PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Two automation courses have been launched at the South Metropolitan TAFE, in Western Australia, marking the first nationally-recognised qualifications in autonomous operations.
The new certificate courses were developed on the back of A$2-million in funding from mining major Rio Tinto.
A Certificate II in Autonomous Workplace Operations will be introduced to TAFE curriculum and piloted by a group of Rio Tinto’s iron-ore workforce from August. It will also be piloted for Year 11 and 12 students in selected high schools across the state. A Working Effectively in an Automated Workplace micro-credential course for trade-qualified apprentices and technicians will also be available.
"This is a great example of industry working in partnership with government to ensure our training sector creates a highly skilled workforce,” Western Australian Premier Mark McGowen said on Wednesday.
"These new courses will allow us to maintain our competitive advantage as a leader in automation technology in Australia and ensure local people have the skills for the new jobs that are being created through technological innovation.
"They will also ensure the diversification of our economy and help Western Australians assist the mining industry well into the future."
The Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) CEO Paul Everingham said its members were facing challenges in attracting the skilled workforce needed to build the resources sector of the future.
“Western Australia’s resources sector is heading into an exciting new phase in terms of technology and innovation that will create thousands of new jobs for the next generation of workers and ensure Australia’s resources sector remains at the forefront of world’s best practice,” he said.
“In order to capitalise on these advancements towards automation, robotics and artificial intelligence, we need to ensure skilled local workers are available and we can only do this by ensuring we have courses and training opportunities that provide these skills.
“The new certificate courses will provide a fantastic opportunity for Western Australians wanting to gain the necessary skills and knowledge that will make them highly sought-after in the resources sector.”
Rio’s iron-ore CEO, Chris Salisbury, said on Wednesday that the company was proud to have helped develop the first nationally-recognised certification in automation.
“Australia’s workforce is in the midst of an important shift, as innovation and technology create new business models across all industries. Mining has moved to become a genuine leader in innovative technology and we recognise the critical need to provide effective education programmes and opportunities to help our people succeed in this new era.
“We believe these courses will make a long-lasting and positive difference to the lives of many Australians. It will help ensure our industry remains globally competitive and is a leader in innovative technology,” Salisbury said.