Training young Western Australians for the mining jobs of the future

Today’s announcement by Rio Tinto of $2 million towards developing a Vocational Education and Training (VET) curriculum is part of a wider effort by Western Australia’s resources industry to prepare local students for the mining jobs of the future, according to the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia (CME).

Rio Tinto is working with the Western Australian Government and South Metropolitan TAFE to pioneer a new curriculum to prepare young Western Australians for opportunities created by advances in technology and innovation.

CME CEO Reg Howard-Smith said it was imperative that courses in robotics, data analytics and digital inclusion education were offered to match the skill sets that would be required at mine sites thanks to technological advances.

“Rio Tinto has been a huge supporter of education and training, particularly in providing pathways to science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) in secondary schools,” he said.

“Their record in employing young graduates and apprentices is impressive, having recruited more than 600 apprentices and close to 650 graduates in the past six years, and committing to taking on a further 160 new graduates, vacation students, apprentices and trainees in Western Australia in 2018.”

Mr Howard-Smith said in response to the increasing changes to technology and automation, CME was actively working to ensure the sector’s future workforce had the flexibility and skills to adapt and respond to a more complex operating environment.

“Advances in surface mining, faster communications capability and the need to achieve more efficiencies to remain internationally competitive has seen the emergence of remote operations facilities where multiple mine sites can be remotely operated from another location,” he said.

“The Resources Industry Training Council (RITC), a state government funded initiative hosted by CME, is undertaking a project to establish a training model for entry to Surface Mining Operations, as well as create a purpose-built qualification to meet the needs of these remote operations facility workers.

“Australia is becoming renowned internationally as a world leader in the application of remote operations and autonomous equipment in surface mining and oil and gas operations, and together with local industry, we are committed to educating and training young Western Australians for the new job opportunities that will be created in the future.”