PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The Australian government on Friday announced a Skills Organisation Pilot aimed at giving trainees and apprentices skills to better match the needs of the mining industry.
The pilot programme forms part of a A$525-million reform of the vocational education and training (VET) system.
Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the pilot will ensure more Australians are able to get a highly-skilled job.
“This is about making sure more Australians are able to find a job, particularly kids in remote areas. I want these kids to come out of training college with the skills they need to go land a job in the mining industry.”
“We need to make sure we are teaching the skills employers are demanding whether they be heavy diesel fitters, automotive electricians, communication technicians or mine engineers,” Morrison said.
“I know that mining is a high-skill, high-wage industry and this is a further statement of confidence in the industry’s future. It recognises mining’s critical role as a creator of job opportunities in regional and remote Australia, including for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander Australians.
“A stronger mining sector means a stronger Australian economy.”
Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Michaelia Cash said the Australian government is committed to a strong VET system that is able to deliver a strong and adaptable workforce, and provide employers with access to the skilled workforce needed to grow their businesses.
“Australia’s mining services sector creates jobs, builds skills, and attracts investment supporting more Australian jobs. Strengthening this sector is just one more step we are taking toward strengthening our economy and generating more jobs for more Australians.”
Minister for Resources and Northern Australia Matt Canavan said it was critical for Australia to have a well-trained mining workforce to take full advantage of booming demand for its world class commodities.
“Our resources sector is one of the powerhouses of our economy but it can’t happen without the talented people who make it up. Our high quality and clean resources have never been in higher demand and now is the time to invest in our resources sector skills base.
“More than a million Australians work in the resources sector - that’s about one in every ten jobs. Investing in the skills of these workers is an investment in Australian families and communities.
“Creating a nationwide curriculum under this pilot will help enhance, expand and advance the skills of our resources workers, securing the sector’s future for decades to come.
The Skills Organisation Pilot will be co-funded by the Australian government and the Mineral Councils of Australia (MCA), signifying the important buy-in from the sector.
MCA CEO Tania Constable has welcomed the pilot project, saying it would provide an opportunity for Australia’s world-leading minerals industry to trial new ways of working within the current national training system, while looking for new opportunities to make sure training is able to meet employers and the economy’s needs.
“Through the pilot the MCA will seek to secure greater national-level consistency and clarity across the system to realise the significant benefits for the VET sector, industry and learners,” she said.
“With demand for skilled workers growing across Australia as the mining production boom continues, the MCA has long advocated for more flexible, higher quality and responsive training and workforce development to build the minerals workforce of the future.
“The future minerals workforce will be more diverse, geographically distributed and digitally connected. As the nature of work changes and evolves, workers will need skills and capabilities that are adaptable, transferable and relevant to the needs of the future economy.”
The MCA is now in the process of securing education partners that will develop new learning pathways to the modern mining sector for delivery in 2020. These include curricula pilots, a micro-credentials package and experiential programme as well as defining a mining 101 programme for apprentices and trainees.