Rio Tinto Imperial scholars on learning curve at UQ

1 Jan 2014

Hayley Meek, Isobel Mackay and Thomas Priddle are among 12 engineering students from Imperial College London who are spending their summer working around the globe on Rio Tinto projects at universities, research institutes and mines.

The engineering students are currently in Brisbane experiencing study and life at the University of Queensland (UQ). The students will be blogging about their experiences at UQ and the research they’re involved in during their stay.

“We have been on a huge learning curve already. Perhaps very naively, we thought that the mining industry simply involved extracting minerals, processing them and getting the end product,” the trio said on their blog.

The three students met with Martyn Robotham - Rio Tinto’s chief advisor Geotechnical and UQ alumna Asuka Kagawa – manager, Investments Energy last week where they discussed everything from safety, teamwork and their future.

Hayley Meek spoke about the insight she and her fellow Imperial scholars took away from the meeting and their time at UQ. “It was really interesting to hear the diverse backgrounds of the Rio Tinto people and how they ended up in mining; we gained invaluable tips for our future careers.”

“We talked about ways we could get more involved with Rio Tinto in London and gained insight on how we could fit that experience with a career in mining. It was reassuring to hear Asuka Kagawa talk about shifting her engineering degree to mining engineering and how she hasn't looked back.” Overall, the visit with Rio Tinto executives was a great end to what has been a fantastic opportunity to gain insight into the mining industry and has given me the drive to consider a career within mining,” said Ms Meek.

UQ’s partnership with Rio Tinto was launched in 2012 and is a five-year, $2.5 million agreement featuring education initiatives including 39 scholarships, two post-doctoral fellowships and co-supports the Geotechnical Engineering Centre to offering dual majors in civil and geotechnical and mining and geotechnical engineering, both of which are unique in Australia.

The program also focuses on initiatives to increase female engineering enrolments. UQ Engineering is the leading choice for women pursing engineering in Queensland and aim to be the university of choice for women in Australia. Partnered with Rio Tinto, APPEA and API, UQ’s Women in Engineering program aims to increase female enrolments in engineering to 30 per cent by 2023.