Mining company BHP Mitsubishi Alliance (BMA), TAFE Queensland and CQUniversity Australia have announced a new multi-million dollar skills partnership that will support the introduction of new technology and advanced skills in the mining industry.
The key aim of the partnership – called the Queensland Future Skills Partnership – is to fund and facilitate the fast-tracked development and delivery of new autonomy related qualifications in open-cut mining operations in Queensland.
Queensland’s skills and training development minister Shannon Fentiman said the partnership and project was an excellent example of Queensland’s public training providers coming together with industry to support new and emerging skill needs impacting Queensland.
“We hear all the time that the world of work is changing and the rapid rate of occupational change and new technology adoption means that the need to re-skill and up-skill the existing workforce will be critical into the future,” Fentiman said.
“This project will have a direct positive impact for the resources and related sectors including agriculture, tourism and hospitality as well as local Queensland regional and rural communities.
“The Queensland Future Skills Partnership will unpack the future skill and qualification requirements for the resources sector and the communities and other industries that support the sector, and create a robust and actionable plan on addressing future skills needs.”
BMA Asset President James Palmer said the partnership will drive innovation in new approaches to skilling the resources industry workforce for jobs of the future.
“As we enter the fourth industrial revolution, we are considering how we transform our technology and our workforce,” Palmer said.
“The partnership will define the first wave of new skills that may be required to support technology advances, and to establish the education opportunities for individuals to acquire these skills. Our operations are cutting edge, and we need to stay ahead of the curve.
“The scope of training to be delivered through the partnership is still being finalised but we are exploring the potential opportunity for a traineeship qualification in autonomous operations, expanding existing trade apprenticeships to include autonomous competencies as well as an entry pathway for autonomous mine controllers.
“We also hope to be able to deliver the first pilot of these programs in the Bowen Basin region near our operations, expanding both existing and future workforce as well as local schools.”
TAFE Queensland Chief Executive Officer Mary Campbell said the partnership will be important in preparing Queensland’s future workforce.
“We talk about the workforce of the future and what we will need in 10, 20 or 30 years’ time, but that future is now,” she said.
“This partnership gives us an opportunity to work with industry and employers to deliver a range of flexible skilling solutions to ensure employment outcomes for Industry 4.0 jobs of the future.”
CQUniversity’s Vice-Chancellor and President, Professor Nick Klomp, explained that the partnership was an important step forward when it comes to engaging with industry and delivering future focused skills training.
“CQUniversity is excited about this innovative partnership with BMA and TAFE Queensland,” said Klomp.
“We are committed to the delivery of high-quality vocational training and working with industry to produce highly skilled workforces.
“This skills partnership will be a gamechanger when it comes to developing innovative training, that supports future workforce requirements within the mining industry.”
The Queensland Future Skills Partnership will start work later this month with its first steering committee meeting to be held at the CQUniversity Mackay Ooralea campus in late August 2019.