Western Australia to offer remote mining operations TAFE qualification

The Western Australian government has announced the introduction of the first TAFE course in remote operations in Australia.

Starting at South Metropolitan TAFE (SMTAFE) Munster campus in 2020, the nationally recognised Certificate IV in Autonomous Control and Remote Operations was developed through the Resource Industry Collaboration, a partnership between the McGowan Government, SMTAFE and Rio Tinto Iron Ore.

The state government said that the course has been developed to ensure that Western Australian workers are prepared for industry advancements, innovation and automation.

“TAFE is an important pathway for many Western Australians – whether you’re just out of school or looking for retraining opportunities, this new course will provide a unique set of skills, setting workers up for the new jobs being created through technological innovation,” said WA premier Mark McGowan.

“These new courses will allow us to maintain our competitive advantage as a leader in automation technology in Australia, ensuring the continued diversification of our economy and helping local workers assist the mining industry well into the future.”

Approximately 30 Rio Tinto Iron Ore employees will be involved in the pilot of the new qualification. Pending successful completion of the pilot, the first course will start in 2021.

Combining integrated learning in a control centre, the new qualification is designed to give students the knowledge and skills to work at some of Australia’s top-tier automation facilities, such as Rio Tinto’s Remote Operations Centre in Perth.

Today’s announcement follows the introduction of two additional automation courses in June 2019, a Certificate II in Autonomous Workplace Operations and a micro-credential course for apprentices and technicians, developed under the same Industry Collaboration.

Rio Tinto has committed $2 million towards the development of these qualifications, providing pathways to emerging jobs in the field of automation and placing WA at the forefront of technological development in the resources sector.

The Resource Industry Collaboration is led by WA State Training Board Chair Jim Walker and includes Rio Tinto, Santos, Yara, Komatsu, BHP, FMG, South32, Roy Hill, the Chamber of Minerals and Energy of Western Australia, TAFE WA, the University of Western Australia and Scitech.