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Rio Tinto inspires a STEM-literate society with Robot Wars

Rio Tinto inspires a STEM-literate society with Robot Wars

Stimulating a passion for STEM subjects, the 'RoboCup' is one of several educational programmes that Rio Tinto supports across Australia.

Each August, hundreds of students from across Western Australia descend on a vast gymnasium at Perth's Curtin University to act out the ultimate Hollywood blockbuster fantasy – a robot war. In this epic two-day event, the RoboCup Junior WA Championships, teams from schools from across the state guide their robots through a series of challenges – dancing, soccer, a rescue maze to name a few – to prove they've built the smartest, strongest cyborg on the block.

It's pretty exciting," says Rio Tinto's senior adviser, Community Investment, Jackie Walsh.  "The kids get dressed up in the same costumes as their robots to perform a dance, and their classmates, parents and friends are in the audience cheering them along."

Stimulating a passion for STEM in the next generation 

These initiatives are designed to stimulate a passion for STEM, beginning with primary school and continuing through high school and into university.

"Rio Tinto is at the forefront of the technological revolution sweeping across the mining industry," says Jackie. "So we have a vested interest in creating a STEM-literate society. We need employees who are completely comfortable with science and technology as the company automates more and more parts of the business."

"RoboCup is a lot of fun. The students love it. But it's also teaching them the principles of automation and artificial intelligence. It's a long way from a dancing robot to an automated drill rig, truck or train but the coding skills are just the same."

Getting teens involved in another kind of heavy metal

Another of Rio Tinto's partnerships in the area of STEM is with Murdoch University's School of Engineering and IT.

Rio Tinto's support facilitates a range of activities that encourage interest in chemistry, physics, mathematics, statistics and engineering. It also gives them insight into the science involved in the mining industry.

"Our aim is to foster a culture of innovation amongst our educators and students in the area of STEM learning," says Trent Harvey, Rio Tinto senior adviser, Community Investment.

"We're particularly keen to encourage young Indigenous women to get involved in science and technology. Working for a mining company was typically a male profession. The automation of the industry is changing that. The playing field is being levelled. And our education partnerships are playing a major role in that evolution."

Join the Rio Tinto global talent network 

If you're looking for adventure, genuinely interesting work and fantastic career opportunities, then Rio Tinto could be for you. They're a global leader in the mining and metals sector with around 55,000 people operating across six continents in more than 40 countries. Rio Tinto has lots of exciting career pathways and opportunities available. Find out a lot more by signing up to their Talent Network today.

 

 

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