Fast-tracked mining degrees could hurt job market

Plans by the Minerals Council of Australia to launch fast-tracked associate degrees in geoscience will disadvantage other graduates, a peak science body says.

Last year the Minerals Council proposed two-year associate degree programs in geoscience and mining engineering at selected universities, The ABC reported.

The program was aimed at meeting the projected skills shortage in the resource industry.

However the Australian Institute of Geoscientists argue that mining exploration levels are decreasing, changing the job market for geoscientists.

AIG president Kaylene Camuti says having more students in the same field would mean other students doing bachelor degrees would be squeezed out of entry level positions.

"I think that the increased pressure on graduates in terms on finding work will happen in most states, including the Hunter, if funding for exploration in particular continues to shrink," she said.

"So the introduction of another group of technical professionals to fill a perceived and projected shortage of skills could make it much more difficult for bachelor degree graduates.

"Those entry level positions are the critical point for getting into the industry and finding your feet."

Camuti says the Minerals Council is basing its plan on figures released in 2010, with more recent unemployment rates for geoscientists around the country doubling to sex per cent.

The AIG says it will hold talks with the Minerals Council about the issue.


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