Miners welcome skills tweak

20th January 2021 By: Esmarie Iannucci - Creamer Media Senior Deputy Editor: Australasia

PERTH (miningweekly.com) – The resources sector has welcomed the mining skills qualification reform trial project announced by the Australian government on Wednesday, saying it would help more workers get faster access to qualifications for employment in the minerals industry.

A qualification design trial is now underway as part of the Morrison government’s skills organisation pilots, which are helping the nation’s training system respond to industry needs.

Minister for Employment, Skills, Small and Family Business Michaelia Cash said the government is committed to delivering faster and improved training for the Australian mining sector.

“We want to better meet the current and future training needs of employers and employees, which is especially important now to support our Covid-19 economic recovery,” Cash said.

“That’s why this trial is so important, because it will help simplify and streamline qualifications to provide the mining sector with the skills it needs to flourish.”

The first qualification trial is being run by the mining skills organisation pilot, one of three industry-led organisations funded by the government to test and trial ways to improve the vocational education and training (VET) system.

The trial will test qualifications based on appropriately grouped occupation and skills clusters to enable broader vocational outcomes, improve individual mobility and labour market resilience, and increase the pool of available talent for employers.

Furthermore, the trial would also test simplified training products that reduce the level of prescriptive conditions in current qualifications and make better use of industry and educational expertise, and the use of short form training products with improved pathways advice to support students to rapidly upskill or reskill to pursue new career opportunities.

Cash said the trial presents a significant opportunity to design and test new evidence-based approaches to improving the national VET training system.

“Technology is changing traditional occupations and demanding new skills. The mining skills organisation pilot will help develop and test a new apprenticeship for mobile plant diesel mechanics that incorporates critical skills that cross traditional occupations,” she said.

The Minerals Council of Australia (MCA) said on Wednesday that making more people job-ready for a career in Australian mining required more relevant and contemporary qualifications and training providers who could deliver these qualifications to meet changing industry and worker expectations.

“This is another big step in achieving a more responsive and flexible VET system in Australia to deliver positive outcomes for industry and workers,” said MCA CEO Tania Constable.

“With increasing technology adoption, workers should expect that VET sector qualifications will make them job-ready or allow them to move between jobs in the mining industry.

“Industry needs greater confidence that VET qualifications will remain relevant as the nature of work changes. An efficient, contemporary and focused VET sector is critical to supporting further job creation by Australia’s minerals sector. 

“With over one-third of the 240 000-strong mining workforce holding a Certificate III or IV qualification, improving qualification reform models is crucial for the industry.”