The Australian Government has now opened applications for its Future of Work Partnership with BHP to encourage mining skills development in regional areas.
A thousand people residing in regional Australia will have the chance to study a short course or commence an advanced apprenticeship through the program.
BHP has provided $30 million in funding for the government program, which will encourage more science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) skills development.
BHP president minerals Australia, Edgar Basto, said the program would create a future-ready workforce.
“BHP is proud to be supporting a business-led recovery through our ongoing operations and significant investments in regional Australia,” he said.
“Australians will be able to re-skill, embrace technology and find new jobs in many sectors, not just mining. We are proud to play our part in helping Australian communities on the road to recovery.”
People in regional New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia are eligible for the program.
Student contribution fees will be covered by BHP under the program, with regional students who meet other eligibility criteria to receive additional financial support.
Australia’s Minister for Education and Youth, Alan Tudge, said the program would improve employability in regional parts of the country.
“This government is all about getting more people into work and skilling Australians for the jobs of the future,” he said.
“The partnership will also support growth in regional areas by improving access to education, upskilling locals and creating pathways to employment.”
The federal government hopes that the program will support Australia’s continued recovery from the COVID-19 pandemic.
According to the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), mining industry employment for the three months to February 2021 dropped to 249,600 workers compared with 264,000 in the November 2020 quarter.
Year-on-year mining employment results showed improvement by 4.29 per cent, up from 239,100 mining industry workers in the three months to February 2020.