Learning skills of the future

Published 3:00pm 12 June 2023

Learning skills of the future
Words by Kylie Knight

Ferny Grove State High School is among 27 secondary schools preparing to shape the future of the hydrogen industry in Queensland, which is expected to grow by $19 billion by 2040.

The school is part of the Hydrogen Gateway to Industry Schools program, being delivered by Energy Skills Queensland.

Students will be exposed to a range of STEM (science, technology, engineering and mathematics) learning experiences from engineering to distribution and exporting, providing the students with hydrogen career pathway opportunities.

Ferny Grove State High School Industrial, Design and Agricultural Technology Head of Department Corey Gieskens is excited about the opportunities the program offers students and teachers.

“It’s exciting because at the moment sustainable fuel is such a big topic and having things that actually work would be good,” Mr Gieskens says.

“These guys will be the changers of the world.”

Students in the school’s STEM program, which runs from Year 8-10, will be able to seek feedback from industry experts and use kits provided to develop their ideas.

One group already doing this is comprised of Year 10 students Paolo Lluka, Joe Bell, Veronica Tucker and Jacob Downie.

Learning skills of the future

What students are doing

The group is working on a project to develop a hydrogen-powered rescue vehicle that can be operated on land and in water.

The aim is to reduce the time it takes to reach someone who needs help in the surf. Using hydrogen makes sense.

“It is a really suitable fuel because water is really easy to get from the surf, and then you desalinate it and turn it into hydrogen and then you can use it as a fuel,” Jacob says.

So, what is it about hydrogen that excites them?

“It’s so easy to get and use to fuel other things and it’s also more environmentally friendly,” Jacob says.

Veronica adds: “It’s not going to be a problem in the future and it’s not causing any large-scale damage to the planet. The planet is about 80 per cent water. We might as well make use of it”.

The students were in the final weeks of the project when they spoke to Moreton Life. Part of their assessment is to present it to their class and guests.

Learning skills of the future

Learning for life

Mr Gieskens says the STEM program helps students see the connections of maths and the sciences, using technology to solve engineering problems.

“The idea of STEM is to help them see the very large range of possible career pathways that come out of the sciences, maths and technology,” he says.

|“Our ethos is to make the world a better place. It’s what STEM is about and what we focus on. Engineers have been doing that for a long time.|

“Everything is based on the sustainable development goals released by the United Nations. These guys have that as their foundation for this as well. It’s about creating creative thinkers and problem solvers … all of that together with real world problems … teaching them skills on how to communicate and collaborate and solve problems together is what it is all about.

“It’s very exciting to see. I know the partnership is huge, and we’re early days, but we’ll see where it goes.”

Veronica says what she is learning now can be applied later in life, opening the door to many opportunities in a range of industries.

Paolo said: “The sooner we find a more reliable and sustainable source of energy, the lower the impact on the future”.

Learning skills of the future

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