PERTH (miningweekly.com) – Mining major BHP has committed to training and funding for 3 500 new Australian apprenticeship and training positions, and driving up to $450-million into supporting business opportunities in Australia’s mining, equipment, technology and services (METS) sector.
CEO Mike Henry on Thursday said that the nearly A$800-million funding package would comprise three key elements, which would be deployed over the next five years.
The first is an increase of 2 500 apprenticeships and traineeships through the BHP FutureFit Academy, established earlier this year, with associated spend of A$300-million.
A further 1 000 skills development opportunities across a range of sectors in regional areas will also be made available, with BHP investing A$30-million. The company will also work with the Australian government to create advanced apprenticeships and short courses in areas of potential future workforce demand.
Furthermore, BHP will commit up to A$450-million spend in contracts with Australian METS companies to further advance this sector. It will work directly and through its major technology providers to source more local products and services, and will invest in technology pilots and emerging businesses.
“As Australia looks to rebuild its economy and provide jobs for the future, the mining industry has an important role to play as Australia’s biggest export earner employing hundreds of thousands of people,” Henry said.
“The mining and METS sector is a critical pillar of our economy, and it has never been more important than now.
“Providing apprenticeships, skills and training opportunities for Australians of all ages and all walks of life, particularly in our regional communities, is a commitment we can make to help Australia bounce back.
“These investments will create a pipeline of future talent in highly skilled roles, working in an industry that delivers essential products to the world and generates export dollars that keep the Australian economy strong.”
Resource industry bodies have welcomed the investment, with the Queensland Resources Council (QRC) saying that the significant funding and training package will provide jobs and growth for Queensland’s economy as it recovers from the impacts of Covid.
“Queensland’s resources sector is the mainstay of the State’s economy because companies such as BHP invest in Queenslanders and Queensland businesses,” QRC CEO Ian Macfarlane said.
“Hundreds of people in Queensland will have the opportunity to start a long and rewarding career in the resources sector thanks to BHP.”
The Chamber of Minerals and Energy (CME) of Western Australia said that the commitment would help develop the types of skilled workers the Western Australian mining and resources sector needed for the future.
“We welcome BHP’s commitment to its future workforce, providing local training and employment opportunities, and supporting the communities in which it operates,” CEM CEO Paul Everingham said.
“Apprenticeship and traineeship commencements across the WA resources sector have increased year-on-year for the past two years, and with initiatives like BHP’s expansion of the FutureFit Academy, we’d expect this trend to continue.
“The FutureFit Academy demonstrates a proactive approach to training, apprenticeships, ‘future-focused’ qualifications and state-of-the-art delivery modes.
“With more than A$120-billion in mining and resources projects in the pipeline across Western Australia and the technology involved in the sector evolving all the time, there is a strong need to develop the skilled workers of tomorrow.”