SHE’S ONLY JUST ELIGIBLE FOR HER L PLATES, BUT GLADSTONE SCHOOL GIRL ABI MEEHAN ALREADY DRIVES RACE CARS AND CAN STRIP DOWN ENGINES.
It’s one of the things that made her stand out to win the prestigious Exceptional School Student category in the Queensland Resources Council’s Resources Awards for Women. The award is open to female students in Queensland Minerals and Energy Academy (QMEA) schools and aims to encourage girls to consider and champion careers in the resources sector.
Abi, a Year 12 student at Chanel College was presented the award today in Brisbane by Minister for Employment and Industrial Relations Grace Grace, Queensland Resources Council (QRC) President Rag Udd and Women in Mining and Resources Queensland (WIMARQ) Chair Maria Joyce before a state-wide audience of almost 900 people.
They were attending, or viewing live via webcast, the annual QRC/WIMARQ International Women’s Day Breakfast and Resources Awards for Women presentation, hosted by BHP Billiton.
‘My passion for motorsport has been the driving force behind my career aspirations,’ said Abi.
‘Fortunately, I have a father who is an ex-race car driver and is completely self-sufficient when building or fixing race cars. This has allowed me to have more of a hands-on experience most don’t have the opportunity to.’
This experience has also led to Abi’s interest in mechatronic engineering to improve robotics in the resources sector and increase the safety of workers by taking people out of high-risk environments.
Abi already has a slew of achievements under her belt, including being a QMEA ambassador, a National Youth Science Forum Ambassador and University of Queensland Science Ambassador.
And, she also finds time for charity work including Gladstone soup kitchen, the Red Shield Appeal and through Rotary, and the Leukaemia Foundation.
And what does she do to relax? On her school holidays, Abi has completed work experience at a high-performance engine builder and has more lined up at Harley Davidson motorcycles.
QRC Chief Executive Ian Macfarlane congratulated all the winners of this year’s awards.
‘These awards celebrate and showcase the depth of female talent in Queensland’s resources sector, and provides industry with ambassadors and mentors, particularly for their female colleagues and women and students thinking about entering the resources sector,’ he said.
‘Diverse workforces, just like safe workforces, are more productive, innovative and profitable. Particularly in hard times, our sector needs to ramp up productivity and innovation, and it’s well documented that these go hand-in-hand with employing people from different backgrounds, cultures and genders.
‘It’s also important that we ensure our young people know about the wide range of careers open and fantastic opportunities available to them in the resources sector and the QRC is working hard through its QMEA schools to make sure they do.
‘The attendance at eight separate functions around the state to witness the presentation of these awards is a clear demonstration of our sector’s continued commitment to its goal of at least 20 percent women in non-traditional roles by 2020.’
‘I’d like to make special mention to Glencore’s Mount Isa Mines, APLNG and Wesfarmers for making it possible for Abi and the two finalists Josie Henry (Kirwan SHS) and Felicity Finlayson (North Rockhampton SHS) to travel to the awards.’
The awards have been presented by QRC and WIMARQ since 2006.