponsoring companies from the minerals, petroleum and hydrogeology sectors, and schools offering the new Earth and Environmental Science course.

    The companies already linked to schools include BHP Billiton Global Technology, Rio Tinto and Newmont Australia.

    He said other vital support that could be provided by industry included sponsoring field trips, student prizes, class materials and equipment.

    Chairman of Earth Science WA Dr Jim Ross said the group hoped that most secondary schools in the State would take up the course. He said industry and institutions had backed that vision with funding of $500,000 to date, as well as in-kind support.

    “The key to increasing the profile of the new course in Years 11 and 12 is increased awareness of earth and environmental science in schools in Years 8 to 10,” Dr Ross said.

    “That has been made possible by the generous sponsorship of BHP Billiton Technology, with the support and cooperation of Scitech.

    “The ‘Earth Science Across WA’ initiative, for students in Years 8 to 10, was initiated by Earth Science WA last year. Funding of $255,000 is being provided over three years to enrich earth science teaching and learning.”

    For more information about the Earth and Environmental Science course, visit

    Minister's office - 9222 9111