Uni students getting real experience at Rio Tinto Yarwun

UNIVERSITY students are getting hands-on experience at Rio Tinto's Yarwun alumina refinery as part of their engineering degree.

Central Queensland University student Bethany Collins has been joined by the University of Queensland's Chien-Yi Wang, Kai Yee Soo and Nishtha Vyas from the Queensland University of Technology.

The four engineers of the future are working in separate areas of the refinery.

Ms Collins, who is studying civil engineering, is working with the refinery's business development team

Rio Tinto Yarwun general manager Mark Gilmore said the two-months of on-the-job experience would be invaluable for the university students.

"For these engineering students, spending time in a workplace like Yarwun complements their academic studies because they can put what they learn into practice," he said.

"It's also the best way to expand their knowledge of the industry.

"We want students who are keen to contribute, and we hope to learn as much from them as they will from us.

"It's a win-win for the students and the refinery."


Rio Tinto Yarwun.
Rio Tinto Yarwun.


Chien-Yi is studying engineering, majoring in chemical engineering.

She is working in Rio Tinto's Queensland Research Development Centre at Yarwun.

Nishtha Vyas, who is undertaking a Bachelor of Engineering, is working alongside the process control team at Yarwun, while Kai Yee Soo, who is studying chemical engineering and commerce, specialising in finance, is working with Yarwun's technical team.

Rio Tinto's Yarwun Refinery has an annual intake of university students for its vacation work program, with many of those students going on to Rio Tinto's graduate recruitment program. The university program runs in tandem with Yarwun's work experience program, which is offered to high school students in the Gladstone region who are considering a trade or profession in the resources industry.

"Whether it's a professional or trade career a young person wants to pursue, Yarwun is a place where they can take the first steps," Mr Gilmore said.

"Securing a placement in the vacation program is competitive and we see it as our way of nurturing the next generation of talent in a fast-changing resources sector.

"A diverse workforce creates a stronger business, because we benefit from a wider range of life experiences and skills.

"Our vacation work program reflects that diversity."

The four students currently working at Yarwun will end their vacation work program in time to continue their university studies in 2021.


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